Creative Works

Hearts and Minds (2014-2016)

Hearts and Minds (2014-2016)

Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project (2014-2016). With Roderick Coover, Arthur Nishimoto, and Daria Tsoupikova. An immersive narrative project originally developed for the CAVE2 virtual reality theatre. Based on interviews that Dr. John Tsukayma conducted with American soldiers who participated in or witnessed acts of abusive violence towards detainees in the counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan during the early 2000s, Hearts and Minds explores the circumstances and consequences of battlefield torture and its effects on those who participated in it. Subsequent to performances of the work in the CAVE2, it has been ported to other platforms that will be publicly released in 2016 (including a mac app for cinematic experience, a personal VR version for Oculus Rift, a web player version, and a mobile version for iPad and Android). The tablet version will be released in 2016 along with a package of essays and pedagogical materials situating the work in technological, artistic, political, and social contexts. Hearts and Minds has been exhibited at venues including:

  • Electronic Visualization Lab (CAVE2 performances), University of Illinois, Chicago (June-July 2014).
  • IEEE 2014 Visualization Conference (Art show installation and short paper), Paris.
  • Literature, Media, Sound conference, Aarhus University (November 2013).
  • Paris 8 University (Cinematic performance), (November 2014).
  • Human Rights/Human Wrongs International Film Festival, Oslo (Cinematic performance and panel discussion) (Feburary 13, 2015).
  • IEEE 2015 VR Conference (Video), Arles.
  • ACM SIGGRAPH 2015 (Poster session), Los Angeles.
  • HASTAC 2015 Conference (Cinematic Performance), Michigan State University.
  • 2015 International Society for Electronic Arts Conference (Presentation and paper), Vancouver.


Toxi*City (2013-2015)

Toxi*City (2013-2015)

Toxi*City (2013-2015). With Roderick Coover et al. A feature-length database-driven combinatory climate change film about toxic waste sites on the Delaware River Estuary, coastal flooding, and hurricanes. A layer of near-future speculative narrative is intermixed with factual stories of deaths from Hurricane Sandy in a film that regenerates in waves over the course of a 45-minute cycle before reiterating a new version of the film. A 6-minute video sample of the film is available online as well as a more detailed press kit. The project has been exhibited both as a feature length film and in museum exhibitions as an installation at venues including:

  • Museum of the Chemical Heritage Foundation year-long exhibition, Sensing Change, (July 2013-June 2014).
  • Brown University’s Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab Video Wall (2013).
  • Literature, Media, Sound conference, Aarhus University (November 2013).
  • University of Illinois-Chicago’s Cyber Commons Video Wall (July 2014).
  • ELO 2014: Disperse the Light Electronic Writing and Media Arts Festival, Milwaukee (June 2014).
  • Bergen Public Library (Septemer 2014).
  • Flow & Fracture Ecopoetics conference, Université Libre de Bruxelles (November 2014).
  • Oslo Poesiefilm Festival (January 2015).
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago (May 2014).
  • Landscapes of the Anthropocene exhibition, Innova Gallery, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (March-July 2015).
  • The Human Side of Climate Change conference, University of Bergen (October 2015).
  • ASANOR 2015 conference: The Machine in the Garden, University of Stavanger (October 2015).
  • Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Media Studies Convocation (October 2015).
  • Santa Monica Contemporary Art Museum, Barcelona (January-April 2016).


Three Rails Live (2012)

Three Rails Live (2012)

Three Rails Live (2012). Coproduced with Nick Montfort and Roderick Coover. A generative film in which environmental destruction is represented through the personal dissolution of the film’s narrator. Micronarratives by Rettberg are matched via a semi-randomized algrorithmic process with film segments by Coover and “perverbs” by Montfort to result in a series of combinatory narrative films. In 2013, the generative film was translated into French and featured in the Quebec-based journal BleuOrange. A low-res web-viewable version of Three Rails Live is available online. The project has been exhibited at venues including:

  • Kelly Writer’s House, University of Pennsylvania (October 2011).
  • Brown University (November 2011).
  • &Now Festival, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (June 2012).
  • ELO 2012 Media Arts show, West Virginia University library (June 2012).
  • places/traces/stories exhibition, Rom 8 Gallery, Bergen (October 2012).
  • Rowan University Museum of Art (Fall 2013).
  • Literature, Media, Sound conference, Aarhus University (November 2013).
  • “Les littératures numériques d’hier à demain” (French translation). Bibliothèque Nationale de France François-Mitterand, Paris (September 2013).
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago (May 2014).
  • University of Chicago, Graduate Poetics Seminar (May 2014).
  • FILE Electronic Language International Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil (Oct-Dec. 2014).
  • Rhinocéros Gallery, Paris (November 2014).
  • Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Media Studies Convocation (October 2015).


The Last Volcano (2011)

The Last Volcano (2011)

Katastrofetrilogen/Catastrophe Trilogy (2011-2013). Coproduced by Roderick Coover (direction) and Scott Rettberg (writing) the Katastrofetrilogen/Catastrophe Trilogy (2011-2013) presents tragic events in Norway’s past frame, personal encounters, and understandings of imminent disaster. Filmed in Norway and the USA, the three short films tackle questions of language and memory. They ask how historical events become woven into contemporary news cycles that both excite collective anxieties and at the same time subsume very real horrors into familiar narratives. Det siste utbruddet/The Last Volcano recalls the horrors of an Icelandic volcano that once caused poison gasses to devastate Norway. In Katter Og Rotter/ Rats and Cats, a first telephone date between an American scientist and Norwegian woman becomes into woven with the narrative of the black plague. With Norsk flodbølge / Norwegian Tsunami, a conversation between two workers on a North Atlantic oilrig interweaves historical and contemporary flood narratives. The Last Volcano and Rats and Cats have been translated into French and Russian. Web-viewable versions of Last Volcano and Rats and Cats were published online in Hyperrhiz (2015). Some of the venues where these films have been presented include:

  • Cinematek, Bergen, (May 2010).
  • Ethnographic Terminalia exhibition, New Orleans (Nov-Dec. 2010).
  • E-Poetry International Digital Language-Media-Arts Festival, SUNY Buffalo (May 2011).
  • 3rd Sadho Poetry Film Festival, New Delhi (November 2011).
  • Instants Vidéo Numériques et poétiques, Marseilles (December 2011).
  • &Now Festival, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (June 2012).
  • Interrupt Festival at AS220, Providence (2012).
  • Bergen Open Film Festival, Bergen (May 2014).
  • 101 Festival at the Leningrad Centre, St. Petersburg, Russia (April 2015).


