Sunday, February 17, 2008

What is electronic literature?

On Friday, I met up with Dan Shiffman, an "associate teacher" at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. (ITP is a division of Tisch, the arts school, that pursues all kinds of fascinating work in digital communication and interactive design.) While flipping through Dan's syllabus for "Programming A to Z," I found "What is Electronic Literature?", a highly useful writeup by Brian Kim Stefans, an internet artist, digital poet, and former instructor at Brown.

Stefans defines electronic literature as "any form of writing that takes advantage of the possibilities afforded by digital technology" as well as, more loosely, forms of writing that are inspired or "informed by digital technology." (I think he means structurally and formally more than thematically--does William Gibson fall under this umbrella? Unclear.) He then offers a list of (admittedly porous) categories that fall under this genre.

Check it out--it offers a good intro to a fascinating artistic field.

(the image is Daniel Howe's piece, "Text Curtain")

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