Technology Platforms for 21st Century Literature


Technology Platforms for 21st Century Literature is organized by Brown University's Program in Creative Writing Hyperfiction Workshops and the Brown University Scholarly Technology Group.

Founded in 1991 and led by Robert Coover, one of America's foremost novelists and exponents of experimental fiction, the Program in Creative Writing Hyperfiction Workshops is recognized as a leading international center for developing electronic writing courses, workshops and vanguard conferences that bring together print and electronic artists. Through these activities, the Hyperfiction Workshop provides an opportunity for narrative artists to experiment with the nonlinear, multidimensional, interactive space of the digital media. Though the focus is still on writing and thus on text, these courses offer the additional possibility of working in mixed hypermedia, including computer graphics, animation, electronic music, video, and virtual environments. Tutorials in the use of this software and the server, as well as additional sound and graphics tools, and the Internet, are offered as a regular part of the course in weekly lab sessions. Occasional master workshops and demonstrations are also given by visiting multimedia artists.

In 1995, Brown faculty using computers in the arts formed a committee to create an environment for original, cross-genre, multimedia production as part of the university curriculum. Spearheaded by English professor Robert Coover and Music professor Todd Winkler, the Multimedia Laboratory Committee attracted generous sponsorship from several major corporations, including A. T. & T. and Kurzweil Synthesizers, for construction of a classroom and lab housed in and maintained by the Scholarly Technology Group.

In the past four years, Brown faculty from the departments of Visual Arts, Modern Culture & Media, and Italian Studies have joined the departments of English and Music to create a dynamic experiment where artists collaborate across disciplines at the cutting edge of new media. Hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students who have gone on from the MML to impact trends in computers, literature, and new media. In addition, the MML annually attracts dozens of resident visiting artists and international students to participate in Brown's groundbreaking work with new media.

The Brown University Scholarly Technology Group supports the development and use of advanced information technology in academic research, teaching, and scholarly communication. STG pursues this mission by exploring new technologies and practices, developing specialized tools and techniques, and providing consulting and project management services to academic projects.

Through the efforts and expertise of the writers, publishers and technologists associated with these two Brown University programs the Technology Platforms for 21st Century Literature Conference will be a valuable experience for participants and provide important context for the ongoing development of interactive literature and the technologies that enable it.

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