The Colonization of Memory
The Hanseatic Semiotic Traders League (a.k.a. Fiskekaker)
The Colonization of Memory is a procedural meditation on the way space becomes meaningful in the context of time and the way those meanings are overwritten with each new epoch. The chance operations of the procedure stood in for the aleatory path of history, while the writers played the historical subjects of those procedures.
The Colonization of Memory is an instantiation of the exquisite_code procedural artcode that adds elements of a "locative corpse," a writing game that stages an exquisite corpse (cadavre exquis) across a geographic space. The exercise directs writers around a geographic area, in this case Bergen, Norway, on a regular schedule between specified stations. At each station, the writers find on a sticker a bit of text, the last lines written from the last occupant which they then extend within their assigned constraints. A simple "lookup table," cross-referencing the numbered index of the station with the occurrence of particular letters in the text just written, determines the next station for the writer. Writers carry all completed texts with them until the end of the exercise at which point the texts are recombined serially to produce one narrative for each location.
In addition to location, three other constraints directed the authors: an epoch, an emotion, and a symbol from the primstav, a Norwegian runic calendar tied closely to religious holidays and the agrarian cycle. Having drawn their constraints, authors applied the same ones to each location they visited. Of course, chance and artful neglect of these rules also played their part, as the exquisitors at times could not locate the previous text or became lost like poets are wont to do.
These constraints kept the authors locked in the symbolic order of Bergen's calendar and history as they imagined stories that lived or would live in these spaces. Picking up where the last text had left off, the piece offers history as both palimpsest and relay race, the fragments linking disparate times becoming recontextualized, narrated into new and different times and tales.
ENTER The Colonization of Memory
Brendan Howell was born in Manchester, CT, USA in 1976. He is a media artist and an engineer. He has created various software works and interactive electronic inventions. Currently, he lives and works in Berlin, Germany and shares a studio with the Weise7 group. He has done research and led courses at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule, Merz Akademie, Fachhochschule Potsdam and the Kunsthochschule Berlin, Weißensee.
Amrita Kaur is a 24-year-old artist who holds a master's degree in English literature. Amrita was born in Asker, Norway, but lives currently in Bergen.
Mark C. Marino is a writer and scholar of digital literature living in Los Angeles. He is the editor of Bunk Magazine and the Director of Communication of the Electronic Literature Organization. His works include "a show of hands," "Marginalia in the Library of Babel," and "The Ballad of Workstudy Seth." His latest work is an interactive fiction piece entitled "Living Will." He teaches at the University of Southern California where he directs the Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS Lab). His complete portfolio is here.
Eduardo Navas researches the crossover of art and media in culture. His production includes art & media projects, critical texts, and curatorial projects. He has presented and lectured about his work internationally. Navas researches and teaches principles of cultural analytics and digital humanities in the School of Visual Arts at The Pennsylvania State University, PA. He also lectures in the program of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College, and MA Media Studies at The New School for Public Engagement, NY. Navas is a 2010-12 Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, and received his Ph.D. from the Department of Art and Media History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of California in San Diego. He is the author of Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling. See also Remix Theory. His website is here.
Margaux Pezier is a student in the Digital Culture program at University of Bergen.
Scott Rettberg teaches digital culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, and Implementation. Rettberg is the cofounder and served as the first executive director of the nonprofit Electronic Literature Organization, and is currently the project leader of the HERA-funded research project, ELMCIP: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice.
Morten Sorreime is a student in the Digital Culture program at University of Bergen.
Martin Swartling is living in Bergen, Norway, where he is pursuing his Masters degree in Digital culture at the University of Bergen ("hopefully graduated in November"). See some of his work on the project, "Precious and Shimminerg Stones", which presents "the treasure of fairy-tales as a tool for understanding and respecting cultural diversity."
Patricia Tomaszek is recipient of the 2010 University of Bergen PhD-scholarship at the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies. She completed her M.A. in Literature, Culture and Media at the University of Siegen in Germany (2008) and participated in a study abroad at Brown University supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (2007). Both a hypertextual lyrical-essay and a generative work of electronic literature emerged from her studies at the Literary Arts department. She assists the Electronic Literature Organization in a project on archiving electronic literature since 2007. From 2006 to 2010, Patricia worked as an academic assistant in the research group "Literature in Nets. Net Literature" at the Cultural Studies Center "Media Upheavals" based at the University of Siegen in Germany. See her full profile.
Rob Wittig is an author, designer, scholar of digital culture. In the early 1980s he co-founded the legendary IN.S.OMNIA electronic bulletin board with the Surrealist-style literary and art group Invisible Seattle. In 1989 he received a Fulbright to study the writing and graphic design of electronic literature with Jacques Derrida, documented in the 1995 book Invisible Rendezvous. Rob has written numerous works of e-literature and netprovs. He teaches in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. See his portfolio here.