Posts Tagged “Columnists”

Third Hand Plays, “The Quick Brown Fox …” by Alan Bigelow

08.25.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Alan Bigelow has been one of the stalwarts of electronic literature for over a decade now, careful never to stray too far into what could be simply called “digital art” or even avant-garde poetry, building an impressive body of multimedia works that are both innovative and accessible. The artist statement on his website, “webyarns,”... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Duplication

08.23.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

My seventh comedy ties into many of the tropes common to new media discourse. Most prevalent among them might be the loss of the “aura” — that which obtains around an object of religious veneration, in Walter Benjamin’s original formulation, partly because only the elite were allowed to be in its presence — in the digital object, which ha... More

Third Hand Plays: “Palimpsest” by Alison Clifford

08.18.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Alisson Clifford first came to my attention through her digital setting of a sequence of e. e. cummings’s poetry, a marvelous Flash piece called “The Sweet Old Et Cetera.” Especially impressive was how she managed to preserve the kinetic aspect that the poems themselves already had as still images; cummings’s poem “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r,... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Simulation

08.16.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The internet has been characterized by acts of fakery since its inception; in fact, the general tenor of one’s attitude toward information on the web in the 1.0 era was that it was immediately of suspicious character simply by having been posted without the imprimatur of an editor or publisher. Certainly, times have changed: Wikipedia is considered a legitimate source for information of all natures — history, for example, which is the object of much contention when governments or even religions (when it comes to evolution) alter it to suppo... More

Anonymous Comic Book Antiheroes Protest BART Rider Slaying

08.16.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Rule number one for BART cops: DON’T SHOOT THE PASSENGERS. Hell, you have my permission to beat the BART riders with billy clubs, handcuff them, arrest them, tase them, pepper spray them, but for God’s sake, DON’T SHOOT THEM! Everyone knows that when cops shoot you they aim at your head or your chest. Cops don’t shoot to wound or disarm, they shoot to kill. If I am wrong please enlighten me. And whatever happened to rubber bullets? If BART cops have the green light to shoot at riders, can’t they at least use rubber... More

Third Hand Plays: “Big Cradle” by Erik Loyer

08.11.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Erik Loyer combines the skills of a graphic designer, sound artist, and computer engineer in virtuoso, meditative works that negotiate fiction and science — the narrativized and the biological self — in eerie, seductive ways. “Chroma” initially impresses with its high production values, with its techno-rave aesthetic that harkens ba... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Recursion

08.09.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Recursion is the phenomenon of an algorithmic function referring to itself within its execution. For example, if I were writing an algorithm that was to continue running until the value of x, which presently equals 10, attained the value of 0 and named this function subtract1UntilZero, I would call subtract1UntilZero — which subtracts one from x — from within the function itself until x equaled 0. Recursion can occur on linguistic levels (a common joke about recursion is the dictionary entry that says, “Recursion (n.), See, recursion“); it can also (and quite often does) occur in nature, such as in the shape of a sea shell, where the same pattern is repeated, though slightly mor... More

Sex Work Pays for Art School and Student Loans, She Said

08.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

When I was living in San Francisco I didn’t realize just how many guys went to prostitutes — not once in a while, but all the time. It was like no big deal to them. One person I worked with told me he just wasn’t a relationship kind of guy and said that he couldn’t stand all the nagging, all the complaining, and all the BS girlfriends would give him. Hookers, he told me, knew what their job was, did it, then left. No endless talking about problems, no criticism, just simple.

Well one day he and I and my other coworke... More

Third Hand Plays: “TYPEOMS” by Jhave

08.04.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The basic parameters of Jhave’s work are the use of video imagery that finds more of a basis in traditions of photography than cinema (the camera is often still, and he rarely uses montage), a clean but effective use of typography that harkens back to the “fixed” designs of print rather than the variable designs of HTML (Alan Liu writes about... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Exhaustion

08.02.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

When I teach or try to describe what “electronic literature” is, I often include works that are not produced by, or necessarily intended to be read on, computers. Artist/critic Stephanie Strickland, an accomplished poet and artist known for works such as “V: vniverse” and “slippingglimpse,” begins her short essay “Born Digital” with the statement, “E-poetry relies on code for its creation, preservation, and display: there is no way to experience a work of e-literature unless a computer is running it — reading... More


08.01.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

One of the most enjoyable aspects of curatorial practice is research, following thoughts to discover how random or apparently unrelated artworks that strike one’s interest can often have a literal or metaphorical connection. I am currently enjoying one such serendipitous occurrence which I thought I’d share.

I have followed San Francisco artist Sean McFarland’s art since he was in graduate school at CCA, where I teach. At that time he was engaged with the work of such artists as Thomas Demand and James Casebere, both noted for their phot... More

Third Hand Plays: “Out of Touch” by Christine Wilks

07.28.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Unlike many of the artists who have so far been featured in this series, Christine Wilks can be understood as a writer of fictions and memoir rather than a poet, or at least an “experimental” poet engaging in the traditions of concrete and visual poetics so prevalent in electronic literature. Her works, while highly interactive, have the ambitions of short films — the sound, image, and text choreography is seamless and absorbing — and though one often reads quite a bit when engaged with them, recorded voices and illustration often predo... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Reduction

07.26.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Poets have played with the idea of absolute compression since the start of the tradition — epigrams and haiku are two of the oldest forms of poetry — yet it’s not until the 20th century that one sees this trend extend to poems of under, say, five or ten words. Apollinaire included a one-sentence poem (called a monostich) in his first collection, Alcools, entitled “Chantre” (1913): “Et l’unique cordeau des trompettes marines.” Fans of Ezra Pound, author of the famously brief “In a Station of the Metro,” will be familiar with the even briefer poem “Papyrus” (1916), inspired by the Sapphic fragments, which runs: “Spring… / Too long… / Gongula.” The Italian poe... More

Three on a Match IV

07.24.2011  |  By

Man in the High Castle

07.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Back Page

July 22 was the hottest day in New York City since 1977. It was still 100 degrees until 10:00 at night, and if you poked your head out the window nobody was outside. Earlier in the day, looking north, I shot this view from atop of the Empire State Building with the Hudson River to the left and the East River to the right.

