Please copy, forward, trackback so we can get the word out:
Nominations are solicited for the 2005 Fredson Bowers Memorial Prize, to be awarded by the Society for Textual Scholarship for the best essay in textual studies first published in 2003 or 2004. Essays published in periodicals, critical books, or collections by diverse hands are eligible. If part of a longer work, the significance of the essay must be independent of that context.
The Prize, which includes an honorarium, will be presented at the Society’s biennial conference, to be held in New York City in March 2005.
Please send nominations by December 15 to Nicholas Frankel at Dept. Of English, Virginia Commonwealth University, PO Box 842005, Richmond, VA 23220.
Thanks to all who made Reading at Risk? such a tremendous success this past Thursday—especially my brilliant and good-humored panelists, and people behind-the-scenes at MITH. You know who you are. We had hundreds of attendees—standing room only, more than could get into the room. It felt like a genuinely important moment. I’m too exhausted (and too backed up with other work) to post a long, detailed summary, but we should have the video up on the Web in a couple of weeks—I’ll announce it here when we do.
If anyone who was there wants to post their comments and impressions please feel free—I’d love to hear the view from the audience. Most of all I’d appreciate ideas about how to continue the conversation.
John Tolva, who was writing original and important essays about hypertext and electronic literature when I was just breaking into the field, now has a blog. (I remember bumming around DC with John at ACM Hypertext ‘96 way back when.) John’s also a product of the pathbreaking IDT program at Georgia Tech. His life looks pretty interesting these days, and I bet the blog’ll be a good one.
Since university mail servers continue to perform inconsistently, I am now asking that all my correspondents CC messages to my gmail account, which is “m k i r s c h e n b a u m” AT g m a i l DOT c o m. A reminder to do this will appear in my sig, and that address will also henceforth appear in my Reply-to field. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, and for the double bandwidth.
Yesterday we went to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore with our friends Bill and Claire, an amazing place well worth the visit. (What is “visionary art,” you ask? Well you can read all about it on their Web site. Suffice to say that the museum was stuffed to the gills with retro pop nostalgia new age folk revival scrap iron pseudo-religious art and iconography.) I was particularly struck by the work of one Tom Duncan, who builds enormous interactive dioramas out of old toys, junk media, and other, less identifiable, materials. One site I found describes his work as “narrative polychrome sculpture”—”At first glance, Tom Duncan’s sculpture—with its specific autobiographical detail—feels overwhelmingly personal. In time, greater themes—the indelible imprint of war, religion and Pop culture on childhood memory—surface in Duncan’s intense, complex work.”
We saw the Coney Island piece visible unfinished on the site (“a model train lover’s wet dream”) completed and installed at the museum. The real masterpiece, however, was called “Slave Ship,” a rustbucket ship of state plowing through dark, unknown waters with a its cargo of African abductees surrounded by a crushing riot of pop culture iconography, all remediated and recontextualized in the close, claustrophobic space of this dark and terrible Wunderkammer of the “American dream.”
Words, or at least my words, fail. And I can’t find a picture out their on the Web. Here’s what the Baltimore CITY Paper has to say: “Cast upon a sea of faux leopard fur, and bearing hundreds of figurines that represent the loss of African cultural identity, discrimination, and other long-term aftereffects of the transatlantic slave trade, Duncan’s ship hides a hypnotically undulating coffin, attached to the bottom of the hold with rusty chains and visible via a mirror.”
Trust me, it’s worth the trip.
The Associated Press reports on “self-destructing” or, more prosaically, disposable, DVDs:
Each disc contains a chemical time-bomb that begins ticking once it’s exposed to air. Typically, after 48 hours, the disc turns darker, becoming so opaque that a DVD player’s laser can no longer can read it. (Discs can live as little as one hour or as long as 60 hours.)
Sound familiar? William Gibson, collaborating with Dennis Ashbaugh and Kevin Begos, tried this trick with the art book/electronic poem AGRIPPA over a decade ago.
Please consider attending. The text of the announcement is below the fold.
READING AT RISK? A PANEL DISCUSSION
Released in July of this year, the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Reading at Risk” report garnered widespread attention for its dramatic and troubling findings, chief among which were that there has been a documented 10% national decline in “literary reading” since 1982, with the drop-off even more precipitous among younger age groups. (The report is available in its entirety online at: http://www.nea.gov/pub/ReadingAtRisk.pdf). These findings are surely of concern to anyone who cares about the future of reading and a literate populace. But what is reading in the current day and age? What can we learn from the history of media change, where previous moments of technological transition have been accompanied by similar expressions of anxiety and concern? Or are we truly facing an uprecedented shift in what and how and why we read? What are the implications for education? The arts? Public policy and civics? Join us on Thursday, November 18th, 2:00-3:45, in the McKeldin Special Events Room for a discussion of this issue, featuring a number of distinguished speakers from the College Park campus and beyond:
MARK BAUERLEIN, Director of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also Professor of English at Emory University. He has written many books and articles on American literature, history, and philosophy, and his commentaries and reviews have appeared in Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, TLS, Yale Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other national periodicals.
