The Jungfrau Tapes
     A Conversation with Diana Slattery about The Glide Project
     by Dene Grigar


Video 1:"The Journey"
Length: 00:49:08

Dene: Where are you going today, Diana?

Diana: Lucerne.

Dene: What does that have to do with Glide?

Diana: I won't know till I get there, except that, as I was saying to Roy [Ascott], every place we are or every place we end up is always exactly where we're supposed to be—and yet, there are choices to be made at every step along the way.

Video 2: "LiveGlide"
Length: 01:59:20

Dene: We know that "Glide" is the visual language that appears in your novel, The Maze Game, and is reflected in The Glide Project. But what exactly is "LiveGlide?" How does it differ from Glide itself?

Diana: It's just an extension of the Glide forms that you can draw as regular writing, and you can draw them on a two-dimensional surface. And it's just taking those forms, and those forms as they add the time dimension, and moving more into each other, also on a two-dimensional surface. But then taking those morphing signs and moving them through a three-dimensional space . . . leaving the trace of that so that the sign [produced] actually creates objects and leaves forms as its inscription. But then, you can go back with the LiveGlide writing tool and retraverse those forms in a number of different ways using the tool—adding and changing the qualities, visual qualities like, "how transparent they are," "how color can ripple through them." Then, reading becomes navigation. You navigate these forms. You can place your viewpoint inside the form and navigate that way. You can place it in a first person viewpoint, or you can place yourself outside the form in a third person viewpoint. So you are changing the . . . what do you call it? First person, third person?

Dene: Point of view, POV

Diana: Point of view

Dene: POV

Diana: The POV, yeah, in animation but in grammar you call it . . .

Dene: Point of view

Diana: Yeah, point of view

Video 3: "Grammar, Part 1"
Length: 01:44:05

Dene: Diana, how does LiveGlide, that is a visual language, reimagine grammar?

Diana: That makes a whole different way of handling grammar, and grammar becomes a "visual grammar," depending on where you situate yourself relative to the inscription. And then . . . you can read a form, which is a kind of a record of a journey. It's like an event. It was an event, in its writing. It moved through time. From the dimension of reading, the event has created a form. And so, in the dimension of reading you can read it in so many ways, as you can, of course, any piece, any text, any piece of natural language, and you can interpret it. So, reading, in this case, becomes navigating. So, you are actually navigating through space, and you can also leave a secondary reading. You can leave the record of how you navigated the space by saving the settings of how you went through that space, and it also can be saved. And somebody else can go through and reread the same way you did and /or add their own interpretation.

Video 4: "Grammar, Part 2"
Length: 00:57:16

Dene: Speaking from an interest in translation and interpretation, I wonder how one goes about interpreting forms in LiveGlide?

Diana: Interpretation is all done visually. So, you can start with very simple morphs, like one Glide sign morphing into another—just one transformation of meaning from one concept and traversing that journey, drawing that journey, and expressing something with the shape it creates, as well as the transformation. And then interpreting it, but the interpretation isn't going to be translation back into natural language. It's going to be different interpretations of movements in three-dimensions, I guess you can say.

Video 5: "The Process"
Length: 02:17:12

Dene: Is LiveGlide some larger experiment you are thinking of? Is this another piece of it? It seems to spiral out of Glide, which in itself was an experiment and now you are working on LiveGlide, which takes Glide to a different dimension, a different way of reading, thinking. Do you see another step past LiveGlide? If so, what would that be?

Diana: The transition into LiveGlide and the making of that instrument and learning how to read and write in LiveGlide has a parallel world in the narrative of the second novel. That novel is about that process, only in a fictional world, and what that process ends up meaning in "moving." But, in The Maze Game, the first novel, the language, the focus of the language, is a structure for a game, a particular kind of game, a very earth-like, human-like game. [The game in the novel] is always a dialectic. It's a player vs. a dancer. It's a competition. It's a win-lose game, and it's about who's better at navigating the maze and combat, etc. So, it mirrors the majority of human games. And that language [the Glide language] is language structures, game structure. But it's already hinting at other things because the maze [they play the game on] can transform. And it has different forms and shapes, even as a three-dimensional maze. The maze in the game is three-dimensional, but it is not three-dimensional in the sense of LiveGlide. It's three-dimensional as extruded and deformed two-dimensional shapes. So, it sort of achieves a semi three-dimensional but not a real moving, not moving through space creating forms, but by moving through space creating forms is the underlying shift of consciousness necessary to bring about being able to conceive of a new kind of game that is structured very differently. That is what the third novel is about. So you have a shift of thinking, a shift of cognition and a shift of civilization.

Video 6: The Maze Game
Length: 01:53:00

Dene: You seem to be anchoring all of your visual language work in written language of a novel . . .

Diana: No, it is completely back and forth. It's an iterative process.

Dene: But I guess what I am trying to say is that you always have a novel at the same time you are introducing a new experiment in The Glide Project.

Diana: Well, that's just part of the overall strategy of communicating.

Dene: Why is that?

Diana: Well, it's a strategy. It's a multiple discourse strategy for communicating an idea or set of ideas about language and consciousness in numerous, different ways. But it's not just a strategy of communication like skillful means . . . or something. When I have something I'm trying to say, I'm going to speak it this way for this audience, or this way for that audience.

Dene: So, content?

Diana: What?

Dene: Content?

