_Leonardo Electronic Almanac Discussion (LEAD)_
Apologies for cross-posting. The following is the unedited transcript from today's chat session with digital poet and multimedia artist Stephanie Strickland, part of the online discussion around the New Media Poetics special issue of the _Leonardo Online Almanac_ (http://leoalmanac.org/). The next chat (using the jabber chat program): Manuela Portela 10/23 1 pm West Coast US / 4 pm East Coast USA / 10 pm Paris FR / 6 am Melbourne AU
cynthia1stephanie : Hello, this is Stephanie & Cynthia here
sbaldwin : Hi there Jason as well!
tpeterson : greetings Stephanie
sbaldwin : i need to log off for about 10 minutes
jnelson : Howdy Steph and Cynthia and Time and Sandy
jnelson : Tim not Time although Time might work well for you Tim
tpeterson : Jason I was saying before that I'm too poor to travel for DAC, but hope that goes well What is your involvement?
tpeterson : Stephanie I'd like to attend the Kelly House thing but not sure if I can get tim(e) off from work
jnelson : wellsadly I was rejected todaymy abstract was not abstacty enoughtoo poetic they say
tpeterson : what? As in too lyrical or what
tpeterson : Stephanie is leaving and disappearing Everything ok?
jnelson : not sure reallybut from the peer review comments it appeared that the languae I used was too abstractand yeah too lyrical
cynthia1stephanie : But Jason, isn't the next one in Australia?
jnelson : Yesit is
cynthia1stephanie : What's their problem?
tpeterson : Stephanie is a flickering signifier of the author
cynthia1stephanie : Tim, I hope you can come to Philadelphia
jnelson : My experiences in Australia so far seem to signal that they play it very safe hereso that means more references and less thought
jnelson : Stephwhen you do readings or artist talkshow do you approach them?
tpeterson : Why is digital poetry so much like engineering? Like, the only people who know about it are those who dod the technical aspects of it
cynthia1stephanie : Preferrably with Cynthia :)
tpeterson : a potentially contentious statement, I realize
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - it's not just engineering, it's making of any kind And that applies to the coder who often tries to get the reader/recipient to do their own reconfiguring
tpeterson : Whereas with New Media art there's a wider discourse Sandy, do you think this is just "assimilation"
sbaldwin : i'm back reading the logs: jason, you should form a counter dac called cad
tpeterson : GrandTextAutoCAD
cynthia1stephanie : Tim's posts are coming in 4 times
sbaldwin : the kelly house thing: is that the elo collection?
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - yes
sbaldwin : assimilation, yes, codification
tpeterson : We've been having that problem too It appears to be a weird subjective thing
cynthia1stephanie : But, there's a whole program involving Bernstein, Silliman, and others
sbaldwin : c1s: some seem to come through several times not sure why may have to do with the browser and/or whether you hit enter or "send message"
sbaldwin : but it may not
sbaldwin : sort of narcisystematic
jnelson : I agree timcertainly there are really stern lines drawn by the various crowdsand the academics herewont explore beyond a very limited set of theoristsso mention lachan and you are fine
sbaldwin : i was thinking this morning that we should have done this all in second life or something like that
tpeterson : but isn't the "codification" thing a question of reading? If reading is more important or just as important than writing
tpeterson : then it would seem to be important to develop a discourse for reading new media poetry works
sbaldwin : - tim, i've been arguing that for year
tpeterson : but don't listen to me -- I'm what Bloom calls a "weak poet"
sbaldwin : that is, arguing that we should do so
jnelson : Hey Dan
dwaber : greetings and/or salutations to jason and all
sbaldwin : though it seems to me this argument has been going around for quite a while: the need to create readings of new media works in their specificity
sbaldwin : hi dan
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - hard to read through all the multiple posts, but I think that neither coding/writing nor reading is privileged; the important thing is what Bootz calls "the semiotic gap" and what I call the veto power of several peers Each entity knows things the other doesn't That's what makes the situation so interesting
tpeterson : Jason Nelson's work as anamorphosis
sbaldwin : - i'm going to ponder the multiplicity for a moment and see if there's an answer
tpeterson : I agree, Stephanie That's one of the most interesting things about your article to me, that it points at the social space outside the work itself
tpeterson : or maybe shows how the social space might be part of the work
cynthia1stephanie : Mez and Bootz do this too but from completely different perspectives
tpeterson : a belated hi to Dan
jnelson : so stephone of the many things i admire about youis yoour ability to both write about what you doand your poetics, both digital and otherwiseand be obviously a gawd like creative writer
sbaldwin : - tried changing the refresh rate on the chat, see if this makes any diff?
