[-empyre-] repeat of hello to empyre

Since I didn't use the reply function initially some of you may have 'lost'
my original post. For this reason I paste it below again but please ignore
this if it is of no use or it is not relevant.  Some of you may be
interested in looking at inflect www.ce.canberra.edu.au/inflect.


Hi everybody and many thanks to Melinda and Christina for inviting me to be
a guest on the list on the topic of electronic poetry.

My own background is in music, literature, performance and intermedia. I
worked as a musician (violinist) for many years until I became a writer and
academic. I have a strong interest in all the arts, their relationships to
each other, and the use of new technologies, and am a member of the
multimedia creative ensemble austraLYSIS (www.australysis.com).  I identify
with the experimental poetry movement, though my writing is eclectic and
cross-genre: it draws on a range of styles (I don't want to get locked into
any one approach).

 I have written two volumes for the page which involve poetry, short prose
and performance texts (the more recent being Keys Round her Tongue, Soma
Publications 2000.).  I've always been very interested in taking poetry off
the page into other dimensions, and I've been strongly involved with
musician, Roger Dean, in performance and studio work which brings together
text, sound and new technologies. You can hear two examples of these "sound
techno dramas" on the web. Both were commissioned by the ABC Listening Room
program: they are Returning the Angles
http://jacketmagazine.com/07/smith-hazel.html  and The Erotics of Gossip at
http://www.abc.net.au/classic/lroom/stories/s333665.htm. Another short
piece, the Musecal Detective, is on the Alt X site at
http://www.altx.com/audio/networkvoices/. My previous performance work is
also available on the CDs, Poet Without Language, and Nuraghic Echoes. In
this work I initially focussed, amongst other things, on the construction
of new languages, and the rhythmic notation of words. More recently, with
Roger Dean, I have also been interested in the creation of 'voicescapes'
(that is multidimensional and multidirectional projections of the voice
into space, which create their own kinds of cultural geographies and
identities). The voicescape includes 'sonic cross dressing': the
technological manipulation of the pitch and timbre of the voice along the
continuum from female to male.  I have discussed these concepts in a
forthcoming article, written jointly with Roger, for the journal
Performance Research.

You can also see some of my collaborative webwork at www.australysis.com
and also in infLect. (see below) These pieces include Wordstuffs,
www.abc.net.au/arts/stuff-art/ stuff-art99/stuff98/10.htm with Greg White
and Roger Dean,  Intertwingling with Roger Dean at
http://www.scc.rutgers.edu/however/v1_5_2001/current/special-feature and
The Egg The Cart The Horse The Chicken with Roger Dean at
www.ce.canberra.edu/inflect.  Another piece, Walking the Faultlines (1998),
is available on a CD Rom, Cyberquilt, issued by the Computer Music
Association in 1999.   In this context we have been particularly interested
in aphoristic and mixed genre writing, the visual uses of language,
animated text, and interactive sound (you will find an example of this in
Wordstuffs).  A more recent collaboration between Anne Brewster, Roger Dean
and myself called Prosethetic Memories, with algorithmic programming in
VRML by Roger Dean, has been performed several times in public, and will be
performed at the DAC conference, but is not up on the web yet. I have
written a number of articles on hypermedia, including one written jointly
with Roger Dean, The Egg The Cart The Horse The Chicken: Cyberwriting,
Sound, Intermedia at http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2002/1/01/index.asp

 I am currently writing a book, The Writing Experiment, which evolves
systematic creative writing strategies for tertiary level students with an
emphasis on experimental work, symbiosis between creative work and critical
theory, and includes chapters on performance and hypermedia.  I am also
developing a project with Roger Dean on interactive narrativity, in which
reader input changes the direction of the text, of which I can say more

I recently edited the first volume of infLect at
www.ce.canberra.edu.au/inflect. InfLect is a journal of multimedia writing
and an initiative of the University of Canberra Centre for Writing at
www.ce.canberra.edu.au/writing. It includes work by Jim Andrews (US),
and dane (Australia), komninos (Australia), Ana Marie Uribe (South
America), Jason Nelson (US), Thomas Swiss, Motomichi  Nakamura and Robot
Friend (US), Hazel Smith and Roger Dean (Australia), and Brian Kim Stefans
(US).  infLect isn't a journal only dedicated to electronic poetry: we
invite any kind of multimedia writing. (However I would agree with Loss
Glazier that the materiality of poetry makes it particularly interesting
for work on the web). We have been interested in including work in infLect
which is a real blending of multimedia elements and which, where possible,
employs sound (since this usually seems to be the poor relation in
multimedia) I have a number of plans for the future of infLect, and would
particularly like to include more work by women.

Obviously I would be interested in your reactions to infLect. In addition,
some of the issues I would like to discuss and hear from you about while I
am a guest are:

* the relationship of electronic poetry, visual art or sound to other
experimental poetry movements. The majority of experimental work in poetry
is still page-orientated, and some experimental poets are either
indifferent or hostile to electronic work.  Why do you think this is the
case, what do you think the consequences of it are, and how do you think it
can be overcome? I believe that the situation may be less extreme in the
sonic and visual arts.

* the issue of what actually happens to language, and what transformations
it undergoes,  when it is juxtaposed with the  visual and  sonic in
multimedia work.   How can we theorise this process?  I have theorised it
in a number of articles as "semiotic exchange": this is the idea that media
when juxtaposed take on each others the characteristics and are able to do
this because they share some semiotic properties.

* manipulation of the voice, both in performance and through multitracking,
sampling and other techniques to  create voicescapes? What are the artistic
and cultural effects of this?

* language as visual object? How far have the possibilities of this been
explored in electronic poetry?

* the way in which (those of you who are practitioners)  think your 'off
the page' or web work relates to your on the page/on the canvas /live
performance work. Does each inform the other?  Do you produce the same work
in different forms, some in print media some not?

* gender issues-I suppose this is an old chestnut but there still seems to
be a gender imbalance amongst multimedia artists. How can this be

* The relevance of the concept of improvisation to your work, and to the
practices of electronic poetry writing. Here I am defining improvisation,
as Roger Dean and I did on in our book Improvisation, Hypermedia and the
Arts Since 1945, as the creation of work in real time without subsequent
revision.  Do you feel the concept of improvisation is relevant to your
creative processes?

* strategies for teaching electronic poetry to students with very little
technological know how.

Finally, due to my commitments and absences my subsequent posts may be
intermittent and short, but I will try to be as responsive as poss.  I also
receive posts in the digest version which means there is some delay.
However, I hope most of the discussion comes from you!


Dr. Hazel Smith
Senior Research Fellow
School of Creative Communication
Deputy Director
University of Canberra Centre for Writing
Editor of Inflect http://www.ce.canberra.edu.au/inflect
University of Canberra
ACT 2601
phone 6201 5940
More about my creative work at

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