Jill Walker
Since the beginning
Works in Bergen Norway

Scholar of networked literature and art, teaching and researching at the University of Bergen. Leader of ELiNOR, the network for electronic literature in the Nordic Countries. Avid blogger at http://jilltxt.net
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Digital Arts & Cultures 2005: Copenhagen / ON THE THEME: DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

Dear colleagues,
Please feel free to circulate and post on relevance lists!:

Digital Arts & Cultures (DAC) Conference 2005:
"Digital Experience: Design, Aesthetics, Practice"
December 1st - December 3rd, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The 6th DAC conference will be held at the IT University of Copenhagen,
Denmark, from December 1st to December 3rd 2005.
Researchers and practitioners from all related disciplines are invited to participate in this event and to exchange ideas, theories and experiences regarding the state of the field of digital arts, cultures, aesthetics and design anno 2005.

The DAC 2005 conference invites critical examinations of the field of
digital arts and culture, which challenge existing paradigms. We call for papers which examine both theoretical and hands-on approaches to digital experiences and experience design. Since the inaugural DAC in 1998 much has happened, and research has matured from early investigations into the problematic nature of new media towards questions of emergent dynamics, user centered design and various forms of interactivity. At the same time, the realization has grown that users of digital media not only are active participants, but also have to be taken into account at all stages of the design and production of digital experiences. How do practitioners (programmers, artists, designers etc.) cater for this kind of active and demanding user? What kinds of experiences can we create?
How can these experiences inform us? How do we as academics analyse and
evaluate digital experiences? DAC has always been interested in exploring the ways in which digital media do things that traditional media cannot. We believe that the focus on 'experience' in DAC 2005 will illuminate the possibilities of digital media beyond the functional possibilities of 'usability'. What are the aesthetic and cultural implications of digital design as experience?

For suggestions of more specific topics of the papers, see the website.

We call for submission of full papers only. It is possible to submit either a full-length paper (max. 10 pages) or a short paper (max. 4 pages). We also invite invitations for self-organised preconference workshops.

All papers will be reviewed by an independent review committee, which will provide written feedback on each paper.

Submission of full paper (long & short) & workshop proposals: August 8th
Submission of camera-ready papers: October 28th

Conference organiser, academic officer: Tasha Buch, IT University of
Copenhagen (tabu@itu.dk)Conference chair: Lisbeth Klastrup, IT University of Copenhagen (klastrup@itu.dk)
Conference chair: Susana Tosca, IT University (tosca@itu.dk, currently on maternity leave)

- we look forward to meeting you at DAC 2005!

Lisbeth Klastrup
Interim Head of Dept., Assistant Professor
Dept. of Digital Aesthetics and Communication
IT University of Copenhagen
Rued Langgaardsvej 7
DK-2300 Copenhagen S

Phone: + 45 7218 5029
Fax: + 45 7218 5001



Re: new work: my boyfriend came back from the war (abe linkoln's 2004 blog mix)

abe wrote:

> my boyfriend came back from the war (abe linkoln's 2004 blog mix)
> http://myboyfriendcamebackfromthewar.blogspot.com/
> the original http://www.teleportacia.org/war/war.html
> the remixes http://myboyfriendcamebackfromth.ewar.ru/

OMG. What a statement about blogs: this makes it wonderfully obvious that not all stories are best told this way.


Implementation in Philadelphia

Tue Dec 28, 2004 00:00 - Fri Dec 03, 2004

Scott Rettberg and Nick Montfort's sticker novel Implementation will be exhibited at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia from January 1-31, 2005. The opening reception, with a public conversation between Johanna Drucker, Christian Bok, Jean-Michel Rabate, Nick Montfort, and Scott Rettberg, will take place on December 28.

More information about the exhibition:

Implementation website:


Review of Johannes Weymann's Julia 1926

At the Digital Play exhibition currently at the American Museum of the Moving Image, a few computers display “new narratives” and animations. One of the ones I liked best was Julia 1926 (http://julia1926.net), an “interactive” documentary about a woman with Alzheimers by Johannes Weymann, who has a website at Heltersk3lter.net. I put quotation marks around interactive, because when I returned home and played with the piece some more, it seems to be an entirely linear animation which you simply have to click in order to make the next bit play out.

