• Ruminations

    Why I Care about Early Interactive Media

    The question I get asked a lot is, Why do I care so much about early interactive media, particularly since they are generally relegated to the black and white (or green on green) environment of a computer monitor (and a small one, at that), are text-heavy, and whose images–-if they exist at all––are comprised of ASCII art, and mood, augmented by 8-bit sound (if there is any sound at all)? This is a valid question in light of contemporary interactive storytelling techniques that involve robustly immersive environments created with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 3D technologies. It boils down to this: I am fascinated with the way ideas develop over time…

  • Ruminations

    Versioning Rob Swigart’s Down Time

    As Holly was updating the metadata for the ELO Repository, she realized that there were different CD-ROMs called Down Time held in the various collections. Upon closer inspection, she guessed that they were not copies but rather potential versions of Rob Swigart’s interactive narrative and asked me to look over them. And, of course, she was right. Versioning born digital literature is something I love to do and have been doing officially since  working on the chapter about Judy Malloy’s Uncle Roger (1986-2014) for Pathfinders. Curious about a work that has endured close to 30 years of technological upgrades to hardware and software, I set off on a journey to determine…

  • Ruminations

    The World Is Not Done Yet, and Nor Are We

    Yesterday Seattle artist Annie Grosshans visited the lab to talk to us about her “weblication,” The World Is Not Done Yet, a non-fiction work that ruminates about the shift from the world of print to the world of digital media. Created in 2013 with Adobe Muse, this insightful and moving work of electronic literature may eventually become inaccessible to the public because on March 26, 2020 Adobe will no longer support Muse. [1]   For those of you who are not familiar with Muse, it is a drag and drop system for building websites for desktop, tablet and mobile devices. It reminds me of the old iWeb software program offered…

  • Pathfinders,  Ruminations,  Updates

    How to Write about Inaccessible Born-Digital Literature

    Having authored critical writing about born-digital literature with Stuart Moulthrop for both the multimedia book, Pathfinders (2015) and print-based book, Traversals (2017) and, then, publishing Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 1 (2018) with the ELL Team, I’ve had much time and practice writing about born-digital literature that is inaccessible to the public. With few exceptions, the focus has been on works to which few, if any, scholars have access. Think electronic literature and literary games published on 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch floppy disks and CD-ROMS with software no longer supported by contemporary computers. But writing for that kind of media is vastly different than writing about literature still in circulation and found on…

  • Ruminations

    The Origins of a Passion

    At first it was the little sugar flowers that adorned family members’ birthday, wedding, and anniversary cakes. You know what I am talking about––the pink roses or yellow generic flowers one could buy at the grocery store and affix to a freshly made frosted cake. Yes, I collected those and kept them in a large, round lidded glass jar until a decade later when ants found them. My eidetic memory afforded me the ability to recall the event where each flower had come, who had attended the event, and other details that stick with me today even without the mnemonic power of the artifacts. But in those days, I would…