This project, radioELL, evolves from my research affiliation with the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL) (2013-present) at Washington State University Vancouver, under the direction of Dr. Dene Grigar. My efforts re-imagine audio recordings of artist conversations, interviews, and traversals, as well as audio artifacts from their works, as sound based narratives.
The mission of ELL is to provide access to important works of electronic literature endangered by time and outmoded hardware, software, and media formats. This is done by collecting, curating, and preserving early works of electronic literature through publication of scholarship, conversations and interviews with artists, and traversals (online performances) of works of electronic literature using the original hardware and software associated with the work. Audiences can watch in ELL or via live streaming and interact with the performer using live chat.
Traversal of of day, of night
8 November 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Dr. Megan Heyward, Senior Lecturer, Media Arts & Production Program, University of Technology Sydney, reads and performs portions of her of day, of night (ISBN 1-884511-45-7, CD, Eastgate Systems, Inc., 2004, catalog listing here) in the Electronic Literature Lab. Produced with Macromedia Director in 2001 and exhibited widely until its publication on CD-ROM by Eastgate Systems, Inc. in 2004. Heyward's multimedia work is the only non-North American interactive work to be published, and the last to published by Eastgate during the 1988-2004 period. Heyward's creative research website provides information about her current efforts. Metadata.
Conversation with Megan Heyward
7 November 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Dr. Dene Grigar (Professor in Digital Technology and Culture, Washington State University Vancouver) talks with Dr. Megan Heyward (Media Arts & Production Program, University of Technology Sydney) about the state of electronic literature in Australia. Heyward provides historical context, points to a focus on interactive media experiences driven by the availability of Macromedia Director, and suggests contemporary and future work in Australia as continuing an interest in interactivity. Metadata.
Traversal of Fragments of a Dionysian Body
18 October 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Dr. Anna Nacher, Institute of Audiovisual Arts, Jagiellorian University, Kraków, Poland, reads and performs portions of Fragments of a Dionysian Body: Hypertext, Nietzche, and Dynamic Systems by Eric Steinhardt (ISBN 1-884511-33-3, Hypercard, Eastgate Systems, Inc., 1997, catalog listing here) in the Electronic Literature Lab. Nacher explains how Steinhardt uses hypertext to illustrate German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's (1844-1900) concepts of Truth, Self, and Will to Power. As Nacher demonstrates, Neitzche can be both engaging and inviting. Metadata.
Thank you A LOT! I really like your recording, especially the way you edited it and the background soundtrack. It is marvellous, thank you!
— Anna Nacher, 27 October 2019
Launch Party for Kathleen Zoller's The Progressive Dinner Party Restored
27 September 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Kathleen Zoller, a student in the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL), discusses The Progressive Dinner Party Restored, a multimedia book built on the Scalar platform that documents her project to restore Jennifer Ley, Margie Luesebrink, and Carolyn Guyer's special collection of women's electronic literature, The Progressive Dinner Party, first published in Ley's journal, Riding the Meridian in 1996. Using Rhizome's Webrecorder, local files sent to her by the artists, and the Wayback Machine, Zoller painstakingly updated works originally produced with Flash or Shockwave for current browsers, restored missing media, and fixed external links where needed. Metadata.
Traversal of We Knew The Glass Man
19 September 2019, ACM Hypertext Conference, Hof, Germany
John McDaid is a singer, songwriter, and science fiction story writer. McDaid discusses and reads portions of his Twine narrative, We Knew The Glass Man, first published in I/O, an undertaking of Cream City Review to explore the potential found in the interstices and encounters between the printed and digital page, as part of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Hypertext 2019 conference program, 17-20 September 2019, at the Institute of Information Systems, Hof University, Hof, Germany. Metadata.
John McDaid is the author of Uncle Buddy's Fun House (ISBN 1-884511-09-0, Hypercard, Eastgate Systems, Inc., 1993, catalog listing here), a pioneering work of electronic literature. In 2013, August 7-10, he visited ELL as part of Dene Grigar's Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature project. While there, he read portions of this work and talked with Grigar about its inspiration, conceptualization, creation, and legacy. Learn more.