tpeterson : how do you change refresh rate
cynthia1stephanie : Jason just came through twice
cynthia1stephanie : it seems to be worse (that was with Enter, this one with Send message)
sbaldwin : ok, changing it back
tpeterson : test
cynthia1stephanie : If we use "send message" it consistently sends in only once
tpeterson : What is the connection between Language Poetry and Poietic Writing for you Stephanie
cynthia1stephanie : Hi Dan
sbaldwin : yes, that is better it may still be something with the refresh(ments) But yes, try send message button if possible
jnelson : stephdo you find that you have to switch brainsto switch mind sets to go from one style of writing to anotherand is this ever problematic for you?
tpeterson : hors d'oeuvres
cynthia1stephanie : I like Mez's concept of "liecra"/lycra - a kind of stretchiness or chrysalis breaking I like to get to a place where it all works together
sbaldwin : <lowered the refresh rate to see if that helps> In about three minutes I'll get formal and announce that we're "starting"
jnelson : were you always able to do that? I'm terribly curiousbecause I cannot do thatcannot write about my workand yet you do seem to mesh your theory and poetrywhat is the secret?
mdeed : Hello from Martha Deed and Millie Niss
cynthia1stephanie : I immerse myself in different stuff so in some cases what happens is writing In other cases I'm wrestling with a bunch of experiences/writings and it's like a jungle gym, a kid's climbing toy, combined with a maze There's a way, there's a path that will finally make sense So the critical stuff is more wrestling
cynthia1stephanie : Hi Martha & Millie
sbaldwin : Hi all, because it's 1pm now I thought we'd "officially" start
sbaldwin : There's been some great discussion already - all available via transcript/logs
mrowley : Hello from mari-lou
sbaldwin : This is one of several chats scheduled with authors in the LEA special issue on New Media Poetics Today we're happy to welcome Stephanie Strickland, a print and digital hypermedia poet, most recently author of (I believe) of V, as well as an author of many significant critical/theoretical essays
cynthia1stephanie : Hi Mari-lou!
sbaldwin : There is some echo in here - hopefully it won't be an issue My name is Sandy Baldwin, and I'm organizing this chat but - as in the nature of chat - all are welcome to join inall are welcome to join in
sbaldwin : I welcome everyone else to introduce themselves as well?
sbaldwin : Does everyone know each other?
cynthia1stephanie : We're here as two - Stephanie & Cynthia because Stephanie can't use her hands very much
jnelson : I love that ideaof the mazea wrestling mazeit is a murky and tangled wonderment you spin towards and away from usmy dearest steph
tpeterson : I think we do all know each other?
dwaber : cogito ergo sumo
tpeterson : Stephanie what happened w/your hands I heard you have an injury that won't allow you much computer use
sbaldwin : OK, good <It seems the echo of messages is less if you hit send message not enter>
sbaldwin : - thanks Jason for returning to stephanie's comments on the relation between her creative and critical work
tpeterson : yet your writing is eloquent and smooth Do you dictate and then have someone type it out later
smiller : Hi, I'm Sean, a PhD student at Royal Holloway
cynthia1stephanie : I used a beta version of StorySpace for 12 hours a day for 5 weeks This version had the effect that every 11th save it would delete all your links I thought it was all my fault Very serious hand problems exacerbated since
sbaldwin : so, you live with storyspace all the time now
cynthia1stephanie : No, I monitor a certain amount of hand use and have to be very careful, especially lists and email So, chats is one thing I don't do
cynthia1stephanie : Well, the after effects
tpeterson : Hi Sean
mrowley : stephanie, your notion of switching gears between critical, creative work as latex-like, cyrsalis breaking is great
jnelson : Stephon the topic of your handsI know that has kept you from creating as much digital workbut I would love to knowwhat ideas are swirling in your headbriefly
sbaldwin : if i understood correctly you described your work as a complex of ideas an experience the critical writing as a kind of wrestling with this? is the creative work a different metaphor - not wrestling?
