Judy Malloy, Editor

Scott Rettberg
After Parthenope
Software: Processing.

After Parthenope Authoring Screencast from Scott Rettberg on Vimeo.

A Chicago native who now lives in Norway, Scott Rettberg is Associate Professor of Digital Culture in the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen. Beginning with the collaboratively created The Unknown, his innovative works of fiction and poetry have explored digital narrative structures, and he is the author or co-author of novel-length works of electronic literature including in addition to The Unknown, Kind of Blue, and Implementation. His recent work also includes Frequency poems: poems produced with the Frequency poetry generator.

Scott Rettberg's work has been exhibited at the Beall Center in Irvine California, the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, and The Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, among other online and art venues in the United States and Europe.

Rettberg is the co-founder and served as the first Executive Director of the non-profit Electronic Literature Organization and is currently Project Leader of the HERA-funded collaborative research project ELMCIP: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice.

Created for and presented at the 2011 Officina del Litterature Electronica exhibition in Naples, Scott Rettberg's After Parthenope has a central focus on the myth of Parthenope, a story which plays an important part in the culture of Naples. The work is generative, using artist-derived constructs, grammatical mapping and randomization algorithms to create a poetic narrative that is never the same. In the screencast above, which is his Authoring Software statement, he explains how After Parthenope was created with Processing, an open source programming language that functions both as an environment for learning computer programming in a visual context and as a tool for the creation of new media works of art and literature.

In addition to showing the actual code, he details how -- working with information about the culture of Naples and trigrammic phrases, among other devices -- he wrote the poetic narrative data which is generated to form After Parthenope.

In the future he might try do things that are more episodic, i.e. create a string of episodes with the same framework, Rettberg notes, but he really enjoys working with this type of electronic literature. You put a lot of work into programming, he concludes, "but at the end of it when you've done the work, and when you've worked with the variables, and when you come up with a sort of sense of what type of narrative experience you're prepared to have, the work really surprises you..."

For more information about Scott Rettberg, visit his website at http://retts.net/

Scott Rettberg: After Parthenope
After Parthenope is a generative variable fiction set in Naples, Italy. A man and a woman meet in a Naples caffetteria. They have a conversation recalling the origin myth of the city. What follows is the man's memories, and they are never the same twice. The story cycles after a time, offering new variations. The generative fiction was produced for the 2011 Officina del Litterature Electronica exhibition in Naples.

The creation of this work, which was made in Processing in January 2011, is described in a screencast, (15:54) available above or at http://vimeo.com/21116389

Authoring Software


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