ELL Conversation with David Kolb
22 August 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Additional Soundcloud archive
Dr. Astrid Ensslin (Professor in Digital Humanities and Game Studies, University of Alberta) and Dr. Dene Grigar (Professor in Digital Technology and Culture, Washington State University Vancouver) talk with Dr. David Kolb (Professor in Philosophy, Bates College) about his seminal career as a pioneering hypertext author and scholar. The conversation, recorded at the Electronic Literature Lab, uncovers unknown information about other hypertexts by Kolb, his participation in early, pre-web hypertext conferences, and his collaborations with other authors working in this area.
Traversal of Digitalvitalism
17 July 2019, Electronic Literature Organization International Conference
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Dr. Michael J. Maguire is an Irish writer, educator, technologist, theorist, and electronic literature poet. His work, Digitalvitalism: Life in Electric Poetry, is both an homage to Irish digital poet and narrativist John Pat McNamara and an exploration of the overlay of literature, poetry, Irish history and culture, and digital media. Digitalvitalism, a term coined by McNamara, suggests aspects of the creative process occurring between a human and an electronic or digital machine in the course of making born digital poetic works. Maguire discusses and reads portions of his work as part of the 2019 Electronic Literature Organization Conference & Media Arts Festival program. His appearance on the conference program was billed as "Sustaining Digital Vitalism: A Live Stream Traversal of Michael J. Maguire's Work."
Maguire also delivered a keynote talk at the 2019 ELO Conference entitled Potential Possibilities of Peripheral Porosity: A Combinatory Creative Community Keynote. Watch and listen here.
Riding the Rust Belt with M.D. Coverley
17 July 2019, Electronic Literature Organization International Conference
University College Cork
Performance by M. D. Coverley
Popular at every gathering of the Electronic Literature Organization are readings of works of electronic literature by their authors. Strange—right?—that works created with and meant to be consumed using computer technology would be so popular as live, group experiences? I think these performances are popular because authors and readers miss the shared experience of reading and listening, together.
So there we were, seated in Kino, a multi-use art and performance space in Cork, Ireland, as M. D. Coverley—in real life American writer, scholar, and teacher Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink—read from Riding the Rust Belt, her video requiem to Gary, Indiana, co-authored with her son, Eric Luesebrink. I recorded her explanation of the work, and reading of multiple parts from my seat in the audience. Coverley allowed me to combine these samples with road traffic sounds, sonic suggestions of tuning a radio, and conversational sounds to represent the shared experience of listening and talking about what was heard. This collage-like sound narrative speaks to riding in a car, looking out the window while listening to the radio, thinking about the changes in Gary, Indiana, the Rust Belt, and across America.
Oh, I always love your work—so inspired and creative! And this one of the Rust Belt Re-Imagined is just fantastic!! You have surely captured the essence—and I am delighted that you could capture the sound so well and blend it together with the ambience of travel!
— Marjorie Luesebrink (M. D. Coverley), 1 Sep. 2019
Traversal of True North by Stephanie Strickland
26 March 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Traversal by Stephanie Strickland
Poet Stephanie Strickland discusses and performs her hypertext poem, True North (ISBN 1-884511-36-8, Storyspace, Eastgate Systems, Inc., 1997, catalog listing here) in the Electronic Literature Lab. Listen to this audio documentation of Strickland's traversal of her work.
Conversation with Bob Stein
14 March 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Bob Stein talks with Dene Grigar about founding The Voyager Company and The Criterion Collection. Voyager and Criterion were the premier publisher for multimedia book environments in the 1980s and 1990s, publishing more than 300 films on laser disk and 75 CDs. Previous to Voyager, Stein worked with Alan Kay in the Research Group at Atari on a variety of electronic publishing projects. Stein tells stories behind several Voyager titles and reflects on the history of multimedia publishing. Metadata.
