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Newsletter SEPTEMBER '00
6/2000 (2.Jg. / Nr. 13) - ISSN 1617-6901


Tankgirl in digitalen Terrordrom // krusche*grond*house // Praxis-Pool // Forum Netkommunication and its impact // NULL // Interview Berkenheger // Interview Rotermund // Victory Garden // Digital Literature // Narrations Path in Hyperfiction // Hypertext 2000 // When Literature goes Multimedia // The Distributed Author // Das Epos der Maschine // Interview Schreiber // Questioning Digital Aesthetics // Interview Klötgen // DAC 2000

InterSzene - Symposium on Theatricality and Orally in Internet
supported by MIGROS-Kulturprozent
(look contributions in
Newsletter July)

Concept, Program, Attendees of the Symposium (all contribution are German)

Stephan Porombka: Tankgirl in digital Terrordrom (German)
From Tim Staffel's text "Das Mädchen mit dem Flammenwerfer" a team of three people has created an ambitious multimedia project about the pyromaniac Tank-Girl. The story line was not sacrificed to the pathos of emancipation and/or to the dogma of interactivity. However, the spectacle of images has the same weight as the necessity of imagination in traditional text. It is an example for how a piece can be translated into an other medium, following that media's rules without submitting totally to them.

Walter Grond: [krusche*grond*house] (German)
Grond reflects on the project's function and explains how he sees it today: the call for critical consciousness and the melancholic attitude of literary salons for aged rebels; the electronic room for people with the in-between-feeling, who reveal the own in order to talk about the other.

New additions to the Praxis-Pool:

Transactive Exploration of European Cultural Heritage (Europe)
Cyberprose: Internet-Literature-Workshop (Endres / Tübingen)

Forum "Netcommunication and its impact":

Avantgarde as Arrièregard: The Example of Kolportageroman (German)
Mirjam Storim recalls the beginning of cultural industry in Germany around 1900. She shows that the changing of the author and reader position can already be found then, as well as phenomena like transversality and transfugality.

Poets-Blackboard digital - Thomas Hettche's Net-Project NULL as Book (German)

From the first to the last day of 1999, various authors delivered highly individual stories on different topics, which were then linked in different ways. Traditional media misunderstood this project again and again as the example of netliterature, as did the project itself, which now is released as book. Nevertheless, NULL (English: Zero) is an important example of literature in the net and can indeed help netliterature to "shed its baby teeth." Roberto Simanowksi takes a closer look.

Hyperfiction pure - Interview with Susanne Berkenheger (German)

The 'Grand Dame' of German Hyperfiction keeps focussing on word adventures even in times of multimedia. Roberto Simanowski talked to her about here award winning Hyperfiction "Zeit für die Bombe" (Time for the Bomb) and "Hilfe!" (Help!): about bomb attacks by click, the reader's observation by the texts, the transformation of readers into players, and the author's relation to technology and the avantgarde.

Netliterature in the literary net - Interview with Hermann Rotermund (German)

Hermann Rotermund was an organizer and judge of the Pegasus-Competitions for netliterature in 1997 and 1998 and is member of the jury of E-Book-Awards 2000. Roberto Simanowksi talks to him about competitions for "net"-literature, evaluate criteria, the relation of poetry and technology, his Cyberopera project, and E-Books.

Reading Victory Garden (English)

Raine Koskimaa introduces the setting and personage of Victory Garden and discusses several issues of this Hyperfiction: The order of narration; various ways of ending (i.e. looping as end, exhausting reading to see each single node); the idea that everything we encounter in Victory Garden, including the Gulf War, is just some kind of virtual reality, fabrications of paranoid minds; and the inter textual references and allusions of this novel (Borges' "Garden of Forking paths", Burrough's cut up technique, Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow ). (>>>Abstract)

Digital Literature: From Text to Hypertext and Beyond (English)

This is the abstract of Raine Koskimaa's thesis, which calls the concept of Hypertext into question, stressing its printed predecessors and calling-with reference to Espen Aarseth-for a cybertext theory that covers functionality of all texts, printed or digital. Having done away with the distinction between hypertext, cybertext, and digital text, Koskimaa nevertheless sticks to classical research issues and focusses on hypertext fiction and its narrative devices as ontolepsis-the "leaks" between separate ontological levels-and the use of spatial signification. Koskimaas prediction: fiction based on "pure" hypertext may be coming to an end, and although there are computer games, virtual realities and other massively programmed forms towering on the horizon, there is also the possibility for a new literature.

Narration paths in Hyperfiction. Storytelling as road through the fictional room (German)

Hypertext communicates the dimensions of space and time via the principle of navigation, which must be fulfilled by the reader herself. Beat Suter investigates how this vectorial interaction between reader and text works. (>>>Abstract)

Hypertext 2000 (English)

"A rather subjective conference report" by Anja Rau

When Literature goes Multimedia (English)

Roberto Simanowski starts with Robert Coover's warning about the threat of hypermedia "suck[ing] the substance out of a work of lettered art, reduc[ing] it to surface spectacle" and uses three German examples to illustrate that this is not the case.(>>>Abstract)

The Distributed Author. Creativity in the Age of Computer Networks (English)

Christiane Heibach investigates authorship in digital works. She stresses that, although it is still the author who determines the text by designing the possible paths the reader can take, the Internet is a sphere where 1) the single creator is replaced by a collective and communicative creativity, and 2) a shift takes place from the completed work to an ever-changing, never-finished procedural project. Heibach discusses two forms of cooperation: "weak" (collaborations of authors and designers or multiple authors), "strong" (where any Internet user can participate, as in cooperative writing projects). Apart from these collaborations, another form, basically communicative, appears (realized in Virtual Worlds where people meet to interact by text and tell each other their story). (>>>Abstract)

Urs Schreiber's "Das Epos der Maschine" - concrete poetry digital (German)

This telescopic hypertext has been widely praised for its impressive technical and graphical design. Roberto Simanowski explores the fourfold syntax - text, space, time, interaction - and discusses to what extent the aesthetics of spectacle (mis)use the text as the effect of its appearance.

"Das Epos der Maschine" - Interview with Urs Schreiber (German)

The interview after the review. Roberto Simanowski talks to Urs Schreiber about the basic idea and production process behind "Epos", reading beneath the surf of technical effects, "blood of letters", and digital concrete poetry.

Questioning Digital Aesthetics (English)

Bo Kampmann Walther asks: what is the object of digital aesthetics and how are we to unite existing interactive computer art with a speculative, philosophical aesthetic? He discusses Kant's aesthetics (which build a critique on an a priori existing order, the human concept of beauty) and Luhmann's interferential aesthetics (language of art is difference, non-identity). Walther depicts the author of digital art as a unique 'point' from where the initial form decision is extracted ('artist of the first degree') and suggests that the aposterioric qualities of digital art events be considered 'a priori' essentials. (>>>Abstract)

"Die Aaleskorte der Ölig" - Interview with Frank Klötgen (German)

The winner of the 1998 Pegasus-Competition pretended to be a movie, promised 6,9 billion ways to reading, and was, all in all, a huge parody of hypertext. It found only good friends or bitter enemies. Roberto Simanowski talked to Frank Klötgen about the Ölig's real problem, about the aesthetic of ugliness, about insult of and by the audience, literary models, and the German netliterature scene.

Digital Art and Culture 2000 (German)

Roberto Simanowskis reports on the Third Digital Art and Culture Conference, held August 2.-4., 2000 in Bergen / Norway


Newsletter 2000:

current - Sept - July - May - March - Feb - Jan

Newsletter 1999:

Dec - Nov - Oct - Sept - Aug - July - June