Tag Archives: Underbelly

Underbelly in The Future of Reading?

The Future of Reading? An Exhibition of Digital Literature

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.

A screenshot from Underbelly

I’m thrilled that my work, Underbelly, features in the exhibition in Gallery 3: Engaging the Senses. There are many wonderful digital and pre-digital works in the whole exhibition tracing the historical development of digital literature. Check out the online version of the exhibition, which will remain on the Reading Digital Fiction website indefinitely:

Read Digital FictionThe exhibition, curated by Dr. Alice Bell and Prof. Astrid Ensslin, is part of the Reading Digital Fiction project at Sheffield Hallam University and Bangor University, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and sponsored by the Electronic Literature Organisation (ELO).

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.

Underbelly in Studies in the Maternal

Award-winning Underbelly featured in Studies in the Maternal, Volume 3, Issue 2Special Issue: Motherhood, Servitude and the Delegation of Care

In this special issue of Studies in the Maternal, Kate Pullinger reviews Underbelly, which won the MaMSIE Digital Media Competition last year:

‘Underbelly’ is a highly original work that makes great use of the multimedia potential provided by computers. It blends text, sound effects, voiceover, archive drawings, and photographs to create a rich meditation on reproductive rights and dilemmas in both twenty-first century, and nineteenth century England.

I first met Christine Wilks when she was a student on a MA in Creative Writing and New Media that I helped run. She began working on ‘Underbelly’ for her MA thesis, and I’ve been fascinated to watch the work develop since that time. It was clear then that Christine was creating something extraordinary, an important work in the newly emerging field of digital fiction, one that shines a light on a little known part of the history of the mining industry, while illuminating a contemporary story of a woman artist at the same time.

Studies in the Maternal is an international, peer-reviewed, scholarly online journal. In addtition to the papers and reviews (listed below), this special issue also includes visual media art, on the theme of Maternal Subjectivities, Care and Labour, and Kate Pullinger writing about her novel, The Mistress of Nothing.


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)

Underbelly wins Digital Media Competition

Motherhood, Servitude and the Delegation of Care

MaMSIE* Study Day

Birkbeck, University of London, 20 May 2011


My playable media fiction, Underbelly, will be exhibited throughout the Study Day, which concludes with the presentation of the winners of the Digital Media Competition 2011: Maternal Subjectivities, Care and Labour – and I’m delighted to announce that Underbelly is the overall winner!

The other winners are:

  • Marie-Josiane Agossou and Esther Jones for ‘The Order of Things‘, an 8 minute video
  • Hester Jones, ‘Call Yourself a Mother’:  2 photos
  • Hollie McNish – ‘Push Kick‘ audio poetry collection
  • Marina Velez – two photographs, ‘My Family 1’ and ‘Strowis Motherhood’.
About the Study Day

MaMSIE is an international network of scholars, artists and activists working in the emerging interdisciplinary field of maternal studies. Our 6th event focuses on the interrelations between labour, capital, care and the maternal. In particular, it will consider the diverse ways ‘maternal care’ has been, and continues to be delegated and shared, and the implications for our understandings of maternal subjectivities and the labour of care.

The study day will open up ‘maternity’ as a term that includes the paid and unpaid work of a diverse range of social actors. It aims at generating a dialogue between two rich and substantial bodies of feminist scholarship; work on the social histories of domestic labour, service and servitude and current debates about globalism, migration and the care industries, recasting existing scholarship through the lens of maternal studies.

The Keynote speaker is Stella Sandford. Other speakers include: Rosie Cox, Lucy Delap, Alison Light, Mirca Madianou,Daniel Miller, Jenny Mitchell, Kate Pullinger, Rachel Thomson, Imogen Tyler, and Helen Wood.

Many thanks to the MaMSIE network and the organisers of both the Study Day and the Digital Media Competition. For more information see MaMSIE events.

*Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics

Underbelly at The Shoebox Experiment

The Shoebox Experiment lightbulb

Wednesday 4 May, 7.30pm

The Riverside, 1 Mowbray Street, Neepsend, Sheffield, S3

Signposts, South Yorkshire, presents the second in a series of performance experiments – three pieces in three different mediums.

The Shoebox Experiment (3 x 3)

Quint and Jow
Quint and Jow

Quint and Jow share a common goal: to prove that there’s more to the average pub quiz than meets the eye. Forming a team called The Venns, they spend improbable amounts of time in the pub… testing their theories, of course.  Through charts, graphs, and (their favourite) Venn diagrams, Quint and Jow will bring you exciting and unexpected findings from their not-entirely-serious research project. The Venns: A Quest for the Perfect Pub Quiz is created and performed by Chella Quint and Richard Jow

Screenshot of Underbelly

Underbelly is an award-winning work of digital fiction about a woman sculptor, carving on the site of a former colliery in Yorkshire. As she carves, she is disturbed by a medley of voices, from when women used to work underground mining coal. Created for the web, Underbelly is a playable story with multiple endings determined by choice and chance. Lurking within the dark regions of its map-like narrative terrain, are hidden voices, animated elements and grotesque imagery, which Christine Wilks will unearth in her live performance of the work.

Tim Ralphs performs The Nose
The Nose!

Gogol’s “The Nose” represents one of the pioneering triumphs of the early absurdist movement; transcending satire, narrative and common sense. Locally  based storyteller Tim Ralphs transports the Shoebox to St Petersburg’s prospects in this hilarious and enticing re-imagining of the tale as a live performance. A drunkard barber, a womanising Major, a buzz of rumours and the inconceivable disappearance of The Nose!  Originally conceived as a series of podcasts, ‘The Nose’ is recomposed for the Shoebox Experiment.

Audience Feedback from the First Shoebox Experiment:

“Was brilliant. So different to anything I’ve seen before!


“I enjoyed the atmosphere, mellow attentiveness, intimacy, surprise, voices, passion, stories, HEART, writing!”

Tickets: £4 (£3 concessions) are available at the Shoebox on the night and can be reserved in advance by email. Plus a fully stocked bar to whet your whistle and the company of a warm, welcoming audience ready for something new! Contact naomi.wilds@ntlworld.com or 0775 352 8919 to reserve your space. Map and directions.

See you there!