[iDC] Introduction, Internet as Playground & Factory

Nick Montfort nickm at nickm.com
Fri Sep 4 16:01:43 UTC 2009

Hello, everyone. Trebor asked me to say hi and introduce myself. I'm 
co-author of Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, author of 
Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction, and co-editor 
of The New Media Reader and The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 
1. My interests as a critic, theorist, and editor are in the material 
history of digital media, in video and computer games, in interactive 
narrative, and in imaginative and poetic digital writing.

I'm coming to the conference to read and discuss some projects related to 
this last category -- some imaginative and poetic digital projects I've 
done, working as a writer/programmer. My digital writing involves 
contemporary literary practices and a focus on computation (as opposed to 
interface or multimedia). My projects are available for free online. They 
question contemporary work and play in various ways -- for instance, by 
way of their subject matter, their form, the material that constitutes 
them, and the constraints under which I write them.

In my interactive fiction Book and Volume, you play a system administrator 
who must respond to frequent pages, reboot and maintain servers, and try 
to figure out the curious secret of the information-technology factory 
town in which you live:


In my interactive fiction Ad Verbum, you play a day laborer employed to 
clear out the Wizard of Wordplay's house, which is riddled with Oulipian 


With Scott Rettberg, I wrote Implementation, a novel about the War on 
Terror that was printed on mailing labels and published by being adhered 
to public surfaces around the world:


While information-age labor is an important issue to me, my projects, like 
those of many digital media artists and writers, try to provide aesthetic 
experiences and to develop other aspects, perhaps the library or museum 
aspects, of the Internet and of computing.

-   Nick Montfort         nickm at nickm.com     http://nickm.com
-   Associate Professor of Digital Media
  -  Program in Writing & Humanistic Studies, MIT
--  77 Massachusetts Avenue, 14N-233, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

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