Index Page |
Millennium] | Lolli's
Apartment [Riding the Meridian] | Jilt;
a romance [BeeHive] | Hypersensual
Textility and Poly-Vocal Narration [Riding the Meridian (progressive
dinner party)] | REASONED
METAGORIA in frAme3,
MACHINE 01: Aphoristic Play on Hypermediation and A
MACHICOLATED BODY | BeeHive
| Talan's website
Log of trAce Weekly Online Meeting,
trAce Chat Room
Sunday 26 Mar 2000
Start: Sun Mar 26 21:02:35 2000
Masurel (Maz), Helen Whitehead, Margaret Penfold, Loki93c, Alan
McDonald, Elizabeth James (elizabeth) and Talan Memmott (talanM)
have joined #trace
Welcome, Talan Memmott, editor, artist, writer, web designer...
<talanM> enough hats I guess...
<Helen_Whitehead> Shall we start at the beginning? Your
babyhood on the Web... how did you come to start on the Web?
<talanM> I've been working on the web since early 1996.
Of course, that was with PERCEPTICON
-- copy editing, writing code...
<Helen_Whitehead> Percepticon is the commercial Web design
company you work with?
<talanM> In the background I was creating little hypertext
pieces -- experiments, to build my coding skills. My creative
work did not really get serious till mid 1997. At that point Percepticon
was discussing the potential of starting a literary magazine on
the web. I looked around the web for other examples, and to see
what sort of work was being produce, how and where it was being
published. This research made me take my little "rich.lit" experiments
quite a bit more
<talanM> Yes, Percepticon is the business...
<Helen_Whitehead> Rich.lit -- a nice way to describe something
we've been struggling to find a name for...the hypertext/cybertext/electronic
<Helen_Whitehead> Did you write for print before?
<talanM> i use it as a sort of catch-all...
<talanM> I have seen a few items to print -- a couple of
minor theory essays published in micro-journals back in '90,'91...
Then I got a serious bug to write a novel. I was very wrapped
up in that for a long time and didn't really think about publishing
at all. So, a novel I began in '92 is completed in '99. Heavily
deconstructive thing -- CRACKED EGGS AND WASTED TIME... I may
try to get this into print. Would be interesting to hold a book,
rather than access files on t
<talanM> Parts of this novel are on the web, actually --
"Bread" in BeeHive and "Minute" in Cauldron and Net.
<Helen_Whitehead> Surely web and print are completely different
<Helen_Whitehead> how can a novel be on the web?
<talanM> Well the web can be used for straight delivery
or the work could be manipulated to take advantage of the technologies
<Helen_Whitehead> and then it stops being a novel as such...
<talanM> it depends on the motivation... I think deconstructive
work lends itself to this sort of manipulation quite naturally...
* Loki93c_ agrees
* elizabeth jumps, forgot about Loki hovering up there
<talanM> Since I write fragmented text the transmutation
is not that difficult to fathom... but it does alter the work.
<Helen_Whitehead> You said percepticon looked into starting
a literary ezine... was that a business decision, an artistic
one? Does your literary "rich.lit" feed into the commercial work?
*** Barry_Smylie has joined #trace
<talanM> The decision was both... Business in that we were
exploring publishing models and viability... And it was something
I had wanted to do for quite sometime...
*** Claire_Chapman has joined #trace
<talanM> so creative as well...
* Helen_Whitehead welcomes Claire and Barry
<Helen_Whitehead> So many of the web-specific writers we
have interviewed had a background in the visual arts. Is that
the case with you as well?
<Claire_Chapman> no, i came to see how things worked after
i went to a story telling session
<Helen_Whitehead> where was that Claire? online?
<talanM> I think the hypermedia aspect is interesting to
me because my background is primarily in visual art. I find the
space of hypertext very much like that of an empty gallery ready
for an installation. My approach to the visual space is similar.
I think there is something so Barthesian about web work it is
incredible. Truly, if you are involved in all the strata of web
authorship you are more scriptor than writer.
<talanM> Text is neither word or image but presented through
the mise en scene of the interface, text is environmental -- hypersensual,
reacting to the touch. I find the pliability intriguing.
* Loki93c_ thinks talanm is right on the button
<Barry_Smylie> you mean John Barth?
*** Claire_Chapman has quit IRC
<talanM> Roland Bathes
<talanM> Barthes, that is
* Alan_McDonald grins at the idea of Roland bathing
<Helen_Whitehead> Can you summarise for those who haven't
encountered Barthes (I know that's hard!)
