A note from the editors
The most remarkable and versatile aspect of new media as a genre is also what makes it the most difficult to define: its potential for limitlessness, its existence within and without boundaries. New media is a hybrid text to the extreme with the ability to combine text, visuals, sound, hyperlinks, and anything else the author can imagine and effectively accomplish in a piece (or series) of art. New media works are rare in their self-awareness to necessitate - even demand - a reader to become fully immersed in and actively engage with the space that the work creates.
We kept these possibilities in mind when selecting the content for this issue, hoping to find pieces that created a unique space where readers could encounter not only text but an interactive and immersive world where boundaries are blurred and liminal space is explored in a way that is creatively new and unexpected while hopefully also being socially, culturally, or politically affecting in some way.
Cait Powell’s digital poetry collection, “The Runes at Uppsala,” does exactly what we were looking for. Taking place in three parts — prologue, body, and epilogue — that occur in three different locations — San Francisco, CA; Claremont, CA; and Uppsala, Sweden — the piece asks its readers to walk through cyberspace in Google Map sections of each area in order to find location markers that house Cait’s poems. Revolving around a traumatic memory of the speaker’s past that unfolds piece-by-piece as interaction with the work takes place, viewers are invited to digitally retrace the speaker’s physical journey through the streets of California and attempt to “…track pain along its path like pins on a map,/ until its origin is clear and alive."
In “The Runes at Uppsala,” Powell overlays a public tool with her personal story, inserting poetry into a digital landscape and proving that there are no limits to the possibilities of art when we are unafraid to use, combine, and interplay any and all of the tools at our disposal, especially in the ever-evolving and boundary-dissolving genre of new media.