Queerskins selected for inclusion in The Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 3

#tech #elit #queer Really pleased to be included in the next Electronic Literature Collection. If you haven’t had a chance to check  out Queerskins, try it in Chrome or Safari. Thanks as always to my collaborator Cyril Tsiboulski, interactive designer and co-founder of Cloudred Studio. Queerskins explores the nature of love and forgiveness through the story of a young gay physician from a rural Missouri Catholic family who dies of AIDS at the beginning of the epidemic. It consists of 40,000 words of diaristic text, two hours of audio monologues from five different characters, and over a hundred photos and videos curated from Flickr Commons and YouTube and beautiful little Fiip videos of L.A. by filmmaker Jarrah Gurrie.

queerskins screenshot 2

#MobileMayakovsky will be realized at CCI Fabrika artspace in Moscow Summer 2016

#MobileMayakovsky is a mobile lounge/library/workshop/performance space designed by architect Peter Franck. It is a public art project that brings the linguistic playfulness, exaggerated style and oblique political commentary inherent to
the manifesto into the digital age. Inspired by the life and poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky,  the project provides participants the opportunity to learn about, reflect upon, and be inspired by early Russian avant-garde artists, both their revolutionary artistic achievements and the often violent repression of their artistic freedom.  With the help of local artists, graphic designers, and poets, passersby will create their own manifestos, which will be printed on site,Tweeted, and performed. In the process, we hope that Russians will reclaim the avant-garde as a celebrated part of their history and creatively respond to current political, social and cultural conditions which stymie free artistic expression. Mayakovsky is a problematic figure in Russia who has been used/resurrected for many purposes. We are, in a sense, resurrecting him again, as a problematic symbol of rebellious creativity that was stifled for political purposes (Mayakovsky himself writing that he “stepped on the voice of his own song”.) The library offers visitors, especially younger people, the opportunity consider the Russian avant-garde  in all its complexities, and, then,  inspired and/or disturbed by this knowledge, to create their own manifestos that will be printed, tweeted and exhibited on site.

I realize the current atmosphere in Russia  may make this project problematic, but I do think of this as a celebration of that early age of creativity in Russia, which, whether Putin likes it or not, was truly revolutionary. Is there any promise of revolution, let alone utopia left in the world? Is there any thought that art might play a role in this? Probably not. For me,  Obama was the great hope for change which never came. My personal belief  post-Obama is that  change  will come incrementally with strangers working together temporarily to accomplish small tasks. And, yes, I still harbor the naive hope that art plays a critical role in this.

Atomic Vacation Makes First Cut for Creative Capital

Atomic Vacation combines a contemporary database-influenced narrative with

the emotional potency of oral history to generate spaces for actively

contemplating national identity, global citizenship, technology and

embodiment. While players explore Google landscapes of the American West,

visiting places of natural beauty like the Grand Canyon, as well as sites

of nuclear missile storage and testing, Shizuku, a robot girl from the

possible future, narrates the Pinnochio-esque story of her former life on

Earth. Along the journey, the player encounters archival objects (image,

video, sound and text)  from Cold War history (e.g. remarkably callous

State Department films about HIroshima, Paul Robeson’s  testimony

about being considered “less than an American” before the House

Un-American Activities Committee, etc.) and the present-day (e.g. DARPA

research on “narrative neurobiology,” a rescued egg-farm

chicken’s first walk on grass, the Japanese news report about a

prototype robot girl). Players can access other players’

contributions of data (text, sound, and image) offered in response to

in-game challenges, and contribute their own.  Part multimedia fiction,

part historical archive, part community art project (players earn points

for tweets and for adding media to the game) AV allows players to interact

with their present-day selves from the vantage point of a post-apocalyptic

future. The object of the game is to prevent that future from becoming a

reality and to engage players in small, but personally meaningful acts of

archiving, contemplation, and aspiration. The final project will be an

Android app with narrative extensions housed and distributed through

Twitter.