Stein also founded The Institute for the Future of the Book. According to its mission statement, The Institute for the Future of the Book seeks to chronicle [the] shift [of the book from print to digital], and impact its development in a positive direction. The Institute is a project of the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, and is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Traversal of Notes Toward Absolute Zero by Tim McLaughlin
1 March 2019, University of Victoria Library, Victoria, Canada
Traversal by Tim McLaughlin
Writer Tim McLaughlin, of British Columbia, Canada, discusses and performs his work, Notes Toward Absolute Zero (ISBN 1-884511-24-4, ***, Eastgate Systems, 1992/3, catalog listing here) as part of Endangered Data Week. LEARN more at the ELL website. Listen to this audio documentation of McLaughlin's traversal of his work.
Traversal of Figurski at Findhorn on Acid by Richard Holeton
22 February 2019, Electronic Literature Lab
Traversal by Richard Holeton
Writer Richard Holeton discusses his pioneering work of hypertext electronic literature, Figurski at Findhorn on Acid (ISBN 1-884511-40-6, CD, Eastgate Systems, 2001, catalog listing here), including the factual background behind this fictional work and the playful yet precise organization of its nodes, and performs a portion of the default pathway through the work. LEARN more at the ELL website. Listen to this audio documentation of Holeton's traversal of his work.
Conversation with Eduardo Kac
3 January 2019, Kac's studio
Dene Grigar talks with Eduardo Kac, a contemporary Brazilian-American artist and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His art practice includes performance art, poetry, holography, interactive art, telematic art, and transgenic art. Kac gives Grigar a tour of his showroom, a former meat packing plant now subdivided into artist spaces, and they talk about his Minitel project, his work with Slow Scan TV (SSTV) to send images via video telephones, his "Storms" poem, his rabbit bio-art project (Alba), lago glyphs and language, embroidery and posters, olfactory art, pricing, selling, and preserving media art created on orphaned software platforms. Their conversation is punctuated with acoustic and electric guitar performances from adjoining studio spaces, and the elevated rail system outside the building. Metadata.
Traversal of Samplers
9 November 2018, Electronic Literature Lab
Traversal by Deena Larsen
Deena Larsen reads and discusses sections of her second work of hypertext, Samplers: Nine Vicious Little Hypertexts (ISBN 1-884511-30-9, Eastgate Systems, 1996, catalog listing here), a collection of nine richly imagined short stories that illustrate the capabilities of Storyspace, a software program for creating, editing, and reading hypertext fiction. Using Storyspace, Larsen structured each story to recall a traditional quilting pattern.
Larsen, new media artist and hypertext author, created the acclaimed interactive poem Marble Springs, also published by Eastgate Systems (1993, catalog listing here), a complex work written in Hypercard that anticipated icons and navigational features that would appear in the evolving World Wide Web. Marble Springs written in the tradition of Spoon River Anthology and Winesburg, Ohio explores the lives of women in a Colorado mountain town between 1853 and 1935.
Traversal of In Small and Large Pieces
26 October 2018, Electronic Literature Lab
Will Luers, winner of the 2018 The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature, reads through parts of Kathyrn Cramer's pioneering work of electronic literature, In Small and Large Pieces (ISBN 1-884511-15-5, **format?**, Eastgate Systems, 1994, catalog listing here), a postmodern Through the Looking Glass. Kramer is the winner of the World Fantasy Award and certainly mines that vein with this work. Psychotic adolescence, dysfunctional parents, a young woman who believes she can fix anything, this hypertext fictional novel serves them all as print never could. LEARN more at the ELL website.
ELL Traversal Pre-Roll
John F. Barber
The Electronic Literature Lab (ELL), directed by Dr. Dene Grigar, offers live audio-video streams of traversals of pioneering works of electronic literature. I produced this soundscape in my role as an ELL Research Affiliate for ELL to stream prior to these traversals, while participants gather in online spaces for live tweeting and feedback that is a part of each traversal.