cynthia1stephanie : Mari-lou- it was never gears, I don't understand gears It was more fluid always
tpeterson : Yet I think S is here primarily as a critic, no? This distinction was a little confused in our conversation w/ Loss
tpeterson : Sandy I don't want to be bossy but I have a bunch of questions Should I try asking em now or later
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - the creative work - a lot of it is thinking and some is writing that I don't know what I'm doing This summer every day I wrote and never looked back at yesterday's stuff So by the Fall it was really a surprise to me to look at it I would never have done that when I first began writing
sbaldwin : tim, you mean as her role in the special issue, as a critic there this is probably a vital but difficult distinction for many in this chat?
tpeterson : yep
sbaldwin : i mean, for those who are creators but also critics (of their own works and others)
cynthia1stephanie : Jason - Cynthia and I are working on a piece which has a lot of video in it and sort of pushes the edge of what is easily done with Flash
tpeterson : Well she does include discussions of her own work in her article, so I suppose it's not much of a distinction in this case
sbaldwin : ooh, i'm curious about that edge?
jnelson : yeah me too
mdeed : Stephanie--Can you say something about how a poet's technical knowledge of coding (whether rudimentary or advanced) influences both choice of subjects and the work itself? Seems to me that a digital poet is writing in at least two languages simultaneously -- and is perhaps limited by one's ability in the less known language
mdeed : I hit send message and got the echo
tpeterson : yes does code feel "other" to you S
sbaldwin : <got echo here too don't know the answer>
cynthia1stephanie : My understanding of the entire "semiotic situation" is in play I go to others for specific technical understanding which is critical to what I want to happen in the piece, which I often have a strong vision of, but have to do some work to materialize
sbaldwin : woah, 3x
cynthia1stephanie : No code does not feel "other" Not at all
sbaldwin : i'm thinking now about what you've said above about the semiotic situation and about communities of writers, and i think this bridges the critica artist gap
tpeterson : Though it sounds like it is literally being done by others, in this case
tpeterson : how so Sandy
sbaldwin : “the veto power of several peers” you said above, which goes to the first entangled state you describe in your essay
mdeed : which means that at least we must be able to imagine what the technical possibilities are
jnelson : this use of the word "code" is always so brittle and wateryslipperywhat does "code" mean to you steph?
cynthia1stephanie : Executable code
tpeterson : good point
tpeterson : well, it seems that it might also be a metaphor
tpeterson : at least in relation to some of the terms you employ, such as "recombinant flux," "looping," and "ruin/erosion" Might these not also be characteristics of paper-based poetry?
cynthia1stephanie : We're going to swithc browsers
sbaldwin : ok
jnelson : whoa
mdeed : But can't code also be in the content, as in code poetry? Or even a work that explicitly shows its code as part of its text?
tpeterson : Is paper-based code poetry somehow remediated
sbaldwin : - Millie, so on the one hand, code as executable code tends towards support structure, and so on, towards hiding of code
jnelson : I just think that the technical is emphasized far too often, idealy it would become invisible, as in Stephs vniverse
tpeterson : The structure and the support! There it is again!
cynthia1stephanie : Yes, but I think that work references the communication situation more than it actually engages it
tpeterson : What happens if we think about "action writing" for new media? What is the act, coding
sbaldwin : by "references," stephanie, you mean in a semiotic (coded) way
tpeterson : Because writing is an act, the notion of striking as in typography
cynthia1stephanie : Code can be part of the surface, but there it is part of what Bootz calls "the texte a voir" and not the author text
sbaldwin : ok, so i'm going to return to my question about communities of authors: “the veto power of several peers” can you elaborate on this?
