Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, UK, from 22 Oct to 14 Nov 2014
‘The Future of Reading?’ exhibition shows how recent forms of experimental writing use digital technologies to enable new ways of reading, which complement and sometimes challenge more established media like books, films, and videogames. It includes Interactive Fictions (IFs) and electronic text adventure games, hypertext and hypermedia fictions, Flash and App-based fictions, kinetic poetry, and literary videogames.
Also, earlier this week, as part of the Reading Digital Fiction project, I was delighted and honoured to give a Creative Writing Master Class in digital fiction for the MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.
Randy Adams, media mixeur and founder of the collaborative creative community, R3/\/\1X\/\/0RX (remixworx), passed away peacefully in Nanaimo, Canada, with his wife JoAnn by his side, on 25 April 2014. He published his bio posthumously on Facebook. Today there will be a celebration of his life in Departure Bay, Vancouver Island. This is my virtual offering.
run the [creative] program randy
That’s how Randy Adams, aka runran, unpacked his digital pen name in the comments under one of R3/\/\1X\/\/0RX’ earliest blog posts, scream to be remixed, in December 2006, shortly before I joined. I will always be thankful that runran founded remixworx, an ongoing collaborative space for remixing digital media, not least because, as long as it remains online, we will always be able to run the [creative] program randy. His spritely spirit – and spirited sprite – runs throughout, inspiring, spawning, mixing, melding, entertaining, provoking, mutating… Let the tags lead you on a merry dance. For instance, of the many characters shedding digital debris, perhaps ponder the codeman or cyborg or, if you peer into the shadow moment and look inside, you might sense runran in imaginary places. Explore.
Randy initiated and enabled so much online creativity, literally hundreds of remixes, and earlier collaborative projects too that predate social media, like the enchanting Imaginary Post Office where he was postmaster. From our first virtual meeting at the trAce Online Writing Centre, where he inspired me to become a digital writer and artist, to our years of creative remixing, I will treasure my association with runran and all the cross-pollinations he inspired.
A Revolution of Words (Dec 2013) is the last creative collaboration that I worked on with Randy while he was battling against the side-effects of chemotherapy. It invites the speculative reader to Spin the Revolution and thus a play on words becomes a game of chance where meaning is at stake. The words are all runran’s, he chose the images too, and I did the codework. So try our useful online tool to find new meaning in your life. Give it a spin and see which dictum, watchword, slogan, epigram, mantra, motto, pitch, patter or spiel fortune favours for you!
What are playable stories and how to start writing them
Computers and the internet have given birth to a new literary genre – Electronic Literature, or E-Lit for short. The genre covers a wide range of forms, from digital poetry to literary games and playable stories. The one thing all E-Lit works have in common is that they’re created on a computer and meant to be read using a computer or mobile device. Many are freely accessible to read or play on the internet. In this workshop, we’ll look at some examples of e-lit, playable stories that I’ve created, and how you might go about starting to write your own.
Want to start writing your own digital stories or poems?
Here are some suggestions of web apps and writing tools you might want to try:
Prezi – a powerful zooming presentation tool that you can use online, on your desktop or on your iPad/iPhone. Böhmische Dörfer is a very moving example of what can be achieved, created (in English) by Alexandra Saemer:
“Böhmische Dörfer” is a piece, created in Prezi, about the impossibility of reconstructing the failing memory of a traumatic historical event : the “March of Death” of the Sudeten Germans from Brno in winter 1945.
Storynexus – a platform for exploring interactive story worlds and writing and creating your own.
Scratch – a platform for programming your own interactive stories, games and animations.
Webmaker – “a global community that creates the web by making, teaching and remixing” – an open source project from Mozilla.
Varytale – a publishing and writing platform for interactive books.
Useful tools for writers and digital writers alike:
Scrivener – a “complete writing studio”, it has just about everything you need for researching, writing, structuring and revising your projects.
Scapple – a freeform text editor, similar to a mind-mapping tool.
Evernote – a powerful notetaking, web clipping, scrap-booking that helps you “remember everything”.
A new work! It’s a kind of meta-remix of my personal creative journey through remixworx, our collaborative online remixing project. Conceived as a poetic interactive infographic with lots of multimedia animated content, this ‘scenic route‘ presents a sample trail of 33 out of the 100 remixes I’ve created since joining the remixworx group blog in January 2007. The trail includes a text commentary about my experience of remixing and co-creating over the past six years.
This particular crissxross remix trail formed the core of my presentation for the ELMCIP conference on Remediating the Social in Edinburgh, on 2 November 2012. Remixworx founder, Randy Adams, also presented at the conference, remotely from Canada. He gave an overview of the project and showed a couple of remixes (bookish version 1.3 and Notes Noir) before giving a live online VJ performance of the Visual Poetry Generator 0.1, accompanied by a spoken word and music soundtrack. Below is a sample screenshot from VPG 0.1.