Click on the picture for... More

Third Hand Plays: “Something” and “Telescopio” by Benjamin R. Moreno Ortiz

07.21.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Benjamin Moreno Ortiz is a Mexican writer and artist living in Querétaro, an industrial city with a rich historical center, about two hours north of Mexico City. His first novel, Signos de la Amnesia Voluntaria, was very well received. A little less than two years ago he became fascinated with digital poetry, and in a short amount of time built up a body of interactive and video works which he dubbed “concretoons,” which can generally be described as irreverent, conceptual satires on issues dealing with poetry and the literary figures in L... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Dysfunction

07.19.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

If the comedy of subjection asks “how fast?” the comedy of dysfunction asks “how broken?” and exploits the very slipperiness of web design and programming — the way the web browser and computer screen subvert the best intentions of digital creators to make their products look good and run well. In the early days of the web, graphic desig... More

Admit It, Deep Down You Think New York Is Really Just Better than San Francisco in Every Way.

07.15.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

I am standing on top of the Empire State Building in New York, where King Kong once stood, and it’s tempting to try and calculate how many tiny, insignificant San Franciscos would fit into Manhattan. It’s tempting because I had the idea to just levitate all my friends and the whole peninsula across the country and just sort of set it down somew... More

Third Hand Plays: “Repeat After Me” by joerg piringer

07.14.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

The Austrian artist joerg piringer is unique among electronic writers in that he not only has an impressive resume as a performer — he is a long-standing member of the Vegetable Orchestra, whose members play exclusively on fresh vegetables they purchased and carved into instruments that very day, and has developed several text/sound pieces for live-VJing in clubs — but he is also an accomplished programmer, having created his own programming languages for his increasingly complex work. piringer has also created several popular iPhone apps, i... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Subjection

07.12.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

In my last post, I described what I called a “simple” in electronic literature, which is basically a node of text/algorithm interaction — a point in time and space where the text and the code that is presenting it to you on the screen become apparent to the reader, and in fact cannot be ignored. Even when text is stable — not flying around, not changing shape or color, like when you are using a word processor — there is always code keeping it on the screen, and workers in electronic literature are almost always interested in exploitin... More

Third Hand Plays: “Scrape Scraperteeth” by Jason Nelson

07.07.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Jason Nelson’s huge body of electronic literature, most of it done in Flash, might at first seem the work of an obsessive outsider; the fact that he is an American living in Australia might only confirm this assumption. Each of his pieces is replete with text, images (and often video), strange sounds, and most importantly, unusual interfaces that... More

Golden Brown

07.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

At this patriotic season, I have to admit, I’m more loyal to California than the U.S. of A. It is, after all, the blue state where I was born (the San Fernando Valley), and those sun-baked Fourth of July’s of my childhood — KFC and Shasta cola in Shoup Park for fireworks — are dry roasted into my memory bank. Barefoot, faded paisley bedspreads unfurled on brown crabgrass at a city-funded recreation area that right about now is probably facing serious service cuts, if not all-out closure. The memories aren’t erasable, but the sites the... More

Third Hand Plays: An Introduction to Electronic Literature

07.05.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

I’ve been working for the past several years to find a way to discuss what has come to be known as “electronic literature” — it’s a creaky phrase that doesn’t survive parsing, hence the wavering between this term, “new media writing,” “digital literature,” etc. — in a way that is neither naively celebratory, presuming that computers will change writing the way DNA testing has changed crime television, nor overly technical, branching off into deep theoretical territory that seems, long before hindsight, to have nothing to do with literature or digital technology, not to mention graphic design, information architecture, film/photography, and video games, all of which at times seem to be relevant discourses.

The problem is that the artist/writers who can be said to be “electronic writers” are coming at it from different angles. Some have emerged from what is often called the “art world,” even though the most salient example of this, the artist group Young-Hae... More

Three on a Match II

07.03.2011  |  By

Positive Sign #33

06.29.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

Positive Signs is a weekly series of interpretive diagrams, quotes, and speculations on creativity, optimism*, and the lives of artists, published every Wednesday through June.

*Notwithstanding brief forays into the nature of space, stuff, experience, and cognition.

See all Positive Signs.


Three on a Match

06.23.2011  |  By

Justice, redux

06.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Essay

In a previous post I blogged about being detained for jury duty for the first time and the peculiar sort of conceptual art that unfolds in the courtroom. At this point, my service is complete; a decision was made. I’m at liberty to discuss the details, which were, to my surprise, notable enough to be reported in a compact Yahoo News item that a f... More

Ai Weiwei Released on Bail after “Confessing to his Tax Crimes” with No Mention of Why the Government Demolished His Shanghai Studio with Bulldozers a Few Months Before He Was Arrested

06.22.2011  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes

Ai Weiwei was detained for 80 days before being released yesterday: April 3–June 21.

From a Facebook tip by Sarah Hutchinson of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum via the Hyperalerigic blog via the Chinese news service

Beijing government news outlet Xinhua has just announced that detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been released on bail, having confessed to his tax crimes and stated his willingness to pay the taxes he is said to have evaded. “A chronic disease” that the artist suffers from was also a factor in his releas... More