Spring 2016 Contributors

Alan Bigelow

Alan Bigelow's work, installations, and conversations concerning digital fiction and poetry have appeared in the Library of Congress (USA), SFMOMA, La Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris), Turbulence.org, Rhizome.org, The National Art Center (Tokyo), Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts, FreeWaves.org, Art Tech Media, FILE, Blackbird, Drunken Boat, IDEAS, New River Journal, and many other places worldwide. He is currently a Professor of Humanities at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York, USA.

You can see his work at http://www.webyarns.com

Fast Forward

The Fast Forward™ app animates any book so it can be read in under five seconds.

Serge Bouchardon

Serge Bouchardon graduated in literature from the Sorbonne University (France). After working as a project manager in the educational software industry, he wrote his dissertation on interactive literary narrative. He is currently full Professor in Communication Sciences and Director of the COSTECH laboratory at the University of Technology of Compiègne (France). His research focuses on digital creation, in particular digital literature. As an author, he is interested in the unveiling of interactivity. His creations were exhibited in several venues in Europe (Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria...) and America (United States, Canada, Mexico...). They were selected in various online reviews (bleuOrange, Hyperrhiz, SpringGun, The New River). The creation Loss of Grasp (http://lossofgrasp.com/) won the New Media Wrting Prize 2011.
Research: http://www.utc.fr/~bouchard/
Creation: http://www.sergebouchardon.com/


“Untrace” (Détrace in French) is a short online interactive narrative. This piece is part of a trilogy entitled Hyper-Tensions: Loss of Grasp - Opacity - Untrace.

The theme of Untrace is that of the trace. A character looks both at the traces that she comes across in her life and at those she leaves. The story is an opportunity to play on the digital traces left by the reader, voluntarily and involuntarily (as well as those left by other readers). It depicts the tension between the desire to leave traces and to erase all traces, between the desire to leave something behind and the temptation to disappear leaving nothing and to erase everything.

The piece is developed in HTML5/Javascript.

Roderick Coover

Roderick Coover is the creator or co-creator of works of digital, interactive and emergent cinema as well as visual research, documentary film and hyrbid media projects. Recent titles include the collaborative, recombinatory projects like Toxi•City and Three Rails Live, immersive works like Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project, panoramic installations such as the Catastrophy Trilogy, and nonfiction projects such as Altered Shorelines, The Unknown Territories Project, From Verite to Virtual: Conversations On The Frontiers Of Anthropology And Documentary Film, and Cultures In Webs: Working In Hypermedia With The Documentary Image. The recipient of Melon, LEF, Whiting and Fulbright awards, Coover's works are distributed by Video Data Bank, Documentary Educational Resources, Eastgate Systems and CRChange Productions. Coover is Director of the Graduate Program in Film & Media Arts at Temple University and Founding Director of graduate programs both in mediaXarts: Cinema For Emerging Technologies And Environments and in Documentary Arts & Ethnographic Practices. He lives in Philadelphia, USA. URL: http://www.roderickcoover.com.

Nick Montfort

Nick Montfort develops computational art and poetry, often collaboratively. He is a professor at MIT and has a naming firm, Nomnym. Montfort wrote the books of poems #! and Riddle & Bind and co-wrote 2002: A Palindrome Story; the multi-lingual collaboration 2×6 will be published in 2016 by Les Figues. His more than fifty digital projects include the collaborations The Deletionist and Sea and Spar Between. The MIT Press published five of his collaborative and individual books, most recently, Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. He lives in New York and Boston.

Scott Rettburg

Scott Rettburg (b. 1970) is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, The Catastrophe Trilogy, Three Rails Live, Toxi•City, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project and others. His creative work has been exhibited both online and at art venues, including the Inova Gallery, Rom 8, the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere.  Rettberg was the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project, from 2010-2013. Rettberg is leader of the Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group and director of the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base. Rettberg was the conference chair of the 2015 Electronic Literature Organization international conference and festival in Bergen. Rettberg is the cofounder and served as the first executive director of the nonprofit Electronic Literature Organization, where he directed major projects funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati (PhD 2002), Illinois State University (MA 1995), and Coe College (1992). Learn more about his work at retts.net.

Three Rails Live

“THREE RAILS LIVE” is a combinatory narrative film designed for installation. The collaborative data-base driven video project concerns memory, mortality, alienation, and regret. The filmmaker and authors wrote recursively, exchanging texts in response to images and images in response to texts, evolving themes such as "Landscape and Fate", "Death by Snake", "Toxic", "Flight", and "Flood." Spoken word narrative and image are then assembled and juxtaposed by the system into segmented stories such as "Empty Glass," "Between Stations" and "Passing Cars". These reconfiguring fragments are interrupted by "perverbs", in which proverb fragments combine oddly familiar but corrupted phrases such as, "where there's smoke, there's mirrors" or "nothing ventured makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Running continuously, the system never generates the same narrative in the same order twice, but nevertheless produces a coherent holistic story of a man's late search for meaning among the detritus of his life and environment.

