In July 2015 Bath Spa University hosted Writing Digital: MIX DIGITAL 3 in the newly completed Commons building at the Newton Park Campus, just outside of Bath. Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Creative Industries, with its stellar Creative Writing Department, is at the forefront of both research into and teaching of creative practice across many forms. MIX DIGITAL has established itself as an innovative forum for the discussion and exploration of writing and technology, attracting an international cohort of contributors from the UK, Australia, and Europe as well as North and South America. From 2015 the conference will be biennial and will become one of the flagship conferences for the university.
Writing Digital took full advantage of our brand-new Commons building and its interactive spaces through hosting a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions and workshops, as well as an exhibition of work by conference participants.
Our partners, The Writing Platform, showcased the two winning projects from the competitive bursaries they awarded earlier in 2015 for new creative writing and technology projects. There was also a separate call to digital artists for entries to an international competition to create work for our Media Wall.
Keynotes included Naomi Alderman talking about how and why a literary novelist came to be the imaginative power behind the hugely successful apps, Zombies! Run, and The Walk; theorist Florian Cramer, applied research professor at Creating 010, the research unit affiliated to Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands; also Blast Theory, internationally renowned as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating new forms of performance and interactive art – they discussed their current kickstarter-funded project, Karen.
MediaWall is an architectural scale portrait format gallery display, consisting of ten 55″ panels. At just under 4m wide and rising 7.5m from floor level it is uniquely positioned at the heart of the recently built Commons building. It sits on the inside wall of the three storey high atrium space, with views east and west to the surrounding Somerset countryside.
For the month of July 2015, Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Cultural Industries commissioned a new artwork by an artist of international standing to be shown on the MediaWall. We were delighted to announce the winner of the MediaWall Competition as Seattle-based artist James Coupe!
Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. Her first novel, ‘Disobedience’, was published in ten languages; like her second novel, ‘The Lessons’, it was read on BBC radio’s Book at Bedtime. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones’ 25 Writers for the Future.
Her prize-winning short fiction has appeared in Prospect, on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of anthologies. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.
From 2004 to 2007 Naomi was lead writer on the BAFTA-shortlisted alternate reality game Perplex City. She’s written online games for Penguin, the BBC, and other clients. In 2011 she wrote the Doctor Who tie-in novel ‘Borrowed Time’. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run! which has been shortlisted for a Develop award for narrative and the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain best videogame award.
Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian. Penguin published her third novel, ‘The Liars’ Gospel’, in August 2012.
Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting.
Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, the group’s work explores interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology. It confronts a media saturated world in which popular culture rules, using performance, installation, video, mobile and online technologies to ask questions about the ideologies present in the information that envelops us.
“They have done it again … Blast Theory keeps challenging our use of space and identity by using pervasive technology. This time it is through mobile phones that they involve us into their spatial narrative.” – Sandra Gaudenzi, Interactive Documentary blog.
Blast Theory is based in Brighton, UK.
Florian Cramer is a reader for new media & autonomous practices at Creating 010, the research unit affiliated to Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. He also works for WORM, a Rotterdam-based venue and production house for DIY avant-garde culture. Recent publications include the essay collection Anti-Media, NAi010 Publisher, 2013, and the paper What Is Post-Digital?
Listen to Luke Clancy asking Florian Cramer the question What is post internet art? at MIX.03
Visual Editions is a London-based book publisher, co-founded and run by Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen. Anna is from Paris via Los Angeles and before Visual Editions, was writing about (Creative Review, Eye) and teaching graphic design (Central Saint Martins and LCC). She is also Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art. Britt is from Copenhagen and before Visual Editions was working in advertising, brand communication and research, including nearly ten years at Mother London. She is also strategic partner at Fabula.
Visual Editions publish books as cultural objects, build digital literary landscapes and create events that are all, in some way, about making Great Looking Stories. They believe in celebrating books that tell stories in new, surprising and delightful ways, and will be talking about the idea of books as experiences, books having different entry points and books as being playful. They will show and delve into both existing projects as well as introduce their forthcoming new project with Google’s Creative Lab: Editions at Play a new website for books that can’t be printed.
