The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics

Andrew Klobucar (Ed.)

by Andrew Klobucar (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Louis Wells (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Sharla Sava (IBM), Maria Lantin (Emily Carr University), Simon Overstall (Emily Carr University), Kedrick James (University of British Columbia Vancouver), Esteban Morales (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Rachel Horst (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Maria Aladren (MCVTS Theatre High School), Rui Torres , Allison Parrish (NYU Tisch School of the Arts), Charles Baldwin (Independent Scholar), Rob Wittig (University of Minnesota), Anastasia Salter (University of Central Florida), Anna Nacher (Jagiellonian University, Poland), Taeyoon Choi (School for Poetic Computation), Ken Perlin

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Edited by Andrew Klobucar, “The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics” arrives at an important historical moment. As the COVID-19 global pandemic reveals just how unstable our rules of interaction have become, this intelligent volume reveals the force of community in times of contingency. This community is of a special sort—digital and networked—and demands an active struggle for identity and meaning. Absent are notions of community based on surrender; present are aesthetics of harmony through engagement. Informed by his theoretical and pedagogical experiences, Klobucar has demanded a high quality of scholarship from his international colleagues, and each chapter illustrates that which can be achieved when quantification and poetics are understood in terms of each other. From the theoretical (forms of Wreading digital poetry described by Rui Torres and Daniela Côrtes Maduro) to the instructional (the Swarm Pedagogy of Maria Aladren), there is a rich range of topics and applications present throughout the volume. Simply put, Klobucar has provided readers with a landmark work of digital humanities.
Because the chapters are original and lively—this volume could easily have become a dry and technical catalogue of techniques—there are many audiences for this book. Individual scholars of digital humanities will want it on their bookshelves, and graduate instructors will order it for their students. And, of course, libraries will surely order it. Because the authors represent international programs of research—from Portugal, South Korea, and the US—the volume holds the potential to have a global reach.

Dr. Norbert Elliot
Research Professor
University of South Florida


The book has a cluster of brilliant and resonant through lines: the swarm and the individual, the sculptural sense and aural sense at once of text and textuality, pedagogy in the covid and post covid age and the need for emergent digital forms and the history of such forms. The Cicada emerges as the primary metaphor throughout, which is timely and potent. Text like these sentences is essentially bent lines in a pale field, sculptural codified forms that imply voice, both authorial and literal.
Moving from the Naturalist mores and the epochal Whole Earth catalog to concrete poetry, sound art, algorithms, digital forms and swarm intelligence back to the classroom, be it virtual or soonish back to brick and mortar, this book finds cohesion and the message that the digital freedom of form is as crucial and essential as individualism itself.

Jeremy Hight
Washington State University


A clear-headed anthology of field reports and field guides from the leading edges of collaborative digital poetics. This timely collection, seamlessly swerving from the lyrical to the practical to the speculative, will be of great value to both practitioners and educators (and everyone in between.

Allison Parrish
Arts Professor
ITP NYU

Digital media presents an array of interesting challenges adapting new modes of collaborative, online communication to traditional writing and literary practices at the practical and theoretical levels. For centuries, popular concepts of the modern author, regardless of genre, have emphasized writing as a solo exercise in human communication, while the act of reading remains associated with solitude and individual privacy.

“The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics” explores important cultural changes in these relationships thanks to the rapid development of digital internet technologies allowing near-instantaneous, synchronous, multimedia interaction across the globe. The radical shift in how we author and consume media as an online, electronic transmission effectively resituates the writing process across the liberal arts as less a solitary act of individual enquiry and reflection, and more an ongoing, collaborative process of creative interaction within a multimedia environment or network.

Contributions in this anthology demonstrate a robust history and equally diverse contemporary approach to multimedia interaction for literary and artistic ends. Central to all media formats, computation is explored throughout this volume to critically examine how algorithmic procedures in writing help bring forward many key concepts to building creative communities in a digital environment. Each chapter in this book accordingly introduces readers to various new collaborative experiments using a broad range of different digital media formats, including VR, Natural Language Generation (NLG), and metagaming tools.

This book will appeal broadly to students, instructors, and independent artists working in the digital arts, while its emphasis on social interactivity will interest theorists and teachers working in theatre, social media, and cyberpsychology. Its secondary focus on computation and media programming as a site of artistic experimentation will also interest programmers and web designers at various professional levels.

List of Figures and Tables

Acknowledgements

Introduction - The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics
Andrew Klobucar
New Jersey Institute of Technology

Part I. Foundations

Chapter 1 Wreadings: Digital Poetry and Collaborative Practice
Rui Torres
University Fernando Pessoa, Portugal
Daniela Côrtes Maduro
University of Coimbra, Portugal

Chapter 2 Community Code: A thing, something, everything and nothing
Taeyoon Choi
School for Poetic Computation

Chapter 3 Cicada
Charles Baldwin
Independent Scholar

Part II. From the Hive to the Classroom

Chapter 4 Digital Swarm Techniques: A Case Study to Teach Digital Collaboration and Disrupt Power Structures in Education
Maria Aladren
MCVTS Theatre High School

Chapter 5 Maker Generation? The Uncertain Future of Students as Interactive Storytellers
Anastasia Salter
University of Central Florida

Chapter 6 Netprov: Collaborative, Online Roleplay as Art Form
Rob Wittig
University of Minnesota

Part III. Interactivity in Action: Current Case Studies

Chapter 7 Text Sonification and the Literacoustics of Language-to-MIDI
Kedrick James, Esteban Morales, Rachel Horst, and Effiam Yung
University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Chapter 8 The GTR Language Workbench: A History of Creative Computational Collaboration
Sharla Sava
IBM

Chapter 9 I Am Afraid: Voice as Sonic Sculpture
Maria Lantin and Simon L. Overstall
Emily Carr University

Chapter 10 Afterwords: As We May Enact
Anna Nacher
Jagiellonian University, Poland

Author Bios

Index

Andrew Klobucar is an Associate Professor of English at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey, specializing in electronic literatures. His research on experimental literary forms and screen-based writing critically analyzes the transformative effect digital technology continues to have across the arts.

Electronic Literature, Procedural Poetics, Algorithmic Text Tools, Language Games, Metagaming, Improvisation, Social Network Theory, Cyberpyschology, Cybertexts, Social Media

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
The Community and the Algorithm: A Digital Interactive Poetics
ISBN
978-1-62273-959-2
Edition
1st
Number of pages
209
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
Illustrations
19 B&W
Publication date
September 2021
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