MICHAEL COLLIER, Professor of English and Co-Director of Creative Writing at UMCP, and former Poet Laureate of the State of Maryland. Professor Collier is the author of several books and collections, and over 100 published poems.
LISA GITELMAN, Associate Professor of English and Director of Media Studies at Catholic University. Professor Gitelman is the author of Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines (Stanford UP, 1999) and co-editor of New Media 1740-1915 (MIT Press, 2003).
SHIRLEY LOGAN, Associate Professor of English at UMCP and former Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (the 4Cs). She is the author of We Are Coming The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women (Southern Illinois, 1999) and co-editor of many other books.
CLIFFORD LYNCH, Director of the Coalition for Networked Information. He is a past president of the American Society for Information Science and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Information Standards Organization.
NICK MONTFORT, co-editor of the New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003) and author of Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interfactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2004). Currently a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, Montfort is also a highly-regarded writer of interactive fiction.
The panel will be moderated by MATTHEW KIRSCHENBAUM, Assistant Professor of English at UMCP. It is intended to be of broad topical interest to a diverse and interdisciplinary audience. Free and open to the public; entire classes welcome.
Sponsored by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and the Department of English. Please contact Matt Kirschenbaum (mgk “at” umd “dot” edu) with questions.
Alan Liu, whose Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (Chicago, 2004) has finally landed on my desk, offers a Proposal for Revisions to MLA Style for Citing Web Resources:
While writing my book . . . I became aware of limitations in the current stylesheets or guidelines for citing Web resources. The best-known style guides are not intended for scholars who address “new media”—especially online new media—as their primary object of study (or one of their objects of study) rather than merely as a secondary resource. . . . For example, the study of a digital work might require citing different versions of a work, different dates of access, or the different levels of a site (main pages versus subpages or alternate sites).
Speaking of the book arts, the 8th biennial Book Arts Fair and Conference, sponsored by Pyramid Atlantic. In downtown Silver Spring, November 19-21. A great line-up of speakers, including Johanna Drucker, and over 40 vendors/sellers. If you’re interested in the present (and the future) face of the book, come on out.
Valerie Kirschenbaum (no relation), author of Goodbye Gutenberg, is a writer and graphic artist interested in the history of print, media, and visual design. Here’s a taste:
Many have written of the “end of writing” and the “death of the book,” but they wrote almost exclusively of the end of black and white writing and of the death of Gutenberg style books. The doom sayers seem not to have considered the possibility that the written word could become the visual word, the colored word, the designer word. Soon we will see essays like, “The Birth of the Designer Writer” and “The Beginning of the Book.”
The book’s Web site has numerous preview images. All of them look amazing. There’s even a chapter on Blake . . . Valerie turned me up on Google, and has generously offered to send me a copy of her book. I’m certainly looking forward to it.
Well, now I know what I want for the holidays. Anyone remember Star Blazers? You know, that dubbed anime series you watched after school with the souped-up hull of the Japanese battleship Yamato cruising through deep space?
E. M. Forster meets codework . . . and my student, Matt Bowen.
We voted at the First Baptist Church in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland a little earlier this afternoon. About a 40 minute wait. Were told that lines were much longer earlier, with waits of two hours or more. There were five touchscreen electronic voting machines in operation. It’s a gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree day.
My only critique of the technology was that when you touched the screen to vote, your mark on the ballot was represented with a big red “X” next to the candidate or question—which is counterintuitive from an HCI standpoint, where that kind of iconography is usually reserved for an error. Why not a green check instead of a red “X”?
For all you fly kids in the 202 (and environs) . . .
Election Night Remix
Featuring Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid
Media Deconstruction Kit (MDK) / Randall Packer
Video Syndicate + Noskilz / Robin Bell
Tuesday, November 2nd, 8:30 pm
1811 14th St. NW
The presidential election coverage on the cable news media will be the subject matter for the evening’s remix at the Black Cat in Washington, DC. The Election Night Remix will take place on the most important day of our nation’s political process, the election of the US President. The Media Deconstruction Kit real-time system will be installed as a live feed to be incorporated into performances by Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, along with DC video artist Robin Bell’s Noskilz / Video Syndicate
As a commentary on the powerful and hypnotic narcosis of television and its propaganda, the Media Deconstruction Kit (MDK) has been designed as a real-time system that alters broadcast media live and in real-time, transforming news stories, advertising, political pundits, live up-dates, scrolls, and network logos into an immersive, sensorial, multimedia experience.
According to Robin Bell, “This is not your typical Washington event. There won’t be any political speeches or any elected officials. This isn’t a get out the vote event. It isn’t for one political candidate. We expect people to dance, to get involved, to communicate. We have been moving and motivating over the last few months. We are making change and change doesn’t happen in front of your living room TV.”
The Media Deconstruction Kit is a project of the US Department of Art & Technology and the Experimental Party, engineered by Randall Packer and Wesley Smith. http://www.experimentalparty.org