ELO 2012: Electrifying Literature / Affordances and Constraints

In which I make my first foray into the wilds of West Virginia.

During the recent K&D Stylings North American Tour, I took a detour to attend the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) 2012 conference: Electrifying Literature / Affordances and Constraints, which was held at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a detour as the second leg of my itinerary but WGAF. Anyways, I also presented a paper at the conference, and that’s what this post is really about.

The title of my presentation was suitably garbled: “Why ‘But is it e-lit?’ is a ridiculous question: the case for online journals as organic, evolving works of digital literature”. If you’re interested, you can read the full abstract.

A close up of the actual audience for my ELO presentation.

As you can see from the image above, my audience was vast. Again, I tell a squeaky little lie. This is what the auditorium looked like ten minutes before my panel started. Which was still at the godless hour of 8.30am on Saturday 23 June 2012.

Thankfully, a few hardy souls ended up arriving to witness me, Alexandra Saemmer and Clara Fernandez-Vara go through the motions.

Overall, I was happy with my presentation, which was on the subject of Cordite Poetry Review, the journal of which I used to be the Managing Editor, and its status (or otherwise) as a work of electronic literature.

I don’t have much to say about the content of the presentation itself, but hope I’ll be able to draw something coherent together for the EBR thread dedicated to the conference.

The conference itself was really inspiring—although as usual it just wasn’t possible to catch everything I wanted to see, even for an academic community as small and well-defined as the e-lit scene.

Highlights for me included Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux’s brilliant discussion of Dwarf Fortress, the goofy UnderAcademy College ‘panel’, the Taroko Gorge remix panel, Stephanie Strickland and Nick Montfort’s presentation about code commenting in Sea and Spar Between and Florian Cramer’s provocative keynote speech.

I also really enjoyed taking a few days out from an otherwise manic three city tour——NYC, Montreal and Chicago in less than three weeks: never again!——to experience the … serenity? … of Morgantown.

So my personal highlights included an impromptu country hoe-down at the local brew pub, the quaint old fraternity and sorority buildings on campus and … most of all … the infamous Morgantown PRT!

Anyway, you can listen to my presentation below. Comments welcome, as ever!


About the author

David Prater is an Australian-born writer, editor and parent. His interests include mince pies, ice hockey and Joy Division.

View his full biography.

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