<Maz> Does the visual aspect generally come before the words
in designing/writing your work?
<talanM> I don't think I can take up your challenge Helen...
I would be typing for hours...:)
<Helen_Whitehead> ok... do answer Maz
<talanM> Concept comes first. I always have a premise
<talanM> I usually work on the writing at the same time
I am coding and creating graphics. Sometimes while I am working
on a project my text may look more like functional specification
than writing per se. Much of my work has at least a quasi-critique
going on but any rigorous study of the subject is buried beneath,
or made into fiction. Falsified, or transformed from text, an
idea into an image, or compilation of functionality. To a certain
extent this is what is going on in LUX. I am very interested in
narrative form -- the extension and undermining of narrative form.
This is one reason I call these pieces theory/fiction... LUX --
ficto-critical art history...
* Maz likes the idea of a functional spec .....often leaves subroutines
to be written in her own work as well
<Helen_Whitehead> Perhaps several of us use functional specifications
when generating a work.... we should ask more
<Loki93c_> the web gives flesh to dreams?......fluxus-style?
<talanM> Flesh...? gives digits....
<Loki93c_> living kaosophy
<Helen_Whitehead> LUX is in frAme4, very much a mixture
of theory and creative work. Have you published elsewhere on the
Web? Apart from your own journal BeeHive of course?
<talanM> I have a bunch of pieces out there, in frAme, Perihelion,
Perforations, Riding the Meridian [links]...
You can get to all the work from http://www.memmott.org/talan
<Helen_Whitehead> If you type the full url you can link
from here http://www.memmott.org/talan
<Margaret_Penfold> I daren't go chasing URLs. I always get
<Helen_Whitehead> Try opening a new window before you go
<Helen_Whitehead> If you right click on a link you get the
option to open in new window
<Margaret_Penfold> Thanks, Helen, that worked
<Helen_Whitehead> Talan, do you have any tips for new writers
wanting to get work out there?
<Loki93c_> or even in2 print?
<talanM> Oh, it's wide open. It depends what the writer/artist
wants to do. But it is the usual stuff... There are many publications
out there, BeeHive one of them that take submission. It is a good
idea to spend sometime doing research before submitting your work.
Hit the Search Engines and look for literary publication, if a
journal looks interesting, read through some of the content, look
at the quality and variety. Always check for submission guidelines
<Helen_Whitehead> oh, I do like the page, Talan, I'll enjoy
browsing that later
* Loki93c_ musesover influence of god of mischief on internet
<talanM> . With hypertext work you can sometimes show prototypes
-- but if you get in you better finish the piece... Most of all,
have fun with the media/um. Make it yours.
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*** Barry_Smylie has joined #trace
<Alan_McDonald> Cripes Barry are you bungee-jumping?
<Barry_Smylie> yyyyyyyeeeeehhhh...... zap
<Loki93c_> ya nearly knocked me off the rafters Barry
<Helen_Whitehead> found an Introduction to Barthes http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/~os0tmc/culture/myth1.htm
<Barry_Smylie> sorry was trying the right click on Talan's
<Helen_Whitehead> Perhaps it doesn't work for everyone!
<talanM> PC -- double click to open
<talanM> at least on this client...
<Barry_Smylie> i'll just read you here - that's enough
<Margaret_Penfold> Another Frenchman . they certainly have
contributed to the literary scene.
<Helen_Whitehead> Are you a PC or a Mac man, Talan? What
kind of programs do you use to create your websites... can you
recommend any programs, shortcuts, tips?
<talanM> At Percepticon we take the 'big box' approach toward
tool usage. We have a lot of tools in house and we use each for
what it best provides. Photoshop and Homesite are staples. Most
of my work is produced in these two programs... Plus a lot of
hand coding. I generally work on a PC. I test my work on both.
<Helen_Whitehead> Do you use DHTML a lot?
<talanM> lately -- I AM ADDICTED!
* Loki93c_ thinks that's a good plotline for novella
<Helen_Whitehead> Do you find you are always experimenting?
new programs, new possibilities....
<Helen_Whitehead> how can a writer keep up?
<Loki93c_> dhtml junkies mugging ya for ur java codes &
<talanM> Experimentation is part of my general method...
I keep trying new things, breaking down language further... Perhaps
I am a grammatologist...
