[-empyre-] DAC and other matters

I am back form the DAC conference (arrived in just about an hour ago) and
thought I should say hello again. I will shortly respond to any posts that
have come in that need a reply!  I  hope this coming week that I can ask
geni, Marjorie, Roger and others to put in their bit about electronic
poetry, their own work, or other matters. And it would be great if empyre
listers who were present at the DAC conference could write in with their
impressions!! Perhaps I could also prevail upon Kate Richards to talk about
her exciting collaboration with Ross Gibson, 'Life After Wartime' which is
certainly a kind of visual poem.

I'll write at more length about the conference shortly, but I should say
first of all that it was a great conference and all credit is due to Adrian
Miles who was intent on doing an absolutely first rate job and did.
Adrian's whole management of the conference was outstanding.  He  insisted
on having all the papers in written form before the conference started, so
that the audience could read them if they wanted. Then he asked  speakers
to talk to their papers rather than reading them out. This was labour
intensive for the speakers, but worked very well I think. Even where I
didn't read the papers beforehand I am now glad to have them, and to be
able to read them in retrospect (and not two years after in published
conference proceedings!!)

One of the highlights of the conference for me was the playengines
exhibition of different types  of interactive work at the State Library.
This included the piece just mentioned  by Kate and Ross; 'shocked' by
Danielle Karalaus, (an interactive film about electro convulsive tharapy
which implicates us in the treatment); Diana Slattery's innovative Glide
project; Mary Flanagan's intriguing 'search'; poems by Stuart Moulthrop and
Robert Kendall;  and  Michelle Glaser and Andrew Hutchinson's 'Juvenate'
(on which Andrew also gave an interesting paper). There was also an
extremely original artgame piece by Troy Inncoent, 'Semiomorph,' which
plays with transformations of representation, Mark Amerik's 'Filmtext', and
many other superb pieces, accompanied by artists talks.

Another highllight of the conference for me was a stunning piece
constructed and performed by Christina on the performance night which I
hope she will talk to us about in more detail. The piece used
transparencies, projection, lighting, text, real time painting and much
more!   There were also an exhilarating performance by Komninos Zervos
which was really well adapted to the occasion.  The venue for the
performance night was not ideal (the place was small, crowded and noisy,
the screens weren't up to scratch, and the room was a funny shape so the
majority of the audience couldn't properly see or hear the work). However
it was a good social occasion and I think most people enjoyed it!!

Although I missed the first day, I found there were many, many interesting
papers which I'll elaborate on (or others might talk about) in further
posts. The emphasis on games was very stimulating for me  since I know so
little about that area. There was a wonderful paper by Jane McGonigal,  for
example, on the blurring between reality and fiction in immersive games.
There was a precise and amusing paper by Espen Aarseth on a framework for
the analysis of games,  an engaging paper by Keith Amstrong on his
ecological and community-engaging  projects, and an illuminating one by
Deena Larsen on the Glide project.  Also excellent papers  by Troy Innocent
on semiotic morphism, and by Richard Brown on his stunning artworks.  But
there were many more excellent ones too (parallel sessions of course meant
that I didn't hear all the papers).

For me the weakest aspect of the papers was the cultural theory element.
There were many good contributions here too, I hasten to add, but some of
the cultural theory seemed a bit undertheorised or underanalysed. Also
there was minimal discussion of gender (though these issues  was raised
very strongly by Tiffany Homnes in her paper on Arcade Classics) and
virtually no discussion about ethnicity. A curious gap there.

These are not gripes however, just thoughts. It was a resounding success
and a great few days. My head is buzzing with ideas and I'll be back with
more about this


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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