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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors
3. Granulation, page 1 of 23
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"Plaintext Performance" by Bjørn Magnhildøen

The e-lit piece I selected for this week's assignment is Norwegian artist Bjørn Magnhildøen's text-based "Plaintext Performance," a fascinating exploration of our unfamiliarity with the little-viewed page source side of the web. The work, a randomized sequence of numbers, file folder lists, text art, and semi-coherent phrases that scroll slowly down a white screen, was originally performed in 2006 at the Center for Literary Computing in West Virginia. As stated in the Electronic Literature Collection’s description of the piece, the static "performance" version available online was exhibited in London at the Tate Modern later the same year.

Author: Alyssa McLeod
Word Count: 97
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Discussion of "'Plaintext Performance' by Bjørn Magnhildøen"

Accidental Collaborators

While writing this analysis of Bjørn Magnhildøen's "Plaintext Performance," I found myself grasping for the appropriate terms. Should I refer to this piece as "e-lit," or as new media art? Should I describe the piece's audience as readers, viewers, or both? Does the piece as it exists online qualify as a performance, or is simply a recording of Magnhildøen's original, "autographic" performance at the Center for Literary Computing in 2006?

These terminology problems address the larger issue of the relationship between people and the technology they use, something "Plaintext Performance" illustrates through its oddly jarring blend of automated movement and interactivity. Are we passive receivers of information, or do we collaborate with the programs we use to create art, scholarly analysis, or videos on our computers? This exercise in granulating e-lit made me reflect on the workflow assignment we completed in the second week of class. I do not have as much control over my own work as I might think.

Author: Alyssa McLeod
Word Count: 161

Posted on 28 August 2012, 9:46 pm by Alyssa McLeod  |  Permalink

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