Port Logo PORT: Navigating Digital Culture
Organized by a r t n e t w e b
MIT List Visual Arts Center
January 25 through March 29, 1997

screen grabs

BY: Duane Whitehurst, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Chris Spain, and Nathan Fruin
TIME: Wednesday 12 - 2 pm Eastern Standard Time
SOFTWARE: Standard network clients with additional processing software created for the project.
ACCESS: http://www.cat.nyu.edu/raku
Go to the web page (http://www.cat.nyu.edu/raku). Shortly before the curtain rises, the words "take part" will become a link -- when you follow the link you will either be taken to the performance (if it's time) or to a "curtain" page which will refresh every 90 seconds until the performance begins.

An "about" page for the project can be found here: http://www.cat.nyu.edu/raku/about. html

CONTACT: email: noah@cat.nyu.edu
mail: Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Center for Advanced Technology, New York University, New York, NY 10003
phone: 212-998-3475 (Noah Wardrip-Fruin)
URLs: http://artnetweb.com/theoricon /graymatters

Raku writing is a series of high heat, real time, collaborative writing performances.

Our rough metaphor is raku pottery processes. While traditional pottery is a slow, painstaking process that can take days just in the heating and cooling of a piece, raku processes can produce a piece in a matter of minutes. These pieces can be unpredictably beautiful, and also spectacular failures.

We are exploring a high heat, real time, collaborative writing. As with the entire Port exhibition, we are introducing time explicitly into the workings of the supposedly timeless Internet -- realizing and drawinginto question the dream of the ultimate archive, in which all items are permanently in flux. In addition, Raku Writing brings with it other aspects of the impermanence of the non-digital world: evolutionary methods, replacement, insertion, removal, combination, and reordering.

In each rehearsal and performance invited writers are producing paragraphs. Roughly one every six minutes. Audience members read these paragraphs, and select elements to be altered. In the first rehearsal these elements were words. From the second rehearsal on they have been sentences. The elements (sentences) that enough of the participating audience members select for alteration, before the next paragraph is submitted by the invited writer, are fired in the continually-changing kiln.

Once a new paragraph is submitted, the altered version of the last paragraph is displayed. Audience members may select elements in the new paragraph to be changed, and they also may review the changes made to the last paragraph. The audience evaluates the alterations made to the previous paragraph, and sends their reactions back to the Raku Writing site. These reactions are then used to shape which processes are used in the future.

Also, at any time audience members may send email to raku@cat.nyu.edu. This email is displayed during the course of the performance, and is a means by which the audience gives more free-form reaction to the invited writer, and the rest of the audience, as the next paragraph is being produced.

For the final performance, two invited writers will be working at all times -- one producing new paragraphs, and the other performing "cold work" on the paragraphs that have already been fired.

To participate in any Raku Writing performance, go to the Raku Writing page (http://www.cat.nyu.edu/raku) shortly before the performance is scheduled to begin. The words "take part" will become a link. The link will take you to the viewing page.

DUANE WHITEHURST Duane Whitehurst is a research scientist and glassblower. He programs and thinks about the project. He was also a guest writer.
Noah Wardrip-Fruin is a writer and research scientist. He writes and thinks about the project.
CHRIS SPAIN Chris Spain is a writer and occasional soil scientist. He writes and thinks about the project.
NATHAN FRUIN Nathan Fruin is a designer, teacher and occasional biologist. He was involved the early thinking about the project.

KIRSTIN KANTNER Kirstin Kantner was a guest writer.
JULIETA LEMAITRE Julieta Lemaitre was a guest writer.
Regine Robin-Marie was a guest writer.
MICHAEL ROSE Michael Rose was a guest writer.

WORDNET WordNet linked synonym sets were a part of the Raku Writing kiln.

SPONSORS Center for Advanced Technology, New York University

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