Jason nelson- digital art and poetry wonderments and creatures electricity sources in canada


Entropic Texts is an experiment in using text, image, and an interactive interface, to explore the notion of entropy. gas in back shoulder Entropy is nature’s tendency towards decay. Thus, it is entropy that predicts the arrow of time, and the length of the life of all things – living and material. As you scroll through this artwork, you are lead into a world where the ‘force’ of decay gets slowly stronger, to the point where text, images, and moving image, become glitched and decayed beyond recognition. This imaginary world of quickening decay is represented by the junkyard. What we often call junkyards are spaces that were once collections of adored or useful items, that have succumbed to entropy, thus they are both clear metaphorical and physical spaces of decay. Using a combination of the artists’ own poetry written while visiting junkyards, and generated text, we seek to experiment with the life and decay of digital data.

This work is intended to be read both ways. Once the end is reached – 99% decay force, the piece can then be scrolled back through, reversing the arrow of time, and thus reversing entropy.The act of creating a digital interactive artwork feels a lot like fighting with the forces of entropy – as an artist you are creating a work that is constantly attempting to break itself. Sometimes a large portion of the artist’s role is to resurrect broken data. This process of creation and destruction of data, while central to our theme, was also self evident in the creation of the work itself.

Born from the Oklahoma flatlands of farmers and spring thunderstorms, Jason Nelson stumbled into creating awkward and wondrous digital poems and net-artworks of odd lives, building confounding art games and all manner of curious digital creatures. Currently he professes Net Art and Electronic Literature at Australia’s Queensland College of Art within Griffith University in Brisbane.

Aside from coaxing his students into breaking, playing and morphing their creativity with all manner of technologies, he exhibits widely in galleries and journals, with work featured around the globe at FILE, ACM, LEA, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, ELO and dozens of other acronyms. There are awards to list (Paris Biennale Media Poetry Prize), organizational boards he frequents (Australia Council Literature Board and the Electronic Literature Organization), and numerous other accolades (Webby Award), but in the web based realm where his work resides, Jason is most proud of the millions of visitors his artwork/digital poetry portal http://www.secrettechnology.com attracts each year.

Our webscapes and netvilles are increasingly dominated by short bursts of emotional language, brief stabs of charged textual opinion. And every minute those words build small cities of influence, beauty and terror, creating brief communities of poetic power. Textual Skyline explores these notions through a net¬-based interactive, generative and multidimensional flash engine/interface using RSS news feeds to create a digital poetry city.

To create these strange cities actionscript code searches through designated news feeds for specific words or phrases that represent emotive states (death, victory, love, profit, attack, defend and a few hundred others). Then for each charged word a building block is placed on the screen, two layers deep, forming a skyline of poetic text and art. gas stoichiometry problems Additionally, each of the text blocks contain animated, hand drawn and other multimedia content. gas nozzle icon The finished work lets readers/users load RSS feeds from a variety of net communities (really any site with such a feed can be used), and as those feeds change so to will the digital poetry city (on reload).

The Cube allows users/poets to enter a 16 line poem, with those lines automatically placed within the multi-layered sections. Use the buttons to move in and out, recombining the poems by turning the Cube upwards, downwards and inwards. Built to act as a bridge between the print and digital worlds. I would love to wax romantic about how all creations are important, either within a historical context or because they hold together as digital poems despite their shortcomings.

And while this might be true for scholars or readers of my work, as an artist I see the first two cubes as experiments, trial runs, explorations of a form. I suppose an argument could be made about how all creations are experiments leading to the next generation of poets.I can say my intentions with the first two were firmly as playgrounds. While the last cube is an attempt at a complete work, or rather a complete interface. I make the distinction between work and interface, because most of the digital poems I create are in flux, in constant states of revision.