Technical Description: “Three Rails Live” uses a combinatory, or "data-base", system that results in the production of short narrative videos, stories with a moral to them. The three collaborators put the system together at some remove from each other. Coover sent a selection of short video clips and images to Rettberg and Montfort. Rettberg viewed the clips and sorted them arbitrarily into themes such as "Landscape and Fate" or "Death by Snake"; he then wrote three short narratives for each theme, and recorded readings of each of these narratives. Together the narrative segments fit into an overall first-person story. Montfort selected particular images, and, borrowing a technique from Harry Mathews, wrote “perverbs”—remixes of two different proverbs that subvert the original—for each of the texts paired to an image. Montfort also produced a title generator that arbitrarily creates a title for each run of the work. The system the authors constructed selects two videos and two of the narrative recordings from a constrained random selection. A preverb with a moral to the story is then assigned and the process begins anew. The system thus results in short narrative videos with new juxtapositions of images, texts, and perverbs each time it runs. All of the texts and images emerge from this aleotory but thematically determined method. The work is designed for HTML5 browsers and includes HTML, image, movie and audio files.

Talan Memmott

Talan Memmott is a media writer/artist/theorist originally from San Francisco CA. Memmott has taught and been a researcher in digital art, electronic writing, new media studies, film and video, digital culture, and interactive narrative in the Computational Media Program at UC Santa Cruz, the Department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, the Digital Culture and Communication Program at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden, the Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department at California State University Monterey Bay; the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Colorado Boulder, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Memmott was a co-editor for the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 (ELO), and the ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature. He holds an MFA in Literary Arts/Electronic Writing from Brown University and a PhD in Interaction Design from Malmö University.


“Dérivepedia” is a combinatory text generator that recombines sentence fragments from 400 Wikipedia entries, 200 images from wikimedia commons, and over 1,000 individual variable to generate specious entries for subjects ranging from Tadpoles And The History Of Weather Satellites to Pliny The Elder: Constructing Ambiguous Witch Trials; from Jimi Hendrix And The Psychology Of Cowpox to Ada Lovelace In The Age Of Cool-Weather Aromatherapy.

Bruno Ministro

Bruno Ministro is Ph.D student in the Doctoral Program in Materialities of Literature at University of Coimbra. He is also a poet, performer, and digital artist who believes in a practice-based research model for knowledge production. Some of his recent works can be found at hackingthetext.net.


“1_100” is a digital poem by Bruno Ministro that appropriates Charles Bernstein's voice recorded from a live performance that took place somewhere in the late 60s. First called 1,100 and later 1-100, the sound piece by Bernstein consists in the author's voice reading numbers from 1 to 100. Transposed to the digital ecologies, we can easily relate the numbers of the artwork's title to the cartographies of the binary code, composed of infinite sequences of 1s and 0s.

In Charles Bernstein's sound piece there are variations in time, intensity, harmony and frequency. Bernstein explores the number's counting using the expressiveness of spoken language, constantly shifting emotional charges and transmitting a deep presence through the acousmatic voice. Numbers and emotions, being both daily things, commonly occupy dichotomous positions in the scale between rational things and things related to feelings. This apparent distinction is now being questioned in the posthumanist paradigm and this digital poem try to address the theme in a very particular way.

The lack of quality of the magnetic tape is here understood as a self-reflexive emergence of the medium —moreover, when compared to the digital surrogate, which, having been mastered, could not be totally enhanced due to the poor media used in 1969. In that sense, what are we doing when we appropriate past memories of old media and bring them to a new media form that sometimes seems to have no Memory?

The interface of the digital poem uses the blue color from the pre-programmed main theme of the last release of Windows operating system (a color picker was used), trying to build a poetical path for sarcastic profanation and détournement. This poetical artifact deals with user expectation, latency and frustration. Users are expecting the digital poem to load and, at the end, all they can see is an error message that instruct them to refresh the page, starting the loading process all over again. Everyone knows that there is nothing more frustrating than the latency of a loading bar in an age without time (as we are constantly in a rush, sharing this sense of urgency). Even more if the loading process does not end at all, requiring an eternal loop that insists in the iterative formatting of memory. Is time in the digital age a different type of time?

Pat Siebel

Pat Siebel is the Interviews Editor at Hobart. He received his BA in English and a minor in Creative Writing from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, and is now an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. His work can be found in Hobart, Susquehanna Review, Cartridge Lit, Black Heart Magazine, and probably, if you really look, in other places also.

Travis McDonald

Travis McDonald, a native of Massachusetts, received his bachelor's in English from The University of Texas at Austin, and is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at Virginia Tech. His work has appeared in Atticus Review, The Adirondack Review and Five [Quarterly].