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WRT: Writer Response Theory


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(Here’s an exercise to help your students think about locative narrative and locative poetic projects without leaving the cozy chair-desks of your classroom. Jeremy and I developed this exercise for use in Liz Losh’s digital poetry course at UCSD. Try it out in your class and let us know how it goes).
ImplementationJeremy has taught me the wisdom of paper prototyping in e-lit courses, particularly writing on note cards to free students from the tyrannical linearity of the page and to put students in the mindset of fragments. We wanted something the students could do in the classroom with the understanding that mapping tools, even Google Maps, could put this online.

Locative Corpse or Exquisite Location

This lesson teaches: Location-based writing, collaborative authorship, the spirit of geocaching.
E-lit genres: Locative Narrative, Sticker Novels
Relevant works: 34N 118W, Implementation, LA Flood Project
Background: Surrealism, Exquisite corpse, Locative Media Narratives

Continue reading ‘E-lit Writing Exercise: Locative Corpse’


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Liz LoshElizabeth Losh, more easily found by her alliterative LizLosh handle, has moved to a new location. No, her award-winning blog, VirtualPolitik has not abandoned Blogspot, but Liz herself has moved from UC Irvine to UC San Diego. Fortunately the move does not take her out of the magical corridor she’s mapped out.

Liz has been engaged in robust blogging for several years now, posting almost daily for the bulk of that time. Her wry and thoughtful posts are generously sprinkled with references and links to the community, constructing constellations of colleagues as she composes. The blog led to and extends a book of the same name, Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes (MIT Press), which came out last year to very strong reviews. Perhaps it’s no surprise that after she wrote the book on the field she helped to form, she took on a new academic position that whose job desription seems to have sprung from Liz’s head. In that transition, she moved from Director of writing in UCI’s Humanities Core to the Director of Academic Programs in
UCSD’s newest college.

Continue reading ‘Liz Losh has a Sixth Sense’


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Last year, I wrote the cut scenes for a Nintendo DS title called “WireWay” by Konami (now available for iPhone and iPad). The game features a mischievous character named Wiley, who spends his days hanging out with his buddy ReFresh and collecting Elan (stars) to reach various goals (to get rich, win the girl, save the world) as he flings himself through game boards via a rubber band-style game action, which was fun and, for a sorry gamer like me, a bit frustrating. (Apparently, I need to work on my flicking physics.) Try it yourself in this free online demo.

But, I really just wanted to see those cut scenes in the game, and my wife had even bought me a DS and the game to see it work. (There I was giddily unwrapping my birthday gift like a 12-year-old). Of course, I call them cut scenes but they were more like animated two-panel comics. Still, I wanted to see how they looked in the game, but I couldn’t. I didn’t need more practice or another walkthrough. I needed an eight-year-old with mad DS skills. Fortunately, my kids know just such a DS-Wizard. We invited him over, plied him with a pizza dinner, and he went to work. I got to see all the levels as he flipped the game in a few hours and asked, “What else you got?”

Today, I realized I’m not unique in this conundrum: having contributed assets to an interactive project on levels I can’t easily access. I was chatting with a voiceover artist who’d done a fair amount of video game work but, again, wasn’t a good enough gamer to make it to his own cut scenes. He was relying on YouTube.
Continue reading ‘on Writing Quips for the Thug in the Optional Mission’


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This summer Mira Zimet of USC’s College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences asked me to explain electronic literature in 60 seconds. Here was my answer (in a minute and a half).

Featured in the video (in order):
Jason Nelson’s Sydney’s Siberia, Kate Pullinger’s Inanimate Alice, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ Nippon, and Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern’s Façade.

Of course, the Electronic Literature Collection (volume 1) and the early entries in the Electronic Literature Directory demonstrate without a doubt that e-lit cannot be and should not be so narrowly defined. And others, Kate Hayles included, have suggested that the question “What isn’t e-lit?” is rather fruitless, too.
Continue reading ‘Electronic Literature in Sixty Seconds’


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Facebook We went to an old friend’s wedding out in western New York, Niagara Falls to be exact. We hadn’t seen the bride, Mary Maloney, in, geez, ten years? So I thought, I should add her as a Facebook friend. Our friendship pre-dated the social networking madness phase, but like some hidden ancient city in the Amazon, had somehow remained untainted by contemporary technological friends. So, I thought, I should add Mary Maloney as a friend.

As you can probably guess, Mary Maloneys are legion. Like Mohamed Alis, John Smiths, and Mark Marinos (well, not quite).

In any event, I began to pour over the search results. This one’s 21 (nope). These 25 are blond (nope). Redhead (nope). Ah, here was one with a wedding photo. Promising.

Mary Maloney look at ma stomach…this is only six months i can tell im goin to be huge at 9 months
waitin for our bundle of joy to arrive
Mary just discovered their photo of the day
February 17 at 11:39am via Photo of the Day · Get your Photo of the Day

Continue reading ‘E(pherema)-Lit’




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