Bath castle

MIX DIGITAL CONFERENCE

It took me two and a half years to travel half way across the world to attend this conference but I finally did it! I must admit my aspirations weren’t because of the big names attached to the conference such as Kate Pullinger, Naomi Alderman and Blast Theory. I just wanted to do an Escape The Room in Bath because I thought it would be so much cooler than in Australia by virtue of everything being Jane Austen themed.

Anyway, in the third year of my PhD, I finally made it to Bath to present two papers and to exhibit a couple of digital writing projects. It was totally worth it just to stay at BathSpa university because they. have. a. CASTLE on campus! (Later I found out about their student fees and they totally deserve their castle)

Bath castle 2

 

Bath castle

As far as academic conferences go, this was by far the most useful one I’ve attended. There was a mixture of theorists, industry and indie practitioners from literature, games and transmedia that kept things interesting, as did sharing a dormitory with a bunch of writers, librarians and academics who introduced me to shandy (cheap wine mixed with lemonade).

For her keynote speech, Naomi Alderman listed her must-experience digital narratives.

Naomi Alderman

1. Death Trap Dungeon
2. Slouching Towards Bedlam
3. Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy
4. Gone Home
5. Secret Monkey Island
6. Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor
7. Portal
8. Myst
9. Facade
10. Passage
11.Oiligarchy
12. The Writer will do something
13. Her Story
14. Kentucky Route Zero

I’m still working my way through this list although some of it gives me that sinking feeling of reading Anna Karenina or one of those classics they force on you in high school because it’s good for you.

Visual Editions

I found out about this UK publisher called Visual Editions. They publish books as cultural objects as a response to the threat of ebooks. This threat of extinction of old media has caused resurgence for the nostalgic across many fields, not just literature. There’s a recoil effect driving artists to return to the physical formats as creative anachronisms— the classic film, literary book, arcade game and vinyl records. Visual Edition expresses these ideas so elegantly. After their presentation, I tried to buy a copy of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes – only to be told that it had been sold out and there is a waiting list of several months. (I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive)

Check it out here:

http://www.visual-editions.com/our-books/tree-of-codes

They also announced their new collaboration with Google Creative Lab – a digital book platform project called Editions at Play – a bookstore for books that can’t be printed. For years, writers have been pushing the boundaries of digital literature. In the nineties, hypertext was purported to be the next big thing but it was too inaccessible for most readers who just wanted to be entertained with genre fiction. The next generation of digital writers tried multi-modal works, networked novels, location-based audio stories, game books, the list goes on. I keep checking their website to see how Visual Editions and Google will add to this repertoire but so far, there’s nothing but a tantalising ‘coming soon’ message.

https://www.editionsatplay.com/

Mix Bath

Here is a photo of me, not making a fool of myself during my presentation. I am gesticulating wildly as magnitude of gestures are inversely proportional to how well I’ve learnt my material the night before.

Also, here is a photo of my new friends at Bath’s Escape the Room! Disappointing, it was not Jane Austen themed after all.

Bath Escape the Room

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