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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

From The Unknown to Piksel Zdrój: Collaboration in E-literature: Models, Newcomers, Predictions

Marius Pisarski (Warsaw University)

Panel: Collaborative Narrative
Thursday, August 6 • 11:00 - 12:30 (Sydneshaugen skole: Auditorium R)

The talk reflects on the theoretical and practical aspects of collaboration in e-literature. Firstly a model of digitally enhanced collaboration that could encompass both its past and future instances is proposed. Matching several groups of categories (for example “production / negotiation / creation” against “material / story / discourse”) the model demonstrates that e-literature – even if we are really witnessing the end of it now – maintains its status of an important laboratory for any collaboration in digital environment.

Alongside acclaimed collaborative works (Forward Anywhere, The Unknown, A Million Penguins) several less known examples from Poland will be presented: Digital Green Eye (2012) and Bałwochwał (2013) – collaborative adaptations of Polish avant-garde classics – as well as Piksel Zdrój – a hypertext project by 8 authors published in 2015. The aim of the first part is to introduce both a universal analytical model and some rather unknown examples of e-literature to the international audience.

The second part, in which I draw from my own experience as an author and producer of several collaborative e-lit efforts, reflects on available tools. I will demonstrate that popular collaboration tools hardly match the complexity of teamwork fiction writing aimed at delivering not only a product, a perfect “text”, but also a cohesive world with events and characters that start “living” their own lives 

As it turns out, even in the world of ubiquitous computing the ultimate, working models for collegial writing are to be found in the universal social activities that had long proved to be storytelling friendly. These archetypes of literary communication (for example the road trip, the campfire chant, the round table debate) might be as much important for setting up a good collaborative environment, as technological affordances of software and hardware. Lastly, I will try to shortly predict possible directions in digital collaborative writing.

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