TIR-W Volume 9 no. 1
Literary hypertext and hypermedia have been made for 15 years with a wide variety of development systems. When the ELO curated its first Electronic Literature Collection in 2006, in an open call for works, the 60 selected were made in some 10 different development systems, from HTML to VRML.
Who is in this game, and how do we draw in new readers and players? Our featured artists answer this question in our interviews.
In a world that challenges (and sometimes defeats) writers with its constantly multiplying means, we chose to focus this issue of TIRWeb on two committed long-time practitioners. Donna Leishman, coming from both a fine arts and commercial background, creates finely wrought narrative based on folkloric or historic myth, using very few words. Jason Nelson, coming from a print MFA program and self-taught in software, creates poetical/fictionary "creatures" in great numbers, many of whom use text he has written or appropriated, while others focus on screen morphology or interface, as if "interface" were itself the real "critter" at issue.
For all their differences, much unites them:
Both have a mature body of work, and both are known for work that is challenging in structure and technique.
Both work primarily in Flash, one of the most widely used development systems. Not only do they make very different uses of this software, but each subverts the cliches often associated with its commercial use.
Both are articulate, in very different ways—as the interviews show—about their process.
Both work alone, even though many who practice e-lit work collaboratively.
Both have become multi-modal artists, image and sound and code and text and drawing and video and design all swirled together in their minds and in their born-electronic practice.
Finally, both draw on popular culture for their themes, although "classically" trained.
Donna Leishman, in preparing her PhD dissertation [http://www.6amhoover.com/viva/chapter_two/index.htm#pos21] on Deviant invited 11 expert readers to assess it. She analyzes their responses, showing us the semantic and critical wrestling, the varied sorts of acumen, brought to a new and highly disparate field in the very early stages of its consolidation. We have invited Talan Memmott, himself a prizewinning and highly esteemed producer of literary hypermedia in Flash, to comment in depth on two of our featured works, Deviant and This Is How You Will Die. We have also asked Jason (Nelson on Leishman's Deviant) and Donna (Leishman on Two of Nelson's Works) to respond to each other's work.
We want to refer you as well to Donna's site where a wealth of analysis and commentary exists together with her recountings of Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, as well as newer works. And we are happy to have persuaded Jason to make a visual index to his oeuvre-to-date. Bookmark this link!
We know you will enjoy work of such fertility and commitment. We think that the issues Donna and Jason raise, of how to name and how to make; how to acquire a digital grammar and work natively within digital media; and how to think about multi-state environments and multi-modes, are those that the e-lit field will be engaged with for years to come.
We're delighted and honored to launch the new issue of The Iowa Review Web [TIR-W], guest edited by Stephanie Strickland and Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink. We thank them and the contributing artists and writers for their time and expertise in producing the issue.
TIR-W is sponsored by The University of Iowa Graduate College and POROI, the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry, and the Department of English. TIR-W is currently housed in the Virtual Writing University Experimental Wing.
Publishing electronic literature since 1999, TIR-W is well-known for its commitment to new writing, encouraging the investigation of text and hypertext in theory and practice at their deepest levels.
The journal continues to feature interviews with innovative writers, critical articles and essays, as complements to its featured hypertext projects.
As part of our newly redesigned journal past issues are now searchable by title, author, and author information.
Writers and artists interested in having your work considered are encouraged to send a query email. Please include relevant autobiographical information and a brief description of your work in general; information about the work you would like to submit to TIR-W, including, when appropriate, the URL of the work.
Jon Winet, Editor