ELL Traversal Pre-Roll includes several components.
Michael Joyce, John McDaid, Shelley Jackson, Judy Malloy
Michael Joyce, Afternoon, A Story
Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl
The Unknown: The Original Great American Hypertext Novel (1999) by William Gillespie, Scott Rettberg, Frank Marquardt, and Dirk Stratton
The Roar of Destiny (1995-1999) by Judy Malloy
Pieces for Simultaneous Voices (1972-1974) by Jim Rosenberg
Under Language (2007) by Stuart Moulthrop
Electronic Toasters and Pop-Up Poetry by Nicky Nolan and Nolan Baseneth(sp?)
Thought leaders comment on theory and practice during the 2014 ELO Conference. Included are Justine Bizzocchi, Scott Rettburg, Allison (did not give last name), Scott Rettberg, Roger Dean, John Murray, Amaranth Borsuk, Leonardo Flores, Ian Hatcher, Bill Bly, Steven Wingate, Dana Coester, Jeroen Gerrits, Anastasia Salter, Kim (did not give last name), Alan Bigelow, Jim Bizzocchi, Kathleen Ottinger, Jonathan Olshefski, Steve Woodall, Davin Heckman, Deena Larsen, Joe Tabbi, Marjorie Luesebrink, Jessica Pressman, Soren Bro Pold, Kwaba Opoku-Agyemang, Kent Darcy, Francis Stansloy(sp?), Joellyn Rock, Maria Goicoechea, Nolen Baseneth(sp?), Aaron Reed, Aden Evens, Nicky Nolan, Lucas Ramada Prieto, Nick Montfort, Rich Higgison, Rob Wittig, Serge Bouchardon, and Katherine Hayles.
Director Dene Grigar requested "space music." I have used the sounds of space as recorded by Voyager spacecraft, an open access resource provided by NASA.
radioELO transmission art installation
John F. Barber
For the 2016 Electronic Literature Organization conference, radioELO manifests as a work of transmission art featuring low power AM band radio broadcasts to vintage radios, most from the 1930s, positioned throughout the exhibition space. Live and recorded content is produced and broadcast onsite.
Transmission arts engage aural and video broadcast media. Often, transmission arts are live, participatory, time-based, dynamic and fluid, always open to redefinition, intent to put communication tools in the hands of artists / the public for the realization of democratic cultural communication networks. As a result, the media are used in ways different from their original (commercial) intention. This interplay prompts redefinition(s) between artist and audience, transmitter and receiver, along with the telecommunications airwaves as the site for its practice.
In Memoriam Decio Pignatari
Janete El Haouli and José Augusto Mannis
A sound poem for radio in honor of Decio Pignatari, creator of concrete poetry in Brazil in the 1950s along with the brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos.
In Memoriam invites the listener to hear the creative imagination of this great poet by including an electroacoustic montage of poetic readings by Pignatari and excerpts of songs inspired by his poems.
In this work, speeches, poems, songs, and silences interact and become integrated. The composition focuses on the interplay of sounds, words, word sounds, words that are transformed when sounds are changed, and with sounds that by and of themselves become words. The unfolding, the combinations and possibilities evidenced by the poems prompted the creation process of this sound piece as if it were the result of a thought that is organized in the displacement of space in time, of sounds and gestures in time and space, and of space in time. We think directly about the sonorous body of the words and about the sounds of the voices.
The guiding principle of the structure of In Memoriam is the work Noigandres IV (1997) for a soprano, clarinet, and piano by J.A. Mannis about the poem HOMBRE, also written by Décio Pignatari, published in the magazine called Noiganders No. 4, from which the song's title comes. Pignatari's voice as he reads the poem and the 1997 song become equivalent in density, in meaning and could be alternated, combined, and thus, the song disintegrates, is transformed, and permeates all the other poems included in the piece, agglutinating, uniting, or connecting, in different ways, to each one of them. In this way, In Memoriam presents as a sound creation that brings together spoken concrete poems, testimonials, and songs.