<Helen_Whitehead> Yes, language.... I have noticed your
interest in creation
<talanM> There are two fronts -- CODE and WRITING... experiments
with the media/um and experiments with language...
<Helen_Whitehead> Your newest work -- to be shown at the
trAce conference in July -- is called Lexia to Perplexia. I know
"lexia" ... Barthes again, and a term used to describe the units
of text in a hypermedia piece...but what about Perplexia?
<talanM> OK... since you sent me this Q. ahead of time here
is my out of the can answer...
<talanM> Lex2Plex... top secret production code name :)
Believe it or not, though this is probably not that surprising,
the initial idea for Lexia to Perplexia arose out of my reaction
to Robert Coover's keynote at DAC '99. Coover's presentation established
a sort of divide between "Golden Age" hypertext and the sort of
work that many current web writers are engaged in -- essentially
what is being dubbed hypermedia.
<talanM> The term lexia comes from Barthes, and for people
who have been working in hypertext for a while is a very important
concept. Since the older concept of hypertext views lexia as a
term primarily attached to text based work, I began thinking about
what sort of units there are in hypermedia, or what I have recently
been calling rich.lit. As well, the notion of the link has changed
<talanM> I don't think it is accurate to say a link relocates.
I mean, that is just not the whole picture anymore... A link can
trigger process, cause animations to start, pop-up new window,
video, flip between layers of a document. This changes the capacity
of the link, affects the document by stratifying it, alters our
perception of how we are attached to the machine and what we do
when we are. The depth and richness here is incredible -- and
still we've just begun.
<talanM> From the compare and contrast between older and
newer hypertext work I came up with the differential -- Lexia
to Perplexia. Perplexia itself is something of a loaded term.
I have alternatively been organizing the word as per(p)lexia and
per[plex]ia, and sometimes per[(p)lexia]. These are all used in
the work as terms for different [sub|ob]jects.
<talanM> The architecture for Lexia to Perplexia is a bit
complex. The piece to some degree is a critique and observation
of the delivery-machine, the authorial practice of the web writer,
and an exploration in disposable and dys|posable terms. I see
the disposable determining of the media/um as an interesting phenomenon
since there is not, and I believe should not be any concrete definition
of the media/um yet. I'd like to see the field expand much further
<talanM> Lexia to Perplexia is really "melange", addressing
various aspects of the media/um through an essay that is full
of holes, trap-doors and detours. [I'M DONE NOW]
<Helen_Whitehead> thank you Talan -- if you missed all that
folks it'll be readable on the Web!
<Helen_Whitehead> I'm interested in a couple of things you
said there... your fascination with the "architecture" for one....
the structure of a web site, of a eb-sork...
<Helen_Whitehead> eb-sork = web-work (can't type)
<Helen_Whitehead> is it fair to say that's one of your passions...
putting the whole together, developing the connections?
<talanM> the architecture in terms of narrative flow-thru
and the information itself...
<Margaret_Penfold> Pity, Helen, eb-sork is intriguing
* Helen_Whitehead giggles
<talanM> post-structuralist structuralists, anti-formal-formalists
<Helen_Whitehead> doing your own thing...
<talanM> there is something to this in web work because
the author is placed in flux
<talanM> look, its rubbing off... now I can't type
<Helen_Whitehead> do you think about the piece from the
reader's point of view?
<Barry_Smylie> the delivery machine!
<Loki93c_> web-peranto=new vocabulary
* Helen_Whitehead nods at Loki
<Loki93c_> sproogle droop
<talanM> The reader... well, I am a bit more focused on
the subject of the piece... I think the reader should encounter
<Helen_Whitehead> we've had mez telling us all about her
language, and Talan too, you like creating new words and ways
to communicate... you collaborated with mez recently didn't you?
How did it go .. could you read each other's emails <grin>?
<talanM> that was an easy collaboration... I really admire
<Helen_Whitehead> I think yours is more subtle, literary...
<talanM> I am a text and theory junky...
<Helen_Whitehead> Have you collaborated before? Would you
do it again?
<talanM> My role in the collaboration was constructing the
environment for Mez's word. I studied her words and experimented
with animated typography, came up with some contextual play and
I think the end product works.
<talanM> I will collaborate again... But, I mostly work
alone. Stacks of books and coffee cups usually surround me when
I work, and my world is 15 inches across. I get very involved
with projects like "Lexia to Perplexia".
<Helen_Whitehead> Is there a difference when you put on
your editor's hat for BeeHive?