Diana: Yeah, it's communication theory. It's not just for that reason, but it's built into the nature of ideas is to not only express them in different formats, like visual, animation, interactive, narrative, language theory, language and consciousness ideals—you know all that. But it's to expose the relationship between those different ways of knowing—it's epistemological—and that by moving back and forth and showing relationships, the transformation, the notion from this discourse from this episteme to this one. You can see how something evolves from multiple viewpoints and multiple cognitive systems.


Video 7: "Medium"
Length: 00:48:27

Dene: So, you're agreeing with Kate Hayles' views that the way we treat a medium is specific to it. In other words, what you do in your print text, although has some bearing upon what you are talking bout in your electronic texts, you're writing to the electronic text with a specificity of that medium in mind with all of its limitations and all of its possibilities?

Diana: Well, I think that there is something that underlies even the medium, and that's that there's a relationship always between a particular form of discourse and the media or medium in which it's expressed. And by changing the meaning, you change something about the discourse although you can express a single discourse in multiple ways. And that's what's happening in the whole electronic literature area and why literature people are hanging on so hard to the medium, the form, and the book and the printed page, and just not wanting to let go of the text, of the story or anything that break out of this medium. And there's a lot of tension in that evolution.

Video 8: "Epistemology"
Length: 02:00:15

Dene: You see then an epistemological shift in the move to visual language?

Diana: There are things you can do, certainly, I think the most obvious one to me is the form of knowing, "the epistemology of interaction," like what you learn by getting into an interactive playspace or a game or an interactive world—something that you can actually have agency in it, change, and some kind of dialogue with it, in it, evoke knowing from it, make changes in it, create things in it. Knowing by doing is . . . simply an . . . [recursive] process and that kind of knowing is really different. And I don't know how anybody could know or understand Glide just by getting a verbal account of it, that it doesn't really happen. It's sort of like you can understand tennis up to a certain point, just stating it as an example, but to actually get in there and play tennis gives you a different kind of knowing of tennis and not even necessarily having developed skill. You can just have a sense of what you are doing. Descriptions of, verbal descriptions of dance or something. It isn't just interacting or moving the body necessarily—it's moving the mind in a particular way. The mind moves differently than a visual interaction or a drawing of any kind of activity like that. It does better than parsing the words.

Video 9: "Consciousness"
Length: 01:51:15

Dene: Do you think in working with something like LiveGlide or visual texts like LiveGlide that you are going to be changing consciousness of the user, the interactor of that site? Is it something you are presaging for future kind of communicative devices and way of thinking and way of knowing? Are you trying to say something about consciousness in LiveGlide?

Diana: No, I think it's like . . .

Dene: Language?

Diana: . . . leaving a little. I want to make a version of it which we have been calling "LiveGlide Lite" that is an interactive version, but it's a much more simplified version that can be downloaded. It's visually very seductive, and that's part of its nature—that's just its beingness. It's also its part of its own intentionality and strategy. I talk about it to myself, and now I am telling it to you, as if LiveGlive has a form of consciousness itself. In other words, it is in some sense a living language and, therefore, I personify it, and I can communicate with it, not just that I can communicate with the language itself and both listen to what it has to say as well as make my own statements using its forms—that's kind of interesting enough. But that language, that language both changes our consciousness and part of that change in consciousness is to add more consciousness to language and to treat language as a sentient entity, a sentient entity in and of itself. So, now that I gone that far . . . . What I want to make is a LiveGlide Lite. It comes out of my being very annoyed with people who would look at LiveGlide or any of the Glide stuff and say, "Gee, that's a nice screensaver."


Video 10: "Applications"
Length: 01:35:29

Dene: <laughs> So, what innovation have you made to screensavers now?

Diana: So, I thought: Oh, why not make a version, make a screensaver, like there already are—there are screensavers that you can set up where you have to, kind of, have to go into the little program and you can change it and tweak it and then it comes up that way?" But I want to make one that's very seductive and very beautiful—which the LiveGlide forms are—and put just a few little controls there also, so they appear. It's a little app. You have just a few controls so you can tweak it the way you can the LiveGlide in a very, very complex way in the fuller application. So, people can interact just a minimal kind of way with their screensaver when it's on screen. So, therefore, they start experimenting a bit with the forms and interacting with the forms, and then, whatever happens, happens. It's either appealing or it's not. People either want to explore it, or they don't. It's kind of like leaving a little colored bauble on the beach, you know, like a message in a bottle, and leave them all over the place and enter on whatever it is—I was talking to Mike Phillips [U of Plymouth] about this—you know that phrase, "eye candy?" You know what I mean by saying, eye candy? It's pretty; therefore, it's "eye candy." But I started thinking but what is eye candy?

Dene: It is the bastardization of beauty

Diana: Yeah!

Video 11: "Beauty"
Length: 00:47:07

Dene: So, a LiveGlide Lite that is eye candy?

Diana: What is "eye candy?" It's called eye candy because people are drawn to it. They want to pop it in their eyes, like people pop chocolate in their mouth, or chips. Okay, great strategy, great rhetorical device for getting this meme out. Great, make it eye candy. Take that channel, and use it. Make a piece of screensaver, a little mini app, with a high rating on the eye candy scale. I'm not considering it now as something to resist but to accept.

Video 12: "Interactivity"
Length: 00:38:19

Dene: So a screensaver that interacts with the user?

Diana: The thing is that in its interactive form, you can save your forms, and, then, the next step is to make this a multi-user system where people can download the app, play with it, upload the forms for others to, then, take—their forms, their settings—and to play with galleries of stuff so that others can participate in the creation of the forms. It's interesting . . .

Video 13: "Journey 2"
Length: 00:03:21

Dene: Diana, where are you going?

Diana: Straight up.

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