Posts Tagged ‘e-literature’

Joe Keenan’s MOMENT

Joe Keenan's MOMENT in Internet Explorer

I put together a twenty minute video talking about a fantastic piece of digital poetry by Joe Keenan from the late nineties called MOMENT. Check it out: MOMENT, written in JavaScript for browsers, is a work of visual interactive code poetry. It’s one of the great unacknowledged works for the net.

I used Camtasia 8 to create this video. I’ve used the voice-over capabilities of Camtasia before to create videos that talk about what’s on the screen, but this is the first time I’ve been able to use the webcam with it. Still a few bugs, though, it seems: at times the video is quite asynchronous between voice and video.

Still, you get the idea. I’m a big fan of Joe Keenan’s MOMENT and am glad I finally did a video on it.

Chain Reaction

By the rules of Grandmother’s Basket, whereby each new item must begin with the last letter of the previous item:

John Pike pepper sprays Elizabeth Warren

who pepper sprays Nancy Pelosi

who pepper sprays Imogen Heap

who pepper sprays Paloma Picasso

who pepper sprays Obama

who pepper sprays Angela Merkel

who pepper sprays Larry King

who pepper sprays Gretchen Morgenstern

who pepper sprays Neil Diamond

who pepper sprays Donald Trump

who pepper sprays Peter Pan

who pepper sprays Nancy Sinatra

who pepper sprays Andy Murray

who pepper sprays Yasmina Reza

who pepper sprays Amy Grant

who pepper sprays Tiger Woods

who pepper sprays Sarko

who pepper sprays Oliver North

who pepper sprays Harry Belafonte

who pepper sprays Eugene Ionesco

who pepper sprays Oscar Wilde

who pepper sprays Ernesto Che Guevara

who pepper sprays Andy Warhol

who pepper sprays Linda Blair

who pepper sprays Ron Paul

who pepper sprays Lou Dobbs

who pepper sprays Steve Wozniak

who pepper sprays Kim Jong

who pepper sprays Gareth Bale

who pepper sprays Eunice Wong

who pepper sprays Gwyneth Paltrow

who pepper sprays Wen Jiabao

who pepper sprays Oprah

who pepper sprays Her Majesty

who pepper sprays Yoko Ono

who pepper sprays Omar Khayyam

who pepper sprays Me

And cheers to all Netarterians for the coming year, which promises to be another wild one.

Why I have stopped creating e-Lit

It all started quite innocently. On January 2011, I traveled to Tanzania with the purpose of working with a group subsistence farmers, and engage them in the creation a collaborative, online knowledge base of their practices, needs and innovations. My intention was to propose this knowledge base as an interface for cross-sector communication between farmers and agricultural researchers. I developed an architecture which follows a functional and aesthetic program that seeks to include both forms of knowledge, wanting to interweave the audiovisual narratives of the farmers (oral tradition and observation) together with the text-based analyses of scientists.

I was motivated to create this project upon reading the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, Technology for Development (IAASTD) Report, a 600-page document published by an international team of agricultural scientists in 2009. One of the innumerable contributions of this report is the acknowledgment that scientific knowledge, by itself, is not able to provide solutions to the incredibly complex challenges that agriculture is facing around the world. As the predominant knowledge system, science has failed to stop poverty and hunger. It has failed to link these problems to other non-scientific fields, such as the global markets and political instability. It has also neglected other forms of knowledge, such as the one that farmers have passed on from generation to generation across centuries. By becoming the dominant knowledge system and by resisting to engage in true interdisciplinary, cross-sector research, most scientists have effectively become the blind leading the blinded.

Read the rest of this entry »

Underbelly & Sister Stone Carver

Screenshot of Underbelly

So much history is buried beneath our feet, and histories buried in other ways, by forgetfulness or disregard. If you live in a former mining area in Britain, that history is deep underground. Evidence of the coal mines have been erased from the landscape, swept away in less than a generation. Deeper still in the past there’s a buried history of women working underground too. When I found out about the women miners, I thought of my sister, the sculptor, Melanie Wilks, working on the site of a former colliery turned into parkland, hand-carving stone on the very ground above where those pasts are buried.

Such fragments of contemporary life and shards of history I hauled together to build Underbelly in digital media, collaging a rich and often grotesque mix of imagery, spoken word, video, animation and text. It’s an interactive story about a woman artist who, while sculpting on the site of a former Yorkshire colliery, is haunted by a medley of voices.

Melanie Wilks carving on site of former power station, picketed during 1984 Miners’ Strike

It includes video of my sister carving and the voices are performed by me. The historical content is drawn from the testimonies of 19th Century women miners collected by Lord Ashley’s Mines Commission of 1842, which exposed working conditions in the pits.


My sister and I were raised in Morley, an industrial town in Northern England, whose prosperity in previous centuries was built on shoddy mills, coal mining and quarrying. Our family has lived in this area for generations and, although we both moved away, we found ourselves returning to Morley to live. Read the rest of this entry »

Shoes red as wounds

Performing at Inspace and my Underbelly Cabinet of Curios

For my performance of Underbelly in Edinburgh, UK, on Halloween at Inspace no one can hear you scream I intend to wear shoes as red as wounds. Why? Because Underbelly, my work of playable media fiction, is an exploration of women’s bodies in relation to the land – past and present, inside and outside, above and below ground – and shoes, especially red ones, are loaded with associations.

I’m tempted to say more but instead, it might be more fun to point you to my Underbelly Cabinet of Curios. It’s a digital collection of some of the sources, influences and catalysts that gave rise to Underbelly, and a peek at one stage of the process of writing and structuring the piece. Within the cabinet, you’ll also find some connections and contextual curios, creative works by others in other media that struck a chord with me in relation to the themes I explore in Underbelly… and, if you follow the merry dance, the significance of red shoes.

Since I spend so much of my time stuck at my desk in front of a computer, I’m really looking forward to stepping out and into performer’s shoes – not least because there’s such a fantastic line-up of other artist-performers at Inspace on Halloween:

48 hours | Inspace no one can hear you scream

Sunday 31st October 2010, 7.30 for 8pm.
Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB

As part of the third International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, we present an evening of language in digital performance with works by Martin John Callanan, JR Carpenter & Jerome Fletcher, Donna Leishman, Maria Mencia, Netwurker Mez, Stanza and Christine Wilks.