sbaldwin : yow! i gotta stop hitting enter
sbaldwin : <when I hit refresh in mozilla, all the multiple posts where gone, fyi>
tpeterson : S I have a question about your 11 dimensions Do you think of these are demographic/descriptive, or somehow forming a definition (having these characteristics makes something an e-poem) Do you feel it's useful to try to define what an e-poem might be
tpeterson : as dinstinguished from what's not e-poetry
cynthia1stephanie : Yes The coder, the coder's machine, the compiler, the network, the browser, the user's machine all read the code differently Each has access to something the others don't and often what the others cannot predict or envision That is the very complicated situation in which we act, communicate
sbaldwin : how does this situation lead to (imply?) "veto power"?
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - it's an exploration not a definition I think those dimensions play out differently for print and e-work, so are worth discussing
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - if any of them aren't working the whole communication situation fails
dhowe : assuming the work relies on all
cynthia1stephanie : Hi Daniel
tpeterson : veto power? Can you say more
dhowe : hi there
cynthia1stephanie : Daniel - but it does unless it's a standalone and then not on the network
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - veto meaning without it the thing won't go
dhowe : yes, in networked pieces, but there is a temporal dimension as well; that is the compiler only needs to run once, and then network only long enough to dl the piece, where (in many cases) it runs only locally
smiller : Stephanie, are you adapting the concept of '11 dimensions' from string theory? How do you define a dimension?
jnelson : Stepha big questionhow would you describe the current state of E-Poetry?
sbaldwin : tying these threads: might definitions at least at the level of "how to identify/make epoetry" look towards tools that enable (provoke?) entangled peers and group communication
cynthia1stephanie : It also implies that the reader and coder are internal to the work in the way they are not with a book and classical reading As Bootz points out in his essay "Reader/Readers" the strength of the book as ontological object derives from that
cynthia1stephanie : Daniel - unless there's constant updating from the network And the network has to sustain the reader's connection
cynthia1stephanie : Jason - the state of e-poetry: infancy
tpeterson : Yet we seem to be living most of our lives in a situation where we "communicate" via a remediated digital text
sbaldwin : -- nice about internal to thework, and the work to them (absent body in the work)
tpeterson : And those interruptions and disjunctions are seen as exceptions to the rule
dwaber : judging by all the crying noises i make while coding, i'd agree with "infancy"
dhowe : and yet we design for these failures, no? which become integral to the work
cynthia1stephanie : Smiller - not from string theory Trying to avoid a canonical/definite number The one point about string theory that would apply is the duality of 10 & 11 dimensions there, that things can work the same whether you divide them into 10 or 11
mrowley : stephanie can you talk a bit about epoetry being inflected by the dual pattering of language the infinite comtinations of phonemes and letters
tpeterson : Stephanie do you feel there are political or polemical possibilities for e-poetry, or too early to tell yet
dhowe : that is, if we are communicating over the network, in an art piece, we are likely (at least i am) to include some caching mechanism or static data to 'fill-in' when the network fails, (even momentarily)
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - I wouldn't tie the definition to tools I accept anything that calls itself epoetry as epoetry at this point As Jason has said many things on Rhizome that don't call themselves that qualify in his view If what you're interested in is reconfiguring the cultural foundations of communication, or as Mez's in changing social conditioning or reconfiguring discourse, you stay curious and learn from everything
sbaldwin : danial: i agree this is a kind of well or memory that's a kind of correlate of the social space?
dhowe : so we are coding around the potential veto continuously; recognizing it and working with it as a new affordance (a place for interesting accidents, as you point out in your cave-wall analogy), but also 'defending' against it
cynthia1stephanie : Daniel - we should embrace the failures, they are not failures, they are inherent to the process, the Darwinian process
tpeterson : But on the other hand I attended an exhibit of "new media" works that was video screens on the wall (you couldn't interact with them) Is that e-poetry?
