- The Electronic Book Review has published my initial response to LLMs: ‘Modelit: eLiterature à la (Language) Mode(l).’ Electronic Book Review (07-02-2023): https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/modelit-eliterature-a-la-language-model/
This was written for colleagues in my specialism but may be of broader interest. It is based, in part, on an earlier presentation (available as video) that I gave for the March 2023, ‘Literature’ conference of Political Concepts. The essay that is emerging from this presentation will, hopefully, ‘enter the lexicon’ of Political Concepts after peer-review and revision, which is in process.
- Meanwhile, and with some LLM resonance, DHQ has published ‘Computational Art Explorations of Linguistic Possibility Spaces: Comparative Translingual Close Readings of Daniel C. Howe’s Automatype and Radical of the Vertical Heart 忄.’ Digital Humanities Quarterly 17, no. 2 (July 2023) http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/17/2/index.html in a special issue on Critical Code Studies. Speaking of which …
- I am thrilled that the extraordinary journal SubStance has published a piece by yours truly in their 50th anniversary issue, especially since the live coding notebook underlying the piece would allow ‘close reading’ of the code.
‘breathe.’ SubStance (#160) vol. 52, no. 1 (May 2023): 97-99 (with web-based constituent). https://substance.org/
The standalone piece itself is online here (Chrome and full screen reading is advised) and my accompanying commentary is included, as referenced above, in the journal’s printed edition. Full text of the entire issue, highly recommended, is open access until October 15, 2023.
- Perhaps the biggest news from me is that there is now a lovely US edition of Image Generation: Augmented and Reconfigured. Denver: Counterpath, 2023.
Counterpath web page | Please order from Small Press Distribution.
I’ve made a site for web content and will be adding to this over time with, also, the intention of being able to present recent work as more accessible and widely legible on the web … which it is these days.
- I was very pleased to have this review published – so far online – of a book that I highly recommend. Please give both review and book a spin. ‘John Cayley reviews Garrett Stewart, Book, Text, Medium: Cross-Sectional Reading for a Digital Age, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2022.’ Critical Inquiry (December 21 2022) https://criticalinquiry.uchicago.edu/john_cayley_reviews_book_text_medium/.
- Neither Daniel nor I think that the following piece got the attention that it, perhaps, deserves. Daniel’s meticulous coding is worth the price of admission in itself! Based on earlier ‘rambles’, this piece takes walks in both an aestheticized ‘wilderness’ and then, when its state shifts, in a region of war-torn repression and dispossession.
Cayley, John, and Daniel C. Howe. ‘Preoccupations.’ in The New River, Spring 2022. Webapp; bespoke software; process documentation. https://thenewriver.us/preoccupations/.
- A few more things as a single item.
My collaboration with Joanna Howard, ‘“Hearing Litoral Voices / Bearing Literal Traces”: Subliteral Narratives.’ was included in Electronic Literature Collection, 4, published 2022.
The original ‘broadband interactive narrative’ that I made with Giles Perring and Douglas Cape, what we will was anthologized in Conceptualisms: The Anthology of Prose, Poetry, Visual, Found, e- & Hybrid Writing as Contemporary Art, edited by Steve Tomasula, 251. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2022.
And I was very happy to have short pieces included in these fascinating publications:
‘Lets Flower the World.’ In A Garment Literature, edited by Nick Rands, [4 unnumbered pages, as afterword]: Nick Rands, 2022.
‘What Is a Collage of Media Architecture?’. In Provocations on Media Architecture, edited by Ian Callender and Annie Dell’Aria, 72-73. Eindhoven: Set Margins, 2023.
- Also thanks to the inestimable Giles Perring (what we will collaborator and sound artist extraordinaire) you can hear Giles and myself doing experimental sound art (back in the aughts?) on an album of Giles’ more wide-ranging explorations. Check out ‘Kite Hill’ (and everything else!) on Sustain•Decay which Giles published to Spotify, April 2023.
- Segueing into the ‘past’ and the ‘already noted’, I am still delighted to have Passengers Passages, the Caroline Bergvall piece for which I coded transletteral animations, live at Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought.
