Tag Archives: Fitting the Pattern

Digital Literature featured in The Independent

Underbelly and Fitting the Pattern recommended works

In an Arts & Entertainments feature in The Independent, Lisa Gee “explores the unbound possibilities of digital-era fiction” and announces the shortlist for the 2011 New Media Writing Prize. She asked a number of people working in digital writing and/or publishing to nominate their favourite works of digital literature and I’m delighted to say that Tim Wright and Jim Pope both recommended Underbelly, and Sue Thomas picked Fitting the Pattern. Here’s what they had to say in the accompanying video:

Underbelly screenshotTim Wright, digital writer/consultant, on Underbelly :

It’s a really interesting use of interactivity, Flash animation,  amazing sound and it’s a story about women miners but then also a thought piece about bearing children and motherhood and balancing work and home.

Dr James Pope, academic & judge/co-founder, New Media Writing Prize, on Underbelly :

I still maybe think it’s the best piece I’ve seen in terms of emotional connection to a piece of interactive work.

Detail from Fitting the PatternSue Thomas, professor of new media, De Montfort University, on Fitting the Pattern:

It’s beautifully designed, but it also has very clever tools within it that you have to learn how to use before you can actually navigate the piece and read the story.

Here are the other recommended works:

New Media Writing Prize 2011 – shortlist

Also announced yesterday on the New Media Writing Prize blog, the shortlist for the student prize:

Student Entries

  • Chasing Pandora – Emily Devereux, Allyson Cikor, Trent Redmond, Mathew Vickery  (Alberta, Canada)
  • 5 Haitis – Simon Kerr  (Nottingham)
  • Maybe Make Some Change – Aaaron A. Reed  (Santa Cruz, California)
  • Unravelled –   Spenser Wain, Zac Urness, Kollin Branicki  (Alberta, Canada)

Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 2

The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2, launched on the web last week, is an anthology of works by an international group of authors “that pushes through the boundaries of literary forms, creating new kinds of experiences for interacting readers.”  And, I’m delighted to say, it includes two of my works – Fitting the Pattern and Tailspin.

Published by the Electronic Literature Organisation, and edited by Laura Borràs, Talan Memmott, Rita Raley, and Brian Kim Stefans, Volume 2 picks up where the first volume, ELC1, left off.

The new collection includes 63 works drawn from (and extending beyond):

  • Countries: Austria, Australia, Catalonia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Portugal, Peru, Spain, UK, US
  • Languages: Catalan, Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Formats: Flash, Processing, Java, JavaScript, Inform, HTML, C++

Like ELC1, the collection can be browsed by author, title, or keyword.

ELC2 speaks to both the continuity as well as the bright future of electronic literature. The works include many of the emerging categories of e-lit: mash-ups, geolocative, codework, as well as “traditional” and evolving forms such as hypertext, chatbots, and interactive fiction. The authors list presents readers with both veterans and newcomers to the field.

The collection is also available on DVD for free on request from the ELO.

ELC2 is published under a Creative Commons license, which means the collection can be freely shared, non-commercially, between individuals, libraries, and schools, provided that appropriate attribution is maintained and the works are unmodified.

The electronic writer as trans[per]former

What’s the ideal skill set for a transliterate creative practitioner? I’m not sure. All I know is it’s very broad, encompassing a wide range of creative, multimedia, storytelling, problem-solving and technical skills – at least it is for an electronic writer/artist like myself, who tends to work alone. Here I’m thinking mainly about the skills and creative abilities you need to develop and create a work of digital storytelling or electronic literature. But what about once the work of e-lit is finished? How can you help it reach an audience? How do you promote it? That’s when another set of skills comes into play.

screenshot of Underbelly by Christine Wilks

We’re used to seeing print writers give readings on the literary festival circuit. Electronic writers need to do this kind of thing too. Self-publishing and submitting work for online publications and exhibitions is fine, but you can’t just rely on an audience finding your work on the web – like musicians and print writers, it helps to go out on the promotional trail, make a live appearance, give a performance.

Later this month my transliterate abilities as an e-lit performer are going to be tested – at Ilkley Literature Fringe Festival, with a great group of poets and fiction writers, and at Inspace in Edinburgh, with a fabulous line-up of digital writers and artists, as part of the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2010).

