eWriting syllabus - Fall 09

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

instructor: John Cayley
office hours: Tuesdays 9-11 and by appointment
68 1/2 Brown Street, rm 205

first meeting Sept 9, 2008 . location tba
Wednesdays 3-5.20pm

    back to: eWriting - Fall 09

    Pages where you add comments on the readings:

1. (Sept 9) - introduction

  • from 'electronic literature' to 'writing digital media'
    • what is electronic literature? digital literature? writing digital media?
  • writing digital media, a provisional specification:

language-driven work that requires one or more of the following properties/methods and
inscribes these properties/methods into the work using programmable and networked writing tools:

  1. hypertextuality (in Ted Nelson's sense)
  2. intermedia/transmedia (using digital encoding to cross-refer from medium to medium)
  3. temporality (that is enabled or generated by digital media, e.g. animation)
  4. expressive processing
  5. network-enabled collaborative/social composition/performance 


2. (Sept 16) - media

  • delivery media | compositional media
  • [traditional] written media | print media | textual media
  • networked media | programmable media | writing in networked and programmable media
  • programming media (V-N) | programming language (NP) | programming language (V-N) | programming the signifier | programmed signification
  • writing media? Which media? What genre? (Do you actually have to come up with determinate answers?)


  • Harpold, Terry. "Hypertext." Glossalalia. Eds. Julian Wolfreys and Harun Karim Thomas. New York: Routledge, 2003. 113-26.
  • Christopher Funhouser's IBM Poem Template, based on Williams.
  • Make an 'ultimate' or an 'IBM' poem, or a similarly structured short piece.

3. (Sept 23) - atoms

  • genre decisions? | project ideas? | working groups?
  • atoms | linguistic atoms
    • atoms in critical thought and in programmatological systems
    • programming as manipulation of atomic elements
  • what you will do for midterm, either:
    • create a short piece that has some sort of formal or imaginative structure that would at least suggest the capability to program its readers (as software programs a machine)
    • develop a working proof-of-concept for your final project


4. (Sept 30) - form

  • further discussion around the formulation of ideas for final projects
  • form in writing | form when writing digital media
  • poethics | radical formalism | engaged formalism
  • OuLiPo | Fluxus | too heavy on the poetics ?


5. (Oct 7) - processing

  • introduction to Processing (P5) and expressive processing in writing digital media
  • further discussion around the formulation of ideas for final projects


6. (Oct 14) - code

  • discussion of relationship of code and text
  • the code is not the text (unless it is the text)
  • code and proprietary software, development environments and systems
  • first project presentations for class critique


7 (Oct 21) - interrupt

  • project idea presentations and class critiques


  • McCaffery, Steve. 'Introduction,' in Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics. Evanstown, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2001, pp. xv-xxiii.

8. (Oct 28) - paratext paragram protosemantic

  • relationship of paratext to programming
  • agree schedule for workshop presentations and critiques


  • Piringer, Joerg, 'Nam Shub - a text creation and performance environment'
    (If you enjoy 'high-concept' science fiction, you might like to have a look at Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash to which Piringer refers for the name of his software and some measure of its inspiration/context.)
  • Install Nam Shub and use it to to produce a brief linguistic text manipulation that has an aesthetic / significance and affect.

9. (Nov 4) - Nam Shub

  • Joerg Piringer's NamShub and the questions or language and materiality
  • regular project presentations and critiques
  • agree schedule for public presentations


10. (Nov 11) - aesthetic considerations

  • regular project presentations and critiques


11. (Nov 18) - playing against the symbolic

  • discussion of the consumption of the symbolic by digital media
  • regular project presentations and critiques


  • Cayley, John. "Time Code Language: New Media Poetics and Programmed Signification." New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories. Eds. Adalaide Morris and Thomas Swiss. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006. 307-33.
  • work on final projects

November 25 Thanksgiving Recess - no class

12. (Dec 2) - time

  • textuality is temporal
    • the (re)structuring of human time
  • regular project presentations and critiques


    • (optional) Derrida, Jacques. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. 1995. Trans. Eric Prenowitz. Religion and Postmodernism. Ed. Mark C. Taylor. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • Produce a short text that restructures ((the(culture of)) human) time (for its reader and/or writer). Use either conventionally and/or digitally mediated form(s).
  • work on final projects

13. (Dec 9) - final critiques

  • final critiques in preparation for presentations next week


  • prepare for final public presentations

Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.