Earlier news, still of some interest? (just leaving it in here and letting it scroll)
• My review of Martin Paul Eve's excellent Close Reading with Computers is out now in Novel (54.2 August 2021) and may be of interest to digitalized readers. You can find the 'author accepted' ms in Brown's Digital Repository.
• The extraordinary collection of essays edited by Matthew Reynolds, Prismatic Translation, has been reissued as a very reasonably priced paperback. An essay of which I'm quite fond, '[Mirroring] events at the sense horizon: translation over time,' is included in this book along with many other good things. Get your copy now!
• On Thursday, June 24th It was a privilege and a pleasure to be asked to do a hour-long program on some of my work for my good friend Chris Funkhouser’s Poet Ray'd Yo. This was broadcast at 7pm EDT on WGXC, 90.7 fm, in the Hudson Valley and anyone can now download it here or from the archives of the excellent Wave Farm site. And do check out the rest of the extraordinary archive of Chris’ show.
• Programmatology’s main news concerns co-founding involvement with LAOB The Language Art Observer. This is a new platform and publication venue for language art with computation. As a utopian proof of concept we assembled a fantastic board (see 'About' on the site) and put together a Pre-Launch Annual which was accepted for exhibition in Platforming Utopias, one of the chief venues for the 2021 conference of the Electronic Literature Organization, May 24-28.
You will find some possibly interesting new work on the LAOB site by myself and also great stuff from Allison Parrish, SA Chavarría, Meredith Morran, Qianxun Chen, Murphy Chang, Kavi Duvvoori, Florence Wallis and the inimitable Daniel C. Howe.
But the main thing to convey is that the LAOB now moves on to its first Annual of submission and commission, with the goal of making it one of the most critical, diverse, aesthetically-astute, peer-reviewed publication venues for language art with computation. Please read. Please propose.
• A new short, somewhat opinionated ‘riPOSTe’ is just out in the EBR: ‘Literature and its digital and computational others’ Please give it a spin, but don't forget nllf.net.
• It turns out that this, sifther: our fall 2020, is what I made over the last couple of months, and it is what is, quoting the good doctor, not the failing narcissocrat. For those taking an interest in such things, the work was developed using Observable, a platform which, as it happens, has been co-maintained and co-developed by former Brown student, hypertext utopian, and CoffeeScript uber-coder, Jeremy Ashkenas. sifther: our fall 2020 is ideally left to run ambiently on a wall-mounted 1080p tablet or flat screen.
• Thanks to HyperCard Online, the Internet Archive and extraordinary programmers, some of my early poetic cybertexts are readable again as originally designed and software-published. The Internet Archive has been collecting, not only the ‘wayback’ web, but early software and, in this case, hypercard stacks. Uploaded through HyperCard Online, they run in the browser. archive.org/search.php?query=creator:"John+Cayley"
• And please never forget or neglect natural language liberation, this, the NLLF slow blog? There’s even more, more (m)uttering, more (un)manifestos. Even with https.
• Excellent interpretative review of Grammalepsy in the Coimbra Universtiy Press journal MATLIT: materialities of literature – Marques, Ana. ‘Decoding Language [Review Essay on Grammalepsy by John Cayley].’ MATLIT 8, no. 1 (2020): 306-307 https://impactum-journals.uc.pt/matlit/article/view/2182-8830_8-1_18 (accessed October 29, 2020).
• Still delighted to have my dynamic essay-as-rewriting in the inaugural issue of The Digital Review. 'The Future of / -Writing / -Vilém Flusser / +Language / +John Cayley' is my rewrite of Flusser's 1983-4 essay, written in English, 'The Future of Writing'. I made what I consider the minimal necessary changes to bring Flusser's thinking on writing in line with my own philosophy and practices of language. What is 'born-digital' in the TDR version is a literary-critical visualization of word-level 'diff' (as in the Unix command) exposing what this command, a utility of machine reading finds, formally, to be the textual differences between my rewrite and Flusser's essay.
• The paperback edition of Grammalepsy: essays on digital language art is out from Bloomsbury. It is now offered, directly, at a 10-20% discount, depending on format. It is still also available Open Access.