In Ilkley, I’m performing with a group of creative print writers who came out of the Yorkshire Art Circus writer development programme some years ago. It’s a kind of reunion and to give ourselves an angle, we’re staging it as The Writers’ Group Exposed!!! We’ll be simulating a typical meeting – well, maybe not so typical because there will be an electronic writer in the group. It’ll be interesting to see how my e-lit (Fitting the Pattern) is received in this context.

For any writer, it’s seldom as simple as giving a reading, as the Ilkley gig demonstrates, but for the electronic writer, inevitably, there’s even more to consider. You’ve got to sort out the tech (computer software/hardware, digital displays/projection, sound, etc.) and more than likely you’ve got to be able to operate your tech and read/perform at the same time. Those are the practicalities, but there are also aesthetic and dramaturgical considerations too. How will your live self, your bodily presence, affect or interact with the virtual presence/s, visually, sonically and kinetically? Should work designed for the web be repurposed for live performance?

Canadian electronic writer Jim Andrews has an interesting take on this. Here’s his plan for a work he intends to perform at e-Poetry 2011:

Basically, the idea of the project is to scream my fool head off while playing Jig-Sound and dbCinema as instruments.

You’ve seen musicians play an instrument while they sing. Well, this is similar. Only I’ll be telling a story between (or perhaps during) screaming bouts. And the instruments I’ll be playing are Jig-Sound, which is sonic, and dbCinema, which is visual.

If live gigs are part of the process of reaching an audience, then should one build that potential into the design of the work from the outset (or at least somewhere along the way during the process of creation)? Should one consider it an opportunity for transmedia storytelling rather than promotion and networking?

In Edinburgh I’m performing Underbelly – playing it like an instrument – in an evening dedicated to Language in Digital Performance and, as such, the occasion will give me scope to explore these potentialities. For the most part, Underbelly presents a diegetic story-world that explores a psychic landscape where the predominance of spoken word exploits the intimate relationship between voice and the body, voice and interiority. I designed the piece as a work of playable media but not particularly for live performance so I’ll be adapting it for the Inspace show, mixing my live voice with the multiple voices on the digital soundtrack.

screenshot of Underbelly by Christine Wilks

The ICIDS Language in Digital Performance event is billed as Inspace no one can hear you scream and, since it’s taking place on Halloween, we’ve been invited ‘to engage the spirit of this festival’… so, who knows, I might end up screaming too.

Article cross-posted from Transliteracy.com

Studies in the Maternal publishes Fitting the Pattern

Detail from Fitting the PatternIt’s fascinating to see one’s work in different contexts and this month my interactive, online memoir, Fitting the Pattern: or being a dressmaker’s daughter, is published in issue two of Studies in the Maternal. It appears alongside a PDF download of my parallel lecture about the piece, Being Creatively Autobiographical in New Media.

Here’s how Lisa Baraitser and Sigal Spigel describe the work in their editorial:

Christine Wilks’ wonderfully quirky interactive digital media work: Fitting the Pattern: or being a dressmaker’s daughter… is a memoir about her mother, a skilled dressmaker, whom Christine grew up with in Leeds. Christine makes use of biographical minutiae at their intersection with cultural representations for exploring the emergence of subjectivities within mother-daughter relations. The work invites the reader/viewer to take part in the exploration and mediated construction of perplexed yet intimate mother-daughter relationship.

About Studies in the Maternal

Studies in the Maternal is an international, peer-reviewed, scholarly online journal. It aims to provide a forum for contemporary critical debates on the maternal understood as lived experience, social location, political and scientific practice, economic and ethical challenge, a theoretical question, and a structural dimension in human relations, politics and ethics.

The e-journal publishes “articles, essays and reviews from academics, writers, artists and clinical and cultural practitioners who engage with the maternal from diverse perspectives,” including multimedia work that “falls outside of the textual tradition.”

Here are the contents of the current issue:

Editorial by Sigal Spigel and Lisa Baraitser
The Abundance of Water by Jenny Mitchell

sizing up

This movie requires Flash Player 8

remixed for R3/\/\1X\/\/0RX from: dr ted orion morrow’s business card + Worx + Fitting the Pattern

flash8 source: sizingUp_fl8.fla (204 KB)