Archive for February, 2011

Andrew Topel

I subscribe to the Poetics list from SUNY, which is one of the oldest/biggest English language poetry-related listservs. Mostly the posts are ‘here’s my new book of poems’ or ‘I’m going to be reading on Tuesday’, but occasionally something else transpires. There are several interesting visual poets who post URLs to new work on the list. Andrew Topel posted what I think is distinctive, exciting work, recently, that I’d like to recommend.

It doesn’t immediately remind me of anyone else’s work. It’s an interesting mixture of textual and photographic media. Some of it is in ‘comics’ mode. Some of it is ‘pain terly’. Others are traditionally gray-scale but with Escher pagination.

From CONCRETE by Andrew Topel

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In the soup with the digital book

Nicolas Negroponte of MIT famously defined the phenomenon of digital
convergence as ” digital soup” and I’m poised – or at least tottering – on
the point of scattering my bits of alphabet into the digi-soup, in the form
of an e-book for platforms like Kindle and/or i-Pad. In one way, it’s the
logical development of an involvement in electronic media since the early
seventies , using audio, then video, then the www. Yet it’s also a decisive
break with the fixed identity of the printed book as artefact. If the text
on one’s e-reader links to multi-media files elsewhere , or to inter-active
options, or options for updating the text then the reading experience
obviously changes. As a newcomer to the field, I’m probably re-inventing the
wheel in thinking through all this aloud, but I’d be interest to know what
other NetArtisans make of the e-book phenomenon, either as readers or
creators. For example, would Jim want to see his animated texts on an
e-reader rather than a full laptop or desktop screen? Would Gregory want to
add a visual or textual element to his audio dramas via i-Pad – or would
this lose the enigma of the immersive audio-only experience? What do people
think is an outstanding or prophetic work which exploits the possibilities
of the e-book format. I’d be intrigued to know.

Radiauteur: new webzine for radio art

Radiauteur – a new web magazine dedicated to radio art is now live online.


Dedicated to radio art, the transmission of conceptual sounds and voiced thoughts, Radiauteur was launched to become a web magazine for academics and artists from all over the world to publish their work. In addition to this, Radiauteur aims to become an online platform for the dissemination of past, present and future praxis – an Ariadne’s thread for radio art to reach an audience as wide as possible.

Radiauteur is a non-profit initiative kindly supported by the Centre for Cultural Studies and the Department for Media and Communications of Goldsmiths, University of London.


We have included radio stations (and podcasts) which either broadcast radio art or are radio-art-friendly, and open to contributions. Please feel free to suggest any other stations you might know of.


We are currently still updating our database of radio artists. If you would like to be featured on our website please send us a short bio, a link to a personal website/page and a sample of your work.  We are also working on setting up an online radio playing exclusively radio artworks. If you would like your pieces to be featured please send them in mp3 format to info[at]radiauteur[dot]com

Call for papers and radio artworks:

The subject of the first issue of Radiauteur is ‘Freedom’. Abstracts and proposals for artworks (found sounds, field recordings, radio experiments and installations, collages, readings, interviews, etc) should be submitted by the 31st of March and final articles and pieces by the 30th of April.

The first issue of Radiauteur will be published online on the 1st of June 2011.
All queries should be sent to:  info[at]radiauteur[dot]com

Maria Engberg reviews Funkhouser and Drucker

Maria Engberg wrote an interesting review of two books relevant to digital poetry: Chris Funkhouser’s Prehistoric Digital Poetry–An Archeology of Forms (1959-1995) and Johanna Drucker’s Speclab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing. Engberg says:

“A challenging notion for both scholars and artists to take up, then, is that social media seems to speak against the strong authoritative force and artistic drive behind the works that both Drucker (artists’ books) and Funkhouser (digital poetry) discuss. The modernist poetics of digital poetry that Funkhouser describes, not incorrectly, is perhaps inherently incompatible with the contemporary social creativity (for lack of a better term) of YouTube mashup videos, Facebook status update string narratives, Twitter feeds, and locative mobile “app-experiences” with their motley aesthetic and political pedigrees and agendas, unclear sender and reader positions (endlessly multiple) and transient status as objects.”

I have a different take on this subject, I think, than Engberg’s. Digital/literary work that deals with Twitter, say, is not simply somebody tweeting. Instead, we see work like The Longest Poem in the World. This is a programmerly work that creates rhyming couplets out of a Twitter feed of thousands of people tweeting. When I just visited, it had written 1,353,298 verses. It’s constantly adding more verses.

Similarly, digital/literary art that deals with Facebook won’t simply be someone writing status updates or links or notes or whatever other functionality Facebook provides.  It will, like The Longest Poem in the World, operate not simply within the social media app’s system, but will take it and its contents as ‘feed’.

Mom’s music

When my mom was dying, there was a short time when she no longer could talk but could hear. This was only a few days before she died, when she was in the Hospice, which she was for the last couple of weeks of her life.

Mom had always loved her music.  I have cherished childhood memories of kicking around the house on Sundays when mom would be doing house work and playing her music loudly on the stereo. Probably those Sundays, when she wasn’t working and was just relaxing at home and listening to music, shaped my love of music.

Anyway, I made a CD of some of her favorite tunes and took it in with me to visit her. The Hospice had some boom boxes. So mom and I sat together, she no longer able to talk. But she could hear, and I played her a CD of her favorite tunes and we sat together just listening.

Her eyes had been bad for a long time. Which had prevented her for years from using the stereo I bought her. She rarely listened to her music, in her last years. It was too hard for her to use the machinery. But I know she loved her music.  And I love it also. The Sound of Music. Westside Story. Harry Belafonte. Enya. Neil Diamond. Leonard Cohen. Moon River by Henry Mancini was mom and dad’s song. That was their love song.

I will remember that visit to mom forever, and playing her that music. She was visibly relieved to hear her music. And, to me, to hear it with her reminded me so much of all those Sundays as a kid with my mother.

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