• In my last email newsround I was sorry to have left off notice of a great volume on experimental writing, edited by Georgina Colby, in which I have an essay. 'Reading Language Art in Digital Media: Reconfigurations of Experimental Practices' is in Reading Experimental Writing, edited by Georgina Colby, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019. pp. 185-204. Amongst other things, it discusses Johanna Drucker's excellent little book, The General Theory of Social Relativity.
• I'm not exactly sure why, but I've been asked to talk and write about translation on a number of occasions over the past couple of years. Well, I guess I do have some sense of why: people are concerned with issues surrounding machine translation (I don't have much to say on this except with regard to an overarching skepticism concerning text, computation, and 'what machines read' – see next item); and some wonder what I think it means to translate language-driven work in networked and programmable media. Well, there are notices about my essays on all this below (Is this becoming a 'blog' btw?) and then I also joined a panel for Brown's Translation Across Disciplines conference in February 2020. Videography for all panels is accessible from this link. I was on the last panel (Session 6). Much other good material at the conference. Check out the amazing stories of Stephanie van Reigersberg, for example (Session 4).
• A print version of Jan Baetens embarrassingly good and informative review of Grammalepsy is in Leonardo 53, no. 1 (February 2020): 100-101. And I missed, until recently, this shorter, but sharp and witty appreciation, for which I am very grateful: Cheesman, Tom. ‘Review of Grammalepsy: Essays on Digital Language Art by John Cayley.’ The Modern Language Review 114, no. 1 (October 2019): 846-848.
• I'm very happy that the lightly edited transcription of a conversation with Scott Rettberg has been published with such alacrity by the Electronic Book Review. On his last visit to Providence, Scott simply suggested that he wanted to talk with me and make a recording. I agreed and we conversed. It was a pleasure, and I hope the transcription still preserves something of that, along with a few of the inevitable slippages. At a heightened level of intensity ? You decide. Then if you're after more reading ...
• A couple of recently published essays, which I'm delighted are out in the world as chapters within books that I also highly recommend. ‘The Time of Tongues Is Past’ is in the paperback sampler accompanying David Jhave Johnston's monumental ReRites, and ‘[Mirroring] Events at the Sense Horizon: Translation over Time.’ (which discusses, amongst other things, a Babel Babble video by Nickolas Procopi) is in Prismatic Translation, edited by the estimable Matthew Reynolds of the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation centre.
• I'm delighted to be represented in the current exhibition of Kunsttempel, Kassel, Germany, curated by Friedrich Block. POESIS: Sprachkunst/Language Art, August 29–October 6, 2019, is "snapshot of international language art," the work of 63 artists from 17 countries which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the gallery and Block's p0es1s project. My contribution, deferred lest meaning hoard solidity will be displayed on a Fire HD 10 tablet and may also be accessed as a web app. (Change orientation and/or zoom your browser out to show the complete page.) Further documentation here. I am working toward offering this kind of ambient poetic work pre-installed on Fire tablets. Collectors may now contact me to arrange the purchase of a tablet configured with this (and selected other) ambient poetic works.
• ‘Making Waves in World Literature,’ chapter three in Jacob Edmond's recently published book: Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media, pp. 91-115 (New York: Columbia University Press) contains what must be his definitive discussion of my hypertext collaboration with Yang Lian Where the Sea Stands Still, set into his over-arching argument that complicates certain "world literature" accounts of (post)modernism. Edmond also provides fine analyses of some of my earliest work with digital language art, in wine flying, and of Poundian poetic influences on my own work, Yang Lian's, and our collaboration.
• To be with you was an occasional piece bubbling under when I was asked to perform at WordHack, December 2014. It has since been collected in the impressive, wide-ranging WordHack Anthology: 2014–2019, edited by the excellent Todd Anderson, along with some notes on Gideon Goldin's editor, char, that I used both to make and to perform the piece. To be with you was a precursor of The Listeners.
• hearing litoral voices / bearing literal traces my collaboration with Joanna Howard was shown July 11-17, 2019 at The Glucksman in Cork, Ireland in an exhibition, 'Peripheries: Electronic literature and new media art,' associated with the 2019 conference of the Electronic Literature Organization. The pdf version of this exhibition's catalogue is available here, and this link allows you to read the current web version of the piece.