Dreamaphage is a virus. Once caught the infected have a repeating dream, and as the virus progresses the dream frequency increases until the sick go insane, lapse into a coma, or starve. This project represents a psychiatrists attempt to cure the virus by comparing the dreams themselves. The dreams are represented by online books, which not only act as a portal to the text of the dreams, but also link to other realms of science, biology and the surreal. And while the project is seemingly simple in its design, each of the books links to a wider and strange dream world. ortega y gasset Certainly an odd mix of biology, superstition and fiction, all bundled in an interactive mix.

One of my first major digital poetry works. Dreamaphage examines the impact of a fictional disease that causes the afflicted to have one constantly reoccurring dream. The work is about societies compulsion to constantly analyse the subconscious and apply medical condition semantics to anything remotely resembling the abnormal. At the time, it was one of the few works to use a 3-D page interface.

The modern world is consumed with fears, with paranoid coverage of both real and hypothetical disaster and pandemic. Businesses flourish preparing companies for the day when half their workforce dies, and millions of chickens are burned in viral destroying blazes. With photograhs of abandoned industrial and institutional buildings as backgrounds, this artwork uses interactive spaces to explore our obsessions with microscopic species killers.

From GanterCourses.net: "Pandemic Rooms is an interactive piece of net/web artwork created by Jason Nelson that plays off of societal fears and paranoia around contracting a pandemic disease in the form of a flu virus and the ways in which society navigates those fears; both real and imagined. As the viewer interacts with Nelson’s piece, they have the option of viewing the pandemic outbreak from four different vantage points – The Affected, The Emotions, The Pathogen, and The Cleansing. Each of the four viewing platforms contains an additional four options in which the viewer can navigate through the pandemic. electricity facts for 4th graders Each of the sub-platforms are highly interactive and generative and allow the viewer to click and drag icons to add and subtract to and from the scene, which helps to create music and movement; while other sub-platforms are more passive in the sense that the viewer is simply meant to watch the scene unfold. Even in the passive scenes, where the viewer does not have an interactive role in creating the scene, the viewers are still able to interact with the scene by listening to and watching the pandemic unfold; through story, image and music."

On a trip to Ballarat, driving through the rural areas surrounding the town, I came across an crumbling church that now housed a make-shift antique store. At the bottom of a dusty book stack was a hymnal, with an inscription to a woman whose son had recently drowned. I was taken with the way water had become the music of the land in this area, how it defined so much of their lives and deaths. ag gaston birmingham 120 This digital poem creates a series of interactive poetic hymns, in part to this drowned son, and in part to the region and its own “drowning in drought”.

An anthology of poems. Originally this was going to be three different works. Not able to finish those, I fitted them all together in ‘selected works’ mode. Many of the interactive devices are borrowed from other works and the texts culled from experiments gone awry. Hymns came from my thumbing through Methodist hymnals and finding the collection varied and alluringly hypnotic, not in a religious way, but rather in a ‘these people are struggling to drown’ way. I love the title.

Utilizing the basic mouse-follower, Uncontrollable Semantics pulls together over fifty dramatically different sound, image and interactive environments, all through the simple mouse follower. While a simple innovation, this technique allows the user/player/reader to create their own experience, to feel the work come from the screen. Each environment offers four directions to four terms, four semantics, four named creatures. Explore and play and confuse yourself.

I often reflect on that experience when I create new digital poems. I’ve always been inclined to create works that require readers to interact to do something. As I’ve mentioned previously, interactivity makes the user part of the writing process it, lures them into the experience of the digital poem. The mouse is one of the most basic, and most immediate of computer devices for interactivity. gas ninjas When the hand/wrist/arm moves the work responds in kind. There is a satisfying and immediate physicality/ responsiveness to the mouse movement.

With this interface, the writer becomes a painter, driving the mouse like a brush, each click changing the color and text and multimedia elements of the palette. Text overlays text, placed on the screen at the reader’s direction. The resulting digital poem is a reader built collage. And yet the interface is not limited to the single screen, with a linear progression of elements appearing as the reader goes deeper into the poem.