Atomic Vacation Manga

We are also really pleased to have identified an amazing dojinshi manga artist to collaborate with us on making manga of Shizuku’s remembered/imagined life on Earth and her relationship with her teacher, Rae.

Karen is an intense and incredibly talented young woman. She drew the whole time I was talking with her. These are some of the initial sketches of Shizuku. Right now our plan is to do traditional black and white drawings with certain details of Shizuku’s dress rainbow colored. Love this. These comics will be viewable in the VR game and will also be for sale at the online souvenir shop at the end of the world.

“Storytelling at the End of the World: Cinema and Narrativity in Virtual Reality”

Just got word that the paper I gave in March at Université Paris 8 : “Storytelling at the End of the World: Cinema and Narrativity in Virtual Reality” has been accepted for publication in Transatlantica American Studies Journal. In it, I discuss work by some awesome female artists including Rachel Rossin, Maria Menken, and Keren Cytter among others. Happy to share it with anyone interested.

Progress Atomic Vacation

VR environment:  we were successful in creating the environment for the VR experience (after negotiations, we were granted a two hour shoot at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, collaborated with a photography graduate student and film lighting person to shoot a 1950’s kitchen installed at the museum, stitched together 200 photos to create a panorama which was then imported into Unity as internal wall paper for a sphere and photo shopped a computer graphic imagery living room onto this space. Although not clearly evident from the walk through video—this environment challenges conventional notions of scale and Cartesian perspective —without making users nauseated. )


  1. Spatial map and script completed based on the completed environment
  2. Initial conversation with female manga artist to create an avatar/manga character of Shizuku and to create a hard copy “serial” comic based on Shizuku’s life on Earth (see script from which artist will work) that will be for “sale” in the souvenir shop.
  3. Purchase and scanning of vintage 3D objects for use in VR environment and for sale in installation/pop-up souvenir shop. 
  4.   App development (cross-platform capable) with Klynt 3 software in progress

This month: Scanning of actress Tomi Heady, who plays “Rae”, completion of dialogue script, and recording of dialogue. We will then begin to animate her using USC’s soft body software. In addition, we have been Skyping with Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory University of Osaka to negotiate 3D scanning of one of his lifelike gynoid robots that would be animated via this software and put into a 360 CGI environment in conversation with Tomi  Heady as Rae.

Keynote on Worlds and Technology

I was asked to give a keynote address for a workshop at Université Paris 8 on technology and our perception of space-time. This is a topic dear to my heart. It’s one of the critical themes of Atomic Vacation and this really gave me the opportunity to work on putting so many disparate ideas into a more or less coherent form. This is a  kind of mind map of the talk. I could teach a whole class on this easily. talktalk

Flying out to Pittsburgh==Atomic Vacation Progress Update

Progress–I fly out to Pittsburgh tomorrow to shoot 360 panoramas and room scan two 1950s rooms installed at the Heinz Historical Center. I am working with a grad student from CMU and a film lighting professional to get the best possible photo panorama to use as our VR environment. Also, ebay shopping for real objects that I will scan with my Structure Sensor and import into the game environment. These will then be used as part of an installation. Right now bidding on phone, t.v. and radio. I already got a phonograph with kids 45 records including “Mr. Bunny and the Rainbow”. Needs a new needle but turntable works!

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This week:

Spatial script for Atomic Vacation–nearly complete. Below is an image with only a few elements.  Audio is a major part of scene 1. Raw audio is all complete. Most video is edited, most gif’s have been curated.

Attended workshop on Kazuo Ohno’s work (Butoh dance) at The Japan Society with actress Tomi Heady (who plays Rae). Amazing mix of mime, robot, and human. This is going to inform our filming of the memory rooms for scene 1. I signed up for workshops at DCTV with the goal of filming Tomi in front of green screen in December and importing her into CGI environments.

Heinz History Center gave it’s okay for shooting 360 panoramas and room scanning their 1950s installation. This will hopefully happen some time in October. fullsizerender-2


“We Have Always Been Digital,” the Show I Curated of Interactive Works and Performance of Electronic Lit and Poetry Heads to the Renowned Experimental Arts Center–The Kitchen —in NYC, September 10th. 1-5:30 PM

we have always been digital photoHere is a link to the short piece I wrote for The Kitchen blog.

Aug 29, 2016

If we define “analog” as a continuous variable which has no “truth” function, no negative, and no zero, and, “digital” as information composed of discrete values or states, then, moving from analog to digital requires not merely difference, but distinction. One is not equal to zero, human is not equal to machine, and there is nothing in between. Moreover, in so far as language involves digitizing our analog experience, whether we scratch a word on a stone tablet or “process” it with software, we have always been digital.

In We Have Never Been Modern , Bruno Latour argues that modern civilization has secularized rituals of purification to create boundaries between “nature” and “culture,” “human” and “thing,” even as we construct hybrid systems that mix politics, art, technology, and biology. Similarly, language participates in and perpetuates divisions even as it performs “the work of translation.” Electronic literature is uniquely situated to explore and reveal this. Although, like conventional literature, it offer users the opportunity to develop a critical awareness through content, electronic literature also reveals through form and process—by making manifest what Donna Haraway calls, “the translation of the world into a problem of coding”.

“Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools for recrafting our bodies…Furthermore, communications sciences and modern biologies are constructed by a common move—the translation of the world into a problem of coding…” — Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto

Etymologically, the word “code” relates both to law and, through the Latin “codex,” to the book. As Marshall McLuhan points out in Understanding Media: Extensions of Man , written phonetic language offered early civilizations the potential for abstraction, universality, and transferability. He argues that without this, the “objective” disciplines of science and history could not have emerged. If the purity of these practices is now in question, (making us again, in Latour’s terminology, “pre-modern,”) this has occurred simultaneously with a revolution in communication. Looking at the origins of the word “code,” it is not surprising that games, with their rules that operate outside the law, poetry, with its use of language that operates outside of conventional syntax, computer code that creates and manifests as a language, machine-body gestures, via which we and our computers now read and write, and “books” that go beyond the page are key devices in electronic literature.

The salient question vis-a-vis electronic literature is not analogue vs. digital, but how we, as Haraway’s “cyborgs” or Marshall McLuhan’s “extended” bodies, communicate. Like Alan Turing’s “imitation game,” the importance of electronic literature lies less in who or what is doing the thinking and writing, (human, machine or both), and more in its capacity to procedurally explore our evolving relationship to language and, in so doing, to challenge the very notion of what “human” means.