Concrete poetry was conceived and accomplished in Brazil by poets Augusto de Campos, Décio Pignatari, Haroldo de Campos, José Lino Grünewald, and Ronald Azeredo in the 1950s, continuing to the present, for more than six decades.
Décio Pignatari was born in Brazil, 20 August 1927. He died 2 December 2012. He was a poet, essay writer, translator, thinker, critic, playwright, professor, advertising professional. In partnership with the Campos brothers, with whom he formed the basis of the Noigandres Group, Pignatari published critical texts, including the book Concrete Poetry Theory (1965), and manifestos. In one of his most significant texts, called "Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry," the concrete poem is introduced as "an object in and of itself, not as an interpreter of external objects and/or sensations that are more or less subjective," and concrete poetry is defined as "an integral responsibility facing language." As proposed in the manifesto, the word should be thought of in its various dimensions: "sound, visual form, semantic load." Listen to In Memoriam Decio Pignatari.
techne_lab: a journal of practice-based research
Ryan Ruehlen and Mark America
techne_lab is a mix of sound recordings sampled from podcasts produced by Ryan Ruehlen and Mark America each seeking to improvise and articulate the experiential qualities of contemporary art and writing practices as well as emerging research methodologies from the Doctoral Program in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance (IWAP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The voices in these podcasts are faculty and lecturers, and artist-educators affiliated with the program
Operating as a conduit for experimental dialogue around practice-based research, techne_lab is at once a limited run academic journal, a finite podcast, a sequence of affective audio essays and an archive of philosophical source material for future forms of postproduction art.
The research conducted in IAWP program reflects the rapidly transforming knowledge systems and digital media economies emerging from the substantial technological shifts currently taking place in our society.Traditional scholarly and creative work outputs such as the single-authored print book or conventional gallery exhibitions have already been challenged by the emergence of multi-authored and/or hybridized forms of transmission such as Internet art sites, electronic literature, live audio/visual performance, multi-platform storytelling or transmedia narratives, software art, interactive installations for public spaces, augmented reality, game art, networked media activism, and innovative art applications for mobile devices and tablets.
TECHNE is a practice-based research initiative in the digitally-expanded intermedia arts and writing founded in 2000 by Mark Amerika at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The lab is focused on inventing new forms of knowledge associated with intermedia art, writing, and performance as well as emerging modes of scholarly thought. Recent research projects have featured net art, transmedia narratives, live audio/visual performances, hybidrized print and electronic scholarly publications, interactive museum installations, mobile cinema and art applications for personal phones and tablets, and experiments in the digital humanities. Listen to techne_lab: a journal of practice-based research.
Egypt: The Soundtrack
M. D. Coverley
Coverley allowed me to re-imagine music from her work of electronic literature, and hopefully, like her hyperlinked novel, to evoke a journey along a river of time, through present and past states of consciousness, and the fixed and the moving. LEARN more.
Coverley has allowed me to re-imagine sound samples from two other of her works—Riding the Rust Belt and Califia—as similar sound collage narratives. See each for details and listening opportunities.
Included in 11'22", sound art for FILE 2017.
34 North 118 West Remix
Jeremy Hight, Jeff Knowlton, and Naomi Spellman
This pioneering locative narrative combines audio narrative, digital media, and GPS technology to create an interactive story. The original is no longer available. My remix of its sound artifacts recalls the original experience of being in two places at once, past and present. LEARN more.
Radio Salience Remix
Sound, like tuning a radio to a distant station, provides the context for the text. My re-imagined sound narrative made from original sound files from this early, and little known work by Moulthrop, provides a way to experience this work. LEARN more.
Sc4nda1 in New Media Remix
In the original work, a classic arcade game provides a portal to the text, accompanied by various sounds. My re-imagined sound narrative, made from original sound files from this early work by Moulthrop, provide opportunities to experience and preserve this work. LEARN more.
