Angela Ferraiolo is a writer experimenting with text, video, and animation for the web, installation, and mobile applications. "Map of a Future War" is her first publication. Her plays have been produced at La Mama Galleria and Expanded Arts in New York and at the Brick Playhouse in Philadelphia. She is also the author of the RPG Aidyn Chronicles and the MMORPG Earth and Beyond. She teaches game programming and theories of game design in the Film Department at Hunter College in New York where she is finishing an MFA in Media Arts.
Statement on New Media Writing:
I've never been a good consumer of the book as a marketing product. I like those writers who, completely dedicated to language, will go way, way out there, taking every kind of chance. I'm drawn to new media writing because it allows me to take a story to that place of total experimentation. The form itself is so new, there are no preconceptions for the text and, as a storyteller, I'm allowed an incredible amount of freedom. It's also exciting to be writing at time when we are finally able to step back from the materiality of paper, the constraints paper has placed on language and, therefore, the limits paper has placed on thought and expression. The sentence and the paragraph, for instance, these are sort of 'paper' ideas. Hopefully, other writers see this as well and will join the new media exploration. I'm not sure where the field is going but, for myself, I'm working in two directions. First, a re-imagining of existing literary forms that can be exploited for their liveness and that perhaps were never fully realized while they were consigned to print. Second, a move towards some kind of code process that can be 'literary', that is, a way of writing code that helps tell a story, rather than an adaptation of paradigms that were written to parse phone books, cross terrains, or run banking applications. I'm pretty sure it will take a whole community of writers working in many directions to achieve this. Publications like New River Journal are essential because they inform that community. Like any group of experimenters, we all need to read each other's research.
Additional Comments on how playwriting influences her work in Digital Literature:
As for writing plays ...
First, new media writing makes a contract with the reader surrounding a quality we can think of as 'liveness'. One way to achieve this is to remove exposition from the story. Playwrights understand this well, since every line of a play should be active, that is, in a play each
line of dialogue is an action of one character towards another represented through language. Anything else will fall flat on stage. It will not 'play'. From the very beginning of their training,
playwrights are taught to remove exposition and to learn ways of telling stories without it. Those skills are really valuable in new media.
Second, playwrights have many more modes of representation for storytelling. These include casting, costumes, lighting design, and other production elements. Some of the best writing in a play may not be achieved through words, but in the playwright's ability to construct a moment where an actor can give a look, or make a gesture that communicates with a lot of integrity. This is similar to new media where interface design, code, sound, video, and graphics can carry story and free the text from certain banalites.