<Helen_Whitehead> Do you have to be more concerned with
quality and standards?
<talanM> I appreciate the variety of approaches and, although
I have my own aesthetic preferences I would not want to limit
expression. As an editor, I have guidelines for what goes into
BeeHive. The journal has a defined format that I must make the
pieces run within. Each issue is something of an architectural
challenge, as some of the more complicated hypertext pieces require
<talanM> I know this has been discussed elsewhere and before,
but I think the role of the editor of an electronic publication
<talanM> operates on a curatorial level when considering
hypertext. So, with BeeHive I have to look at this work in one
light and the straight fiction and poetry in another. I have to
work with authors to varying degrees. Sometimes its, "Great. Thanks!",
other times there is more give and take. But, BeeHive is definitely
about the content.
<talanM> My own creative practice is much more --- me....
<Helen_Whitehead> At trAce we encourage our writers to keep
journals of the writing process
<Helen_Whitehead> do you keep a journal of any kind to document
your creativity, Talan?
<talanM> I keep doodles, diagrams, notes upon notes...
<talanM> I am always engaged in research of some sort
<elizabeth> I am just amazed by your energy and productivity
Talan. Your job, the magazine, all your own work; and all of this
achieved in such short time...
<Helen_Whitehead> do you sleep?
<talanM> That is the trick.... NO SLEEP! and lotsssssss
<Barry_Smylie> and, of course, JAVA
<Helen_Whitehead> So what will you show us at Incubation?
<talanM> Well Lexia to Perplexia.... But, I will be presenting
the rich.lit version on chalkboards....
<talanM> low-tech replication...
<talanM> I hope to get heavily into the 'terms' -- within
the allotted time
<Helen_Whitehead> chalkboards? hope you've specified that
on your tech request form <grin>
<talanM> do they still exist?
<Helen_Whitehead> Tell us more about your language. Where
did Metagoria come from?
<talanM> I started using Metagoria in 1987 in connection
with a collaborative installation. Another Artist and I lived
on an outdoor sculpture for a week -- a giant steel backwards
S -- Sidewinder by Allen Bertoldi at CSU Fresno. In my proposal
I referred to our method as "Parasitic Metagoria". A couple years
later I used it again as the title for a gallery installation,
then again for "Reasoned Metagoria" in frAme3. Basically the term
refers to a sort of substitution
<talanM> I may write a bit of straightforward narrative
text and replace words, phrases, identities within the text. Repeating
the process using the altered source as the basis. Sometimes a
contextual fragment may inspire extended etymology or research
into topics both central and peripheral to the fragment. Turning
fact into fiction.
<Helen_Whitehead> but we are coming to the end of our time
<Helen_Whitehead> some announcements before we finish...
(final questions allowed....) Have you all seen the trAce survey
into writers and the Internet? Please go along and fill it in
if you haven't already: trace.ntu.ac.uk/question.htm
<Helen_Whitehead> And we hope to talk to Melinda Rackham
in two weeks... though since the summer time changes, I'm not
sure she can make the time!
<Helen_Whitehead> Hopefully jennifer Ley's chat and the
log of this one will go up soon.
<Helen_Whitehead> Does anyone have any last questions for
<Margaret_Penfold> most interesting and tight session, Helen,
Thank you very much Talan.
<Barry_Smylie> Thank you Talan
<talanM> this was great!
<Margaret_Penfold> Will be off, now. Bye everyone
<Barry_Smylie> clap clap clap
<Helen_Whitehead> Thank you very much indeed, Talan.
* Helen_Whitehead claps
* Maz ripples applause
* Margaret_Penfold claps and goes off
<talanM> Ah..... thanks for having me....
* Helen_Whitehead waves to margaret
<Alan_McDonald> thanks talan, thanks helen
* Loki93c_ drifts down from rafters 7 aplauds talan
<Helen_Whitehead> I am particularly indebted to Talan for
the graphics for the new trAce site!
<Helen_Whitehead> So delighted to have you here
<talanM> looking forward to July!
<Helen_Whitehead> It'll be great to see you in July and
have the chance to explore Lex2Plex
*** talanM has quit IRC
hope you enjoyed this conversation and would like to join in.
trAce is live online every Sunday, and you are warmly invited
to come along to the next meeting.
Christy Sheffield Sanford
- mez (Mary-Anne Breeze)
- Jennifer Ley (to come).
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