sbaldwin : - well, not tie the definition to tools, but what i find valuable in something like bootz's model, for example, is that we could map the schema onto a given tool or s/w, eg locate the gap and so on
mdeed : very comforting thought, Stephanie
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - yes Interaction does not need to occur except with the eyes On the other hand, a lot of work would move toward what I call aerobatic interactions in 3D space and some analog of that in higher dimensional space
tpeterson : S, I like what you say about anything that calls itself epoetry, etc, I'm just trying to figure out what about things that don't call themselves epoetry
tpeterson : Can epoetry claim those for its team so to speak
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - I think Bootz's model is more about a complete semiotic situation What I wonder about with him is where he is going with the a-medial figures he finds in music Are we back to the Rig Veda?
tpeterson : Because of the artist-poet dynamic and the way this usually plays out
sbaldwin : oh, i agree that bootz's model is about a complete semiotic situation wouldn't disagree there -
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - I do Lisa Jevbratt doesn't call her piece epoetry, nor do the single cell/double cell people, but I see what they do as relevant to epoetry
jnelson : so really, Stephmuch of what you are talking about, we just dont have the technical tools to play outto truly explore aerobatic interactions in 3D space
tpeterson : What do you think of Bootz's meta-reader Is such a thing possible, or only hypothetical
cynthia1stephanie : Right, but the mathematicians do I like what McPhee and Warwick do when they engage with large scale datasets and so on
sbaldwin : this makes me think of jim rosenberg's work: similar questions of interaction space
sbaldwin : can you parse "aerobatic interactions"?
jnelson : so in many waysyou have to think both as theorist and poetbecause some of what you would create poeticallyis only possible in a theoretical realm
tpeterson : ooooh
sbaldwin : a la pataphysics
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - I see what he means by meta-reader It is the person who understands the code and watches the clueless recipient respond I like the way he contrasts the public and private reading situations The public/installation setting allows the reading task to be distributed so sequentially you can be the interactor and observer whereas the private/classical situation is stressful as you flip between those
tpeterson : very interesting, multiple readings situations
cynthia1stephanie : Aerobatics are maneuvres by guys in small planes really having to deal with 3D space Mostly so far based on world war I dog fights, but a great little plane called The Hummingbird has been designed by a guy in New Zealand to move flying away from fighting
sbaldwin : and multiple engagements/affects in the settings
tpeterson : So from now on I will have to say, not only "how do you read that poem" but also "from what position"
dhowe : and yet we can imagine being the interactor & observer simultaneously
cynthia1stephanie : Absolutely But that was also true with holographic poems and information landscapes
tpeterson : Like what you said earlier Stephanie about looking at something you wrote later an being surprised by it
cynthia1stephanie : Daniel - can we? The whole question of simultaneously is up for grabs neurologically and relativistically :)
dhowe : and also interacting and observing (simultaneously) from multiple perspectives or positions
sbaldwin : well, sure about the planes but the analogy for epoetry?
tpeterson : This is kind of a NY School thing: "I wrote this"? The possibility of being estranged from or surprised by your own writing
sbaldwin : d: do we imagine simultaneously or a kind of fast flipping between?
dhowe : and computationally as well though i'd argue one can never be solely 'observer', at least in 'physic'-al sense
jnelson : Stephmuch of your writing is just damn prettyisnt that enough sometimes?
