17 December 2013
I’m pleased to announce that The Literary Operator was featured in issue 1 of Maker World magazine – alongside lots of other great connected objects and technological art projects. Thanks especially to Kirsten for the excellent interview – despite being featured in a magazine about Maker Culture, it was a delight to spend so long talking about Queneau, the Oulipo, and the artistic ambitions of the project.
28 September 2013
Week 49 saw the launch of The Literary Operator, previously known as Sore around these parts. I’ve written about the project previously, but since then, it’s been displayed at Brighton Digital Late. It was really pleasing to see just how people engaged with it; some, fascinated by how it might work; some curious or frustrated by its quality of prose; some, still marvelling at its Spooky Action At A Distance. It cranked out prose all night, and made a lot of people smile.
Other than my trip to Brighton, I spent some time talking to PAN about a few issues around Hello Lamp Post going forward, and also set up a small piece of content-oriented work that’s known as Housedon. To finish the week: a few days off, hacking away on a personal project and seeing the sights in Edinburgh.
23 September 2013
Commissioned by Lighthouse for Brighton Digital Festival, the work interprets and remixes Spore #50 – one of Noon’s microscopic short stories, known as Spores – and manifests it as a functional object; our literary operator.
After the Babel Towers attack, lo-fi operators worked the edges of the language, forging new phrases from the fragments of literature. They filled boxes with word shards in the hope of recreating lost stories.
From Jeff’s original text, we slowly poked and explored the idea, ending up with this object; a working device, that takes books and attempts to generate more of them. It touches on Jeff’s work around remixing text – which he’s written about in Ghost on the B-Side – and some of my esoteric toys that explore generative prose, such as Markov Chocolates and its cousins. It is an object that is both entirely fictional, and entirely real. Not “design fiction”; just fiction.
It was an exciting project to build – lots of new territory to explore, materials to shape – and great to collaborate with Jeff, an author I’ve enjoyed for many, many years.
23 September 2013
Three main focuses for Week 48.
Firstly, bringing Sore into land. This week, that meant sourcing a few last elements for the installation, and working on a short film to promote the project. So a week of ordering books, composing music, and stitching a short film together. That’ll be out very shortly.
I also spent a day wrapping up Muncaster: decommissioning various services we no longer needed, and then spending the rest of the day analysing some data from the project. Nothing vastly complex, but useful to get a better picture of how people played with Hello Lamp Post, and also to be able to express more stories about the project to our partners.
And, finally, on Thursday, a short lunch about a brief piece of design work, now known as Hegdon: a few days of interaction design in the coming weeks, which will be a nice workout and change of pace
Week 48. Week 49 next: time to launch new work.
09 September 2013
Somewhat late weeknotes this week, owing to various travel and engagements.
Week 46 was largely focused on getting Sore to launch, and putting the final touches on a talk.
For the first part, that meant lots of what was called cutting and sticking at primary school – only this time I was armed with spraymount, mount-cutters, and a scalpel. Lots of edges to the installation to finish off. Also, a small amount of product photography, which necessitated rigging up the off-camera lighting around my dining table and trying to document the artefact itself.
This was so that the project could be previewed at Improving Reality, where it was decloaked as The Literary Operator: an art installation made as a collaboration with the writer Jeff Noon. Lighthouse have a brief page about it, and I hope to share more about it very shortly.
The reason I’ve not got a post about the Literary Operator this second is because of various travel: Brighton on Thursday/Friday (where I also stayed for dConstruct, which tickled some new thoughts in my head, and led to many lovely conversations with chums and the like), and I’m now writing this on a hotel bed in Norway. I’m in Oslo for Webdagene, where I’ll be delivering a talk called The Material World. You’ll be able to see it live on Tueday 10th September on the Webdagene website – 1215 BST, if you’re interested.
Week 46 was primarily about bringing both the Literary Operator and The Material World into land. The latter will be delivered on 10th September; the former will have its official launch at Brighton Digital Late on the 26th, at the Brighton Museum. Week 47 is spent in Norway, and come Week 48, I should be back in the world, bringing the Literary Operator’s installation to life.