TALAN MEMMOTT - Interview Questions

Add two questions that you would like to ask Talan Memmott after reading Lexia to Perpexia and "Toward Electracy" (his interview with Ulmer). Then use the discussion tab to vote and argue for the ones you want to ask him during our interview. We should whittle the list down to 6-9 questions.

You could also look at his "Self-Portrait(s) as Other(s)" and his homepage if you like.

1. It seems that there is an investigation and complication of 'the self' in your works. In what capacity do you think we can expect to see the electrate self impact how we understand identity.
2. Do you see yourself taking advantage of mobile media in future works? What are the implications of this possibility in creating an even more engaging interaction between interface, user, and the world around them.

1. If the barrier between human subjectivity and computer technology is indeed blurring, how will educational institutions adapt their pedagogy to teach this new language?
2. How long to do you believe it will take for this 'creole' of technology and subjectivity to fully develop into a functioning language?

1. What drove your decisions about placement of clickable areas within the interface at various points in the process?
2. What did you intend to say about the nature of cyborgism and humanity through the combination muddled literary writing and computer programming-like accents inserted somewhat arbitrarily (e.g. hum.andity, brackets, other strange punctuation and filetypes like exe)?

1. Could you elaborate on the concept of the "I-terminal" and the relationship that human language and code will have in the future?
2. What is the best example of the cyborg in contemporary society?

1. With the relative ease of editing simple HTML to create a personalized space (popularized by MySpace), do you think the web's capacity for creating challenging, thought-provoking works of digital art has been overlooked by most users, both as spectators and as potential artists? In spite of the democratization and global connectivity often attributed to the internet, is web-based art subject to the same cultural separation between artists and "the masses"?
2. Early in my internet experience, I became infatuated with a random sentence generator freeware program called Spaghetti, which allowed me to build up an large vocabulary, grouped by syntactic categories, and Spaghetti would generate sentences (usually nonsensical ones) at random. I find in your "Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)]" both an active sense of humor and a similar (though more developed) principle of (re)organization to that found in random sentence generators, random story generators, et al. "Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)]" is compelling, but of course not historically accurate. Do you find that random content generators are most useful for making art and jumpstarting creativity, or is there some other function as well?

1. You mention in your interview with Ulmer that we are at a "fulcrum between the literate and the electrate". Do you think we are stuck in this transition between the two, or do you believe that both are integral components to this new media work?
2. Using old terms and forms, such as the web "page" name and structure are clearly derived from the literary world. Do you think that as we move forward, technology is driving the content and form, or visa versa?

1. The heavy use of neologisms seems to force the reader to rethink the signification process by creating a new sign/index that points to "new" meaning. In lexia to perplexia, how much web/programming/myth schemata do you expect the viewer to bring to the reading, and how will the lack thereof impact the interpretation of the neologisms and the meaning making process?
2. Web art/work is so quickly dated because of advancing technologies and often a lack of backwards compatibility. Have you thought about updating the interface so users don't have to track down a PC running netscape (!) or IE? Or is this exactly the point? That my narcissism seeks a better reflection via the interface?

Could you discuss your background in "Installation Art" and how it has specifically helped you in your ventures in literary hypermedia.

In "Toward Electracy," you mention mention "the fulcrum between the literate and the electrate"; do you think tools such as the iPhone and the Kindle are helping to ease this transition with the public?

1. Technology allows individuals to "experience" concepts, places and people without knowing them, seeing them or even actually taking part (ie... Ulmer's Grandmother experiencing nature from her living room.) Is the transition towards electracy encouraging our society to seek information and experience only if it is simple and readily available? Is the challenge and curiosity of life being fed to us on a silver spoon?
2. Does the term "never judge a book by its cover" apply to electracy? It was mentioned that what's important is the glow of the words and not what the words say. Is electracy causing our educational interest to become reliant on effective advertising?

1. In viewing Self Portrait(s) it seems that one of the purposes is to divorce an artist from his art. At that point, the artist themselves (and their story) become a new piece of art. Do you feel that the most enlightening pieces of information about a painting, for instance, are within the painting itself, or in the artist?
2. How long do you see the lifetime of a digital work (such as your own) being? Sculpture lasts for thousands of years, mosaics last for hundreds, paintings can last hundreds with extreme care. But like the written word, digital works only last as long as they can be translated, either by someone who speaks the written language or a computer that can decode the bits and bytes, respectively.

1. In Toward Electracy you liken Greg Ulmer's emerAgency to Lacan's Cixous references, Derrida's differAnce and your own emUrgency, *.mergency, agency, and transmissive agency in Lexia to Perplexia. You note that they all have to do with the "user attachment to the network," a "communifying device" you refer to as technontology. As we become increasingly electrate, do you see technontology becoming more ubiquitous and second nature?
2. Like many in the class and at Emerson, I am a MAC disciple. As a result I had some difficulty fully experiencing Lexia to Perplexia. You mention a quote by Benjamin in Toward Electracy where you note a "correspondence with notions of allure and desire". How do you ensure that a work of digital Art such as yours remains the "fiery pool reflecting in the asphalt" and not the neon sign itself?

1. Do you agree with N. Katherine Hayles assessment of Lexia to Perplexia in her book, Electronic Literature, in particular the idea that within the feedback cycle suggested between body and machine, the user "reflected in the work and reflecting upon it," becomes implicated in the processes of interpretation, giving meaning to the information?
2. Do you agree with Mark B. N. Hansen's view that "only meaning can enframe information?" If so, how is this intentionally reflected in the design of Lexia to Perplexia?

1. Can you discuss the ways in which you drew from other disciplines, specifically literary theory, and the elements of those disciplines that inspired you? I'm especially interested in the way you use and discuss metaphor, and also your clever interaction with world play. You discuss these elements in your interview with Ulmer, as well, and I was hoping you could touch on the things that interest you with these elements and the ways in which they interact with your work.
2. What do you hope the reader/user takes away from their experiences with Lexia to Perplexia? Clearly, it inspires intense thought and exploration, but do you hope that exploration carries over into the rest of the web and beyond Lexia to Perplexia? Is there something of your greater intentions mentioned in the Lexia for "Metastrophe," when you state that perfect clarity eliminates the need for questions and challenges?