Posts Tagged “Third Hand Plays”

Third Hand Plays: Putting It All Together, the “Comedy of Separation”

09.27.2011  |  By
Filed under: Projects/Series

I’m sure some of you have noticed that a fair portion of my examples illustrating these “comedies” can best be described as harmless doodles — one-offs by bored adolescents, digital “folk” art by people otherwise preoccupied with their day jobs as graphic designers or computer engineers, or forays into digital text by artists whose main... More

Third Hand Plays: “Bodies of Water” by David Clark

09.21.2011  |  By
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David Clark’s major internet works — including “88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played by left hand),” “Sign After the X,” and “A Is for Apple” — are dense, encyclopedic Flash pieces that are replete with imagery, sounds, graphics, voiceover narration. Clark’s visual sensibility is probably closest to that of a graphic... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Encryption

09.20.2011  |  By
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Encryption is the age-old practice of taking a message, commonly known as a “plaintext,” and enciphering it to make it illegible to the unpracticed eye — this new text is known as the “ciphertext.” Prior to the use of ciphers, messages could be conveyed secretly by simply hiding them — shaving a messenger’s head, for example, and letting the hair grow back before sending him on his way, only to have it be revealed after a drastic haircut on the other end. Invisible ink was another common practice. A very basic form of encryption i... More

Third Hand Plays: “Struts” by J. R. Carpenter

09.15.2011  |  By
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The very prolific J. R. Carpenter seems, more than most writers of electronic literature, most keen on bridging the worlds between the digital and the social, creating a middle ground in her pieces where nature, community, geography, and politics can intermingle with the play of algorithm and the range of image-making abilities computers afford. Two major recent pieces, collected in the Electronic Literature Organization‘s second grouping of key works, aptly demonstrate her interests. “Entre Ville” is a project that investigat... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Automation

09.13.2011  |  By
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The comedy of automation is present in all electronic literature works that dynamically generate “literary” content without the work of a writer; we can see it in any number of works in the previous posts, particularly in the comedies of dysfunction, recursion, exhaustion, and association. I decided to create this additional category specifical... More

Third Hand Plays: “automatype” by Daniel C. Howe

09.08.2011  |  By
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Daniel C. Howe, like joerg piringer and Erik Loyer, can be described as both an artist and a researcher. His homepage lists a number of projects, many in progress, some merely sketches, but he doesn’t make any clear division between research and art, not surprising given his array of degrees and residencies. An early project involved developing a series of 3-D fonts, which puts him in a tradition of experimental font makers including the previously mentioned Paul Chan, who replaced individual letters with words, scribbles, or abstract sha... More

Third Hand Plays: The Comedy of Association

08.30.2011  |  By
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This next comedy might be the one most associated with electronic literature, as it corrals work in both hypertext and computer-generated writing. I describe hypertext a bit in the first blog post in this series; it is basically the association of different text blocks, called “lexia,” through links embedded in the text itself, commonplace on the web but still exotic in the 1990s. Important early works in hypertext include Shelley Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl” (1995), Stuart Moulthrop’s “Victory Garden” (199... More

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

08.25.2011  |  By
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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
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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
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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

Third Hand Plays: “Big Cradle” by Erik Loyer

08.11.2011  |  By
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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
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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

Third Hand Plays: “TYPEOMS” by Jhave

08.04.2011  |  By
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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
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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

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

07.28.2011  |  By
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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
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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

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

07.21.2011  |  By
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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
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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

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

07.14.2011  |  By
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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
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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
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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

Third Hand Plays: An Introduction to Electronic Literature

07.05.2011  |  By
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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