At several points the interface looks as though you’re going to get a choice - for instance when you get through the first opening sequence, and are presented with what looks like a menu of aspects of Julia’s life - places, people and times. Each title has four items listed below, so beneath “people", you see children, family, friends and enemies. Clicking on any of these takes you to a stylised and flickering black and white image of a woman sitting on a sofa, with a short text ("times, people, places change") and an list of her features, like on an ID-card. When you click, the words begin to fall apart, degenerating into noise, dates shifting into the impossible ("Date of birth: 33.03.26″) and through into nonsense. This imagery of deteriorating memory as akin to the corruption of data on a computer works well, of course.

Stuart Moulthrop’s Reagan Library (http://iat.ubalt.edu/moulthrop/hypertexts/rl/) does something similar but carries the metaphor further, including the reader’s actions in its working. Reagan Libraries is also a story of confused memories, and each node of the story is initially full of noise: the words are literally unstable, many of them random. But each time you return to a node, it becomes more stable, finally, after four readings of each node, being fairly comprehensible. The deterioration in Julia 1926, on the other hand, is more a charming visual effect that doesn’t add meaning.

I was disappointed when I realised that there was (as far as I can tell) no interactivity at all. That is, yes, I need to click to see the whole story, but when and where I click makes no difference whatsoever. Because there’s no way to go back without restarting, you don’t notice this for much of the piece, unless you reread it, but there are certain jarring moments. For instance, both Julia and her husbands’ lives are presented through two three paned window where each pane holds an image from a time in their lives - youth, maturity and loss or senescence. I started by clicking the youth pane, and sure enough, a short text describing Julia’s youth was displayed. Then I clicked the old age pane, and was given a text describing her maturity - the illusion of reader choice was broken. Even here the story is told completely linearly and the reader in fact has no choices.

There are many things I like about Julia 1926. The design is beautiful, and the images and the words often interplay very well. The combination of the facts and the bits of individuals’ lives are also effective, and the graphical disappearing of connections and the corruption of data also works well. There were some Germanisms in the language, and a proof-reader for the English would have been useful, although I should also point out that many of the short texts are well-written and evocative. It really irks me that this is billed as interactive, though. So much more could have been done. Probably scale is one reason it’s not truly interactive - the whole thing only takes 5-10 minutes from start to finish, and no doubt even that has taken a lot of time to create in such beautiful design.

Julia 1926 is not only exhibited as one of the few examples of new narrative at the Digital Play exhibition, it has also won several prizes and medals, though these are mostly from design competitions rather than new media sites, and certainly the design is good. It’s a pity, though, that more innovative new narratives weren’t also shown at the Digital Play exhibition.
(Also posted at http://huminf.uib.no/~jill)


Re: Sociology of the Fading Signal--Can You Hear Me Now?

> 6) Why is the loss of email and TV reception met with frustration and
> near-hysteria, but cell phone signal loss is met with, at best, mild
> aggravation and more often than not, if you think about it, mild
> relief at the outside interruption of what was a (good but) banal
> conversation? What are the statistics on resuming conversations
> following a signal loss? What does this say about the flexibility of
> our habituations?

That's easy: we control the time of TV and email but not of telephones. You're supposed to answer the phone when it rings. No one expects you to answer, or even read, an email (or an SMS) instantly.

The first time I didn't answer my phone when it rang was when my daughter was a baby. No way was I going to interrupt breastfeeding or lullaby-singing or changing a nappy to answer a nagging phone! My sister-in-law was appalled. She truly felt that one has a moral obligation to pick up a ringing phone. No matter who was calling.

I still ignore the phone if it interferes with reading a bedtime story to my daughter, or I'm doing something else important, and I turn it off sometimes - but though I feel little guilt at that, I feel absolutely <i>none</i> at doing the same with my mobile.

And I love SMSes. They're polite. They wait for you to have time. You can send them and know that you're not interrupting. And you can answer them instantly if so inclined.

So, yeah. I'm not sure I like the forced loss of signal, but I love the assumption that you won't always be able to answer instantly. I get frantic, though, if my network's down :)