Under Language Remix
Moulthrop calls Under Language a "literary instrument" providing ten lines of computer-voiced poetry interspersed with computer-voiced code and/or comments that express a second sense or esoteric meaning. For Moulthrop, it was this under language (expressed through computer code) that was central to works of electronic literature. My re-imagined sound narrative made from original sound files from this early work by Moulthrop, provide an experience with the essential, core elements of the original work. LEARN more.
May I ask you a question?
A sound narrative, created from field recordings of conference participants answering the question, "May I ask you a question?"
What Is Electronic Literature?
Throughout the Electronic Literature Organization 2014 conference I asked participants, "What is electronic literature?" I created this sound narrative from their answers.
Never one to shy from creative endeavor, Coover provides this spontaneous answer/performance. It deserves to stand alone, unedited, as originally recorded on a bench outside the library on the campus of University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, during the 2014 Electronic Literature Organization conference. Listen to eLiterature A-Z.
Conversation with Jim and Justine Bizzochi
Jim and Justine Bizzochi
Jim and Justine have a lot to say about soundscapes and computational audio-visual works. Recorded in a tornado shelter, on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee campus, during the 2014 Electronic Literature Organization conference, they speak eloquently about the connections between sounds and visuals. Listen to the conversation.
Song for the Working Fly
Bigelow uses text, animation, photographs, and audio (music loops, sounds, and songs) to augment his first person(al) narratives. A great example is Life of FLY. FLY is an artist, poet, singer, and media figure. He is also a housefly. Life of FLY is a glimpse into his life and work. There are two songs in the story. This one, "Song for the Working Fly," is a song by FLY for the 99%. More a rant than a song, the work plays with an interactive animation of flying text: "FLY FIDDLES," "FLY FOMENTS," "FLY FOREVER," etc. These texts are augmented by a fly animation and a still image. The song is by FLY and sung by FLY—it is his statement on the predicament of the working man and woman faced with economic adversity. Both songs included in Life of Fly were created by Bigelow using copyright-free instrumental sound files edited using Sound Studio. He added his own voice, lyrics, and melodies to the song, and for the second song, "Love is Everything," recorded an additional female voice for a chorus. This work is unedited, provided here exactly as provided by Bigelow. Headphones are recommended for the best listening experience. Information about his 2014 conference presentation here.
This sounds like an interesting project. I have always thought that sound is an integral part of elit, and I have endeavored to always include it, whenever possible.
— Alan Bigelow
No Booze Tonight
An audio sample from Wingate's daddylabyrinth project (more information here), a media memoir about his troubled relationship with his father, an author who struggled with alcohol. Wingate channels his father by reading one of his short stories about these struggles. Wingate anticipates additional, similar stories in the evolving memoir chapter "Reading My Father, Writing My Father." This work is unedited, exactly as provided by Wingate.
Letters from The Archiverse: A Language/Object Event Horizon
Jeff T. Johnson and Andrew Klobucar
Audio sample from performance at the 2014 Electronic Literature Organization conference (more information here). The original performance included visual projection of a language object-based open-field poetry environment, and audio. Images available at Organism for Poetic Research. This audio sample is unedited, exactly as provided by Johnson.
This is a marvelous resource. Thanks for including our work!
— Jeff T. Johnson
Thanks for making this available. I continue to enjoy seeing how this project develops. Amazing archive!
— Andrew Klobucar
The Obsolete Book in a Post-Obsolete World as Represented by a Post-Obsolete Book About Dance
A field recording of Suzanne's installation at the 2014 Electronic Literature Organization conference (more information here). The installation is a "reflection on the obsolescence of obsolescence" . . . a performance website, a pseudo-academic lecture, and a dance about architecture . . . "a multimedia archival rhizome ecology in ten parts." My recording provides some access to the original work, no longer readily available.