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - Cayley imagines moving or being moved about in the Cave Times Square, if you subtract the buildings, is a kind of Cave-like textual environment Suppose you were only to navigate it as a reader Wouldn't you like a plane?
cynthia1stephanie : Jason - that pretty stuff doesn't work when you're 64
tpeterson : my goodness, I never would have guessed
mrowley : wonderful times square analogy
sbaldwin : hee hee, i'd prefer something to collapse it or blot it out - not times square per se but the textual space
tpeterson : r we experiencing intimate connection between peers
cynthia1stephanie : Always an option in NYC, Sandy
dhowe : some blotting of times square probably warranted as well ;)
tpeterson : ugh midtown
sbaldwin : Great discussion so far I wonder about other questions for Stephanie, or one's we need to come back to?
jnelson : what I mean issometimes I find the description of some e-poetry works more interesting than the work itselfand that your work is not only interesting, but also beautifulagain the mesh of theory and poetry
cynthia1stephanie : Good, as active and interactive readers you can go in and do it That's the point, to incite or lure readers to become active reconfigurers
mrowley : maybe from left field but Getting back to language and coding intesting that teh problem with designing voice recognition software is in codingthe infinite possibilities of phonemes and the slippage from one sound to the other
sbaldwin : <a question back to epoetry and its infancy = inability to speak>
mdeed : I wonder about the issue of audience -- how much help we should give newcomers -- so the audience grows --
cynthia1stephanie : Yes Bringing us back to Rig Veda and tuning systems All those notes in between the so called notes, analog, slipping, in between digital
tpeterson : I wrote a piece that used parts of the "we hold these truths to be self-evident" text onc using voice-text recognition software The performance of the piece depended on a loop which would gradually decay and says things like "life BEYOND the pursuit of happiness"
dwaber : stephanie, I had an interesting conversation with an analog artist friend of mine recently that all keyed off of his (borderline hostile) question of: where does your art go when the power goes off? I'm curious if you've had conversations about digital art with those who are opposed it it (for whatever reason), and how you replied
cynthia1stephanie : Martha - I believe in helping in every way, though I don't think every writer/coder has to have a help file My essay tried to be jargon-free enough to be understandable to a classically literary person
dhowe : also relating to the experience of simultaneity / parallelism in linear/procedural systems (ie, computers)
mdeed : sensitive issue right now, Dan
tpeterson : why a sensitive issue mdeed
sbaldwin : <lights out in buffalo, i think>
cynthia1stephanie : I teach in MFA writing programs, for the most part They are default hostile to digital work I teach a course called "From Simonides to the Web: 2500 Years of Experimental Poetry"
mdeed : I agree -- there is a strand within e-poetry that is fairly elitist--if you can't understand my work, Go Away
sbaldwin : simonides = inventor of poetry and the ars memoria
cynthia1stephanie : Daniel - there is no true parallelism without more than one processor
tpeterson : creative writing programs are filled with luddite engineering majors, except they can't building anything useful
jnelson : stephaniesorry to be mundanebut how did you get started in the digital realm?
tpeterson : just a surface
dhowe : exactly though how much does this matter if we experience it as such
cynthia1stephanie : Tim - my best class ever was undergraduates at Georgia Tech who came from Engineering, Computer Science, and Literature equally It was fabulous We all just got creative
tpeterson : that sounds wonderful
tpeterson : Are your students ever resistant to the material
sbaldwin : - yes, tech students are great
dhowe : to what degree did that class (or projects within) work collaboratively??
sbaldwin : I know that Stephanie wanted to keep this to about 45 minutes We're over that time Do you want us to wrap up Stephanie?
dhowe : were the tech students doing the tech and the writers the writing, etc? or did the roles blur
cynthia1stephanie : Jason - back in 1995 I wanted to use Mathematica more than anything My kids in college had had email and I had an IBM typewriter I belong to the Society for Literature & Science and there heard about an NEH class in Electronic Writing run by Kate Hayles which I applied to as an independent scholar = unemployed
cynthia1stephanie : In that class, people did collaborative and individual projects We also sponsored a Techno Poetry Festival for which the students were docents They made a lot of artist book-type projects too
cynthia1stephanie : Sandy - I do think we should wrap up
sbaldwin : OK Thank you everyone Thank you especially Stephanie Strickland and Cynthia
sbaldwin : I will be posting a transcript of this (The logs do not record any of the multiple message postings - I found these went away for me if I refreshed my browser)
jnelson : Thanks for the historyreally fascinating
cynthia1stephanie : Goodbye Thanks to everybody for the questions Stephanie and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo :)
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