After Parthenope

After Parthenope

After Parthenope. Scott Rettberg (2011). A work of generative fiction set in and about the city of Naples, Italy. The work is generative in the sense that the computer program, authored in Processing, is writing sentences on the fly based on a trigram structure, constructing a narrative in a loose form of episodic structure, based on a conversation between a contemporary traveler and a potential paramour as it references the troubled history of the host city. After Parthenope was exhibited at the OLE (Officina di Litteratura Elettronica) Exhibition at Palazzo Arti Napoli.


Frequency Poetry Generator

Frequency Poetry Generator

Frequency. Scott Rettberg (2009). A constrained writing project and poetry generator. Frequency is a program that recombines 2000 lines of poetry written using only the 200 most frequently-used words in the English language. The above-linked project is a demonstration set of 2000 generated poems, made for the 2009 Grand Text Auto exhibition at the Kraennert Center for Arts at the University of Illinois, Champaign. The poetry generator itself is a Ruby program that runs from a terminal interface. Frequency will be published in The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume Three (2016).


Tokyo Garage

Tokyo Garage

Tokyo Garage poetry generator. Scott Rettberg (2009). A remix of Nick Montfort’s “Taroko Garage” poetry generator, for the imaginary city. The act of appropriating and Montfort’s work was subsequently repeated by many other authors, to the extent that “Taroko Gorge Remixes” have been a identified as a genre of digital literature. Tokyo Garage will be published in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume Three (2016).


Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1

Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1

The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume One (2006). N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, and Stephanie Strickland, eds. An edited CD-ROM and online anthology of selected works of electronic literature. College Park, MD: The Electronic Literature Organization. The Electronic Literature Collection established a new publishing model for electronic literature, in the form of a stable, supported edited anthology including a large selection of work. Appropriate for library collection and distribution as well as online access, the ELC has become core to the teaching and appreciation of digital writing internationally. Subsequent collections have been released in 2011 and Volume Three is planned for 2016.


Implementation

Implementation

Implementation (2005, 2011). Nick Montfort and Scott Rettberg. Implementation was written collaboratively and sent serially through the mail in the form of eight roughly chronological installments, each consisting of texts on thirty stickers. The stickers were also made available online in different paper sizes, so that people could print them out on standard sheets of business-size shipping labels. Participants attached stickers to public surfaces around the world, so that whoever happened to wander by the stickers could read them. Some of these placements of stickers were photographed by participants, and the photographs were sent back to be archived on the Implementation website. In 2010, Implementation was re-implemented by photographers around the world and a 270-page coffee-table book edition was published on Blurb. An archive of several thousand photographs of the project has also been published on Flickr


Kind of Blue

Kind of Blue

Kind of Blue (2003). Scott Rettberg. An email novel that forms a kind of sequel to Rob Wittig’s Blue Company. The novel originally sent out in emails to a small group of readers over the course of the summer of 2002, and later published on the web as an email archive in August 2003 by frAme Journal of Culture and Technology (August 2003). Set during the paranoid period immediately following the 9/11 attacks, the novel follows a group of characters ranging from an unemployed used car salesman to a corporate executive to a buddhist monk in capturing the sense of chaotic readjustment in a world seemingly going mad. The novel was an experiment in developing an email-native fictional narrative and written according to time-driven constraints: very scene was written as a direct-address email message between characters, each scene was originally published immediately after it was written, and the time frame of the novel was the same as the period in which its first readers were encountering it.


The Meddlesome Passenger

The Meddlesome Passenger

The Meddlesome Passenger (2002). Scott Rettberg, illustrations by Shelley Jackson. Published in Beehive 05:01. (Internet Explorer required). A metafiction about travel, authorship, and the traversal of texts, The Meddlesome Passenger explored a new use of hypertext links to launch time-based paratexts that reflected and commented on the core nodes of the story, each of which symbolises a year in the life of a dead author. David Foster Wallace called this text “caviar for the general.” Aspects of this work unfortunately no longer function, as it was developed using DHTML and early javascript specific to Internet Explorer.


The Unknown

The Unknown

The Unknown, a hypertext novel (1998-2002). William Gillespie, Frank Marquardt, Scott Rettberg, and Dirk Stratton. The co-winner of the 1999 trAce/AltX International Hypertext competition, judged by Robert Coover. The Unknown is also published in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume Two (2011). The Unknown is widely regarded as one of the classic works of web-based hyperfiction, and is frequently cited in the scholarship of electronic literature. The Unknown is a collaborative hypertext novel written during the turn of the millennium and principally concerning a book tour that takes on the excesses of a rock tour. Notorious for breaking the “comedy barrier” in electronic literature, The Unknown replaces the pretentious modernism and self-conciousness of previous hypertext works with a pretentious postmodernism and self-absorption more satirical in nature. It is an encyclopedic work and a unique record of a particular period in American history, the moment of irrational exuberance that preceded the dawn of the age of terror.