Circuits—from River Island
One of several sound works from Cayley's programatology project: recorded and performed versions of generated / computational texts. This sample is undedited, exactly as provided by Cayley.
I think your idea of having a radio station/audio image(s) for Electronic Literature at this year's ELO conference is wonderful. I'm especially keen since, for my own language work, I am planning to concentrate on performed and recorded versions of generated/computational texts.
— John Cayley
Califia: A Sound Narrative
M. D. Coverley
This pioneering work of electronic literature by Coverley follows five generations of Californians as they look for a lost stash of gold coins, and dreams of riches. Coverley's hypermedia, interactive novel for CD-ROM features stories, maps, journeys, multiple narrators, 2,400 images, and music, which itself is a story worth a listen (Eastgate Systems, Inc., catalog listing here). My re-imagined sound-based narrative, using music samples provided by Coverley, provides an experience of this difficult to access original work. LEARN more.
Coverley allowed me to re-imagine sound samples from two other of her works—Riding the Rust Belt and Egypt—as similar sound collage narratives. See each for details and listening opportunities.
The Unknown: The Original Great American Hypertext Novel
William Gillespie, Scott Rettberg, Frank Marquardt, and Dirk Stratton
In June 1998, four completely unknown writers began a narrative about the wild cross-country book tour of a group of successful authors. They created eighty pages in the first thirty-six-hour creative frenzy. More than eight hundred pages followed, all hyperlinked so readers could follow different paths through the narrative.
Live, interactive readings were quite popular. With the text of The Unknown projected behind them, one author read, one author worked the computer mouse, and one dinged a bell to signal each hyperlink. Audience members shouted out hyperlinks they wished the authors to follow. Following the requested hyperlink, the authors changed roles. In performance, the authors mimicked the witty megalomaniac register and self-deprecating banter of the text, lampooning literary / intellectual icons, riffing on literary styles, all while having a great deal of fun. See The Green Line: Interactive Live Readings of the Unknown for a documentary history of these readings.
The end result of these readings is an effective comment on the lack of closure in hypertext fiction, a staple of the genre since Michael Joyce's Afternoon: A Story (1987; first published 1990). Gillespie, Rettberg, and Stratton perpetuate this tension by continually adding to the text. Read the entire hypertext online at the Unknown Hypertext website.
The Unknown was chosen by Robert Coover to receive the 1998 trAce/ALTX Hypertext Competition award. Coover invited Gillespie, Rettberg, and Stratton to present themselves and their work at the Technology Platforms for the 21st Century Conference, 7-9 April 1999, at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. The authors gave two readings / performances. The second, in a multimedia lab, with a tub of beer, was ideal. My edited sound narrative re-imagines the evening.
While radio and electronic/generated/computational (EGC) literature may seem unlikely partners, they share commonalities. Both tell stories, present events, and contextualize the world in narrative form. Both are temporal but capable of returning through curation. Radio disappears after its broadcast. EGC literature disappears with changes in the underlying technologies necessary for its production, display, and consumption. Many works of EGC literature, especially pioneering works (see the Pathfinders project) have been orphaned and made generally inaccessible by such changes. Written documentation, screen shots, alternate versions, simulations, and emulations are currently employed in attempt to preserve these works and continue their accessibility.
radioELL believes there is also value in preserving the aural aspects of EGC, which, when, reconceptualized, remixed, and made available in imaginative and creative ways, can help us understand the original work. This effort is believed valuable to artists, researchers, and readers.
The combination of radioELL and EGC is, therefore, purposeful, meant to promote sound as a genre of EGC literature, and demonstrate the creative affordances of sound-based literary artifacts grounded in the act of listening.
Sound-based aural artifacts used in this endeavor include author traversals, reevaluations and retrospectives, commentary and reviews, testimonials, memoirs, interviews, conversations, and oral histories. Permission is granted by their original creators to use them in creative endeavors. Resulting remixes explore the overlay of sound narratives, sound art, and radio art.