• The presentation of my keynote, 'The Future of Language' is up on youtube. This is a writing/thinking-through of Vilém Flusser's 'The Future of Writing' (1983) for the Language Inter Networks conference organized by Erika Fulop and held at Lancaster University, UK, June 20-21, 2019.
• Blog post commission for Asymtote: ‘If I Am a Person ...’. Asymptote Blog Our shared world of language: reflections on “US” Poets Foreign Poets (2019).
• Delighted to have received my contributor's copy of an innovative, wide-ranging collection on translation and translation theory At translation’s edge, edited by Nataša Durovičová, Patrice Petro and Lorena Terando, and containing 'The translation of process' on pp. 31-59, for the print-based culture of reading.
• A new version of translation, at last reengineered for the web, was included in a marvelous exhibition, curated by Matthew Reynolds for the Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK. 'Babel: Adventures in Translation' brought together treasures from the collection and related work concerned with practices and theories of translation. It was on display throughout the Spring, 2019.
There are still problems with audio (which I will iron out eventually) when running under some browsers – iOS Safari in particular – but essentially the same version of translation in the exhibition can also be experienced by anyone suitably equipped online, and the development version will be found here.
Matthew Reynolds has also edited an excellent volume of essays on Prismatic Translation, forthcoming before end of 2019 from Legenda, Cambridge. A new essay by myself is included as, '[Mirroring] events at the sense horizon: translation over time'.
• Hard to believe, but I failed to provide news, here, of the publication in Sept 2018 of my selected essays on digital language art. Well, it happened. Grammalepsy: Essays on Digital Language Art. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781501335792. The link from the book's title is to the Bloomsbury site offering print editions. The persistent doi link will take you to an Open Access version of the entire book in Bloomsbury's Collections.
• My essay, 'Reading,' for 'The Trump Edition' Vol. 1 of Political Concepts is online, as of late July 2018! In December 2017, I was delighted and honored to be invited to give a paper on 'Reading' for the regular Political Concepts conference series. Video documentation of the 2017 conference panels are also available online, and here is the link to my panel on 'Reading' with, also, Lynne Joyrich on 'Television', moderated by Tim Bewes.
• Recent publications: one on the idea of a Distributed Gallery, based on Institutional Repositories like the Brown Digital Repository that will, one day, be part of the Scholarly Network; and an extended essay on aurature and the end of (electronic) literature, in the newly published Bloomsbury Handbook of Electronic Literature.
• Over the summer of 2017, I made significant changes to The Listeners pages on this website, with a lot of new documentation and some material which anyone following development of the work may find interesting and/or useful. An international translation project with a team working out of RIT in Rochester is helping to translate The Listeners into other registers and languages. Watch this space.
• In 'Reconfiguration: symbolic image and language art' I proposed that a special sense of reconfiguration is characteristic of a broad range of aesthetic practice for which computation – networked and programmable media – is compositionally significant. Reconfiguration is clearer and has better theoretical traction than 'new aesthetic', and it allows us to distinguish 'glitch' from, for example, deformation.
> RECONFIGURATIONISM is the new movement in computational art. <
The essay is published through an online open access journal in a special issue on The Poetics of Computation edited by Burt Kimmelman and Andrew Klobucar and has other good essays by Sandy Baldwin, Brian Stefans, Chris Funkhouser, Angela Ferraiolo, Jeff Johnson, Mark Marino, and Rod Wittig.
• At the end of 2015, the Portuguese scholar-practitioner Álvaro Seiça was in Providence, RI. Amongst other things, he conducted an interview with me, and posted the video, 'Rewriting the System', as one in a series of similar engagements with pioneers of language art in unconventional and, particularly, digital media.
• A fine book of interviews edited by Robert Simanowski, Digital Media and Digital Humanities has been published open access – July 2016 – and is downloadable from Open Humanities Press. I'm very pleased to be in the company of many luminaries including Johanna Drucker and Bernard Stiegler. My own interview with Roberto, extracted from the book, is available here.
• The Listeners version 2 was selected by Wire Magazine online as number 7 among The Ten Best Amazon Echo Skills for Loners.
• The Listeners, with much new documentation, is still a major focus of interest and energy for me.
At least my sidebar gives you the date when I actually did my website's 'news update'.
When do we update our websites and why?
Ah well ...