Archive for December, 2010

New online journal: Experimental Poetics and Aesthetics

I received the below notice concerning a new online journal on experimental poetics and aesthetics, which I thought I’d post on netartery.

Dear colleagues,

We would like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of the inaugural issue of the journal Experimental Poetics and Aesthetics. If you could forward and share this announcement through your professional networks, we would be very grateful!

An index of the contents of this first issue is available at . As you can see, most of the content for this inaugural issue is in Spanish and Portuguese, however EXP also publishes works in English and as such we would warmly welcome submissions from authors working in that language for our upcoming issues.

We anticipate that the call for papers for the next issue will be sent out in mid-January.

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Doc At The Radar Station

In 1980, as I took my own first forays into the wilds of electromagnetic schizophonia, bouncing twisted walkie talkie tracks between two battered Superscopes, Captain Beefheart released an album that would deeply impact my understanding of the wired up human voice and its seductive tangle of paradox and possibility: Doc At The Radar Station.

Ashtray Heart?

Suddenly, here was a fully charged songbody that contained within its convoluted nervous system the same double edged vibe I was sensing both on tape and in the air: the lucid paranoia of the electrified persona, with its modulating potentials for revelation, wounds or oblivion; the juiced immersion with some other entity, some other ethereal field, floating somewhere close to the gods — though maybe it was just some scrambled cipher left behind by an unscheduled sparagmos.

I had been listening to the Magic Band for many years before then, with a transistor radio tucked beneath my pillow, Trout Mask Replica, cross rhythmic incantations for the shocked disembody —  but song/poems like Telephone took signature Beefheart out-thereness and injected it straight into the bone marrow of the lone schizophonic self. At the radar station, the rips and crackles became very personal, no longer out there, but in here.

And I strangled

And I ripped the cord

And I saw the bone

And I heard these tweetin’ things

N twinkling lights

N there was nobody home

Where are all those nerve endings coming out of the bone?




Creep the Ether Feather

Don Van Vliet , aka Captain Beefheart, died yesterday at the age of 69.

Nick Montfort & Stephanie Strickland / Sea and Spar Between

Stephanie Strickland and Nick Montfort have collaborated on a  work of digital poetry called Sea and Spar Between. The  generative/interactive piece uses Emily Dickinson’s poems and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Here is the Javascript file for the work. If you understand Javascript, this’ll show you how the program works.

Both Stephanie and Nick have been involved in electronic literature for many years. Nick teaches it at MIT and Stephanie is a mathematician who has published several books of poems and created many online interactive works.

iPhone apps for Native languages in western Canada

Quoted and condensed from an article by Judith Lavoie in the Victoria Times Colonist, Dec 16, 2010.

New apps for the iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone have been developed for the Sencoten language, spoken on southern Vancouver Island [in British Columbia, Canada], and Halq’eméylem, spoken in the Fraser Valley [of the same area]. Six more communities are using archives of recorded words and phrases to build mobile, audio dictionaries with funding from the province.

“Young people today are distracted by a lot of technology. They want to text, be on the web and play games and so we knew that, if we had any hope of keeping the language in front of them, it had to be presented in these ways,” said Peter Brand, co-ordinator of FirstVoices. FirstVoices archives and teaches aboriginal languages.

The struggle to keep B.C.’s 34 aboriginal languages alive becomes more difficult as elders die. On the Saanich Peninsula, only about 10 fluent Sencoten speakers remain.

The apps can be downloaded free from the iTunes store.



Wikileaks, Napster, and the Ayatollah Flanagan

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks

Wikileaks and Napster

In an Assange interview published by the Guardian on Friday 3 December 2010,  Assange says:

“Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has …power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.”

In other words, he says the only Western speech that is ‘free’ is speech that does not threaten “the fiscal blockade”.

The commodity, in the case of Wikileaks, that is threatened is safe/private intelligence. We might call it ‘safely encrypted intelligence’.

The commodity in the case of Napster was monetized, commodified, marketed music.

Napster was savaged by the music industry because Napster represented a significant threat to the business. They were actually able to shut it down through the legal system. Wikileaks is being savaged by governments and also the media around the world. The media is savaging Wikileaks because Wikileaks is fulfilling a job typically done by the press. Governments are savaging Wikileaks because Wikileaks is publishing their secret information.

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P.o.E.M.M. = Poems for Excitable Mobile Media

Hello Netartery! Jason Edward Lewis here. I’ve been working on digital texts and electronic poetry for a couple of decades, and I teach in the Computation Arts program at Concordia University in Montreal.

Jim invited me to contribute to this blog, and I thought it appropriate that my first post be an invitation to you all to check out Speak, my first art/poem app. It just went live on the iTunes app store:

Speak is the mobile version of What They Speak When They Speak to Me. It works on all i-devices, but looks best on the iPad.

This is the first publication in our Poems for Excitable Mobile Media series. P.o.E.M.M. is a research/creation project looking at how to write and implement poetry designed for touch interaction on mobile devices. It’s an attempt to sketch out the space of possibilities for a poetic structure that incorporates dynamic, interactive and tactile strategies as a core component of the writing process and presentation.

Give it swing, let me ( know if there are any technical glitches.

Radio Poetics, Interference and Muck

I love my new digital radio!

With the proliferation of audio webstreams and all sorts of digital smart boxes calling themselves radios, we need to ask, well, if these streams are becoming ever more fluent, then what space is being drained? When someone asks me, as they do, often, if I love Pandora, well, what sort of bugs are they asking me to love?

Radio poesis flows from the edges, some of them very fragile and sensitive, and occasionally they may even swell or bleed. Edges between signal and noise. Edges of frequency and range, both of which implicate edges of power and politics. Edges between attraction and repulsion; between Eros and Thanatos, or utopia and oblivion; the double edged ambiguities of sender and receiver caught in their limbic limbo dance. How low can we go?

As any biologist will confirm, edges are very often the key to the vitality of an ecosphere. Without edges, exchanges of energies (be they hoots, howls or body fluids) are rapidly and perhaps terminally diminished.

My kind of radio

When I bemoan the lack of poetic or aesthetic diversity on public radio (whether CBC, NPR, BBC or wherever), I am bemoaning the lack of edges. Instead of program streams that celebrate lively & liminal qualities such as fluid ambiguity and slippery murk, qualities that give heart and truth to the medium, we hear nothing but tight and tidy pitter patter, which in an infinitely messy cosmos (well expressed within the human species) serves up the ultimate deceit.

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New online issue of CIAC’s magazine

The CIAC is the Centre for International Contemporary Art in Montréal. They publish on the net a long-running magazine, now edited by Paule Makrous, that features web art, interviews, reviews, and other work. The most recent issue (38) features poetry by some of the victims of Ravensbrück, a Nazi concentration camp for women. And an interview with Gregory Chatonsky. And an interview with me by Paule. And other work.