Click here for the 2015 Programme: MIX.03 Programme (pdf)
Click here for the 2015 Schedule: MIX.03 Schedule (pdf)
List of Presenters and Exhibitors:
Ju Row Farr – Blast Theory
Google Visual Editions
Tom Abba – University West England
Jillian Abbott – Queensborough Community College
Moya Baldry – Queensland University of Technology
Josie Barnard – Middlesex University
Victoria Bennett and Adam Clarke – Writing Platform Bursary Winners
Linda Sandvik and Kelly Jones – Writing Platform Bursary Winners
Ian Bradley – Liverpool Screen School
Kate Cheeseman – University of Greenwich
Maya Chowdhry – Independent Artist, Manchester
Claire Dean – Lancaster University
Lucy English – Bath Spa University
Claudio Pires Franco – University of Bedfordshire
Emma Geen – Bath Spa University
Simon Groth – Queensland University Technology
Caroline Harris – Bath Spa University
Sarah Haynes – Liverpool John Moores University
Michael Heron – Robert Gordon University
Paul Hetherington – University of Canberra
Teri Holbrook – Vanderbilt University
Melanie Hundley – Vanderbilt University
Owain Jones – Bath Spa University
Jenny Kidd – Cardiff University
Kayt Lackie – Bath Spa University
Rik Lander – U-Soap Media Ltd.
John Law – Bath Spa University
Deborah Maxwell – University of Edinburgh
Chris Meade – Bath Spa
Andrew Melrose – University Winchester
Dave Miller – London Southbank University
Peter Moyes – Griffith Film School, Australia
Paul Munden – University of Canberra
Katharine Norman – Independent Scholar
Tugce Oklay – University of Paris VIII
Tom Payne – Aberystwyth University
James Pope – Bournemouth University
Dan Prichard – Sydney
Kate Pullinger – Bath Spa University
Miriam Rasch – Institute of Networked Cultures, Amsterdam
Ciaran Roberts – Bath Spa University
Marianna Shek – Griffith Film School, Australia
Rob Sherman – The British Library
Gerry Smith – Edinburgh College of Art
Sophy Smith – DeMontfort University
Amy Spencer – Writer, Bristol
Chris Speed – University of Edinburgh
Dylan Spicer – Writer, Bristol
Colin Thomas – Author
Sarah Tremlett – Bath Spa University
Karlien Van den Beukel – South Bank University
Lucia Vodanovic – Middlesex University
Mike Warren – Writer, Bristol
Jen Webb – University of Canberra
Christine Wilks – Bath Spa University
Jordan Williams – University of Canberra
Steven Wingate – South Dakota State University
Stella Wisdom – The British Library
Shannon Yee – DeMontfort University
Anna Zaluczkowska – Leeds Beckett University
Kelly Zarins – Leeds Trinity University
Hannah Crouch – Bath Spa University
After the success of the last two MIX DIGITAL conferences, Bath Spa University is hosting Writing Digital: MIX DIGITAL 3 in the newly completed Commons building at the Newton Park Campus, just outside of Bath. Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Creative Industries, with its stellar Creative Writing Department, is at the forefront of both research into and teaching of creative practice across many forms. MIX DIGITAL has established itself as an innovative forum for the discussion and exploration of writing and technology, attracting an international cohort of contributors from the UK, Australia, and Europe as well as North and South America. From 2015 the conference will be biennial and will become one of the flagship conferences for the university.
Writing Digital will take full advantage of our brand-new Commons building and its interactive spaces through hosting a vibrant mix of academic papers, practitioner presentations, seminars, keynotes, discussions and workshops, as well as an exhibition of work by conference participants.
Our partners, The Writing Platform, will showcase the two winning projects from the competitive bursaries they will have awarded earlier in 2015 for new creative writing and technology projects. There will also be a separate call to digital artists for entries to an international competition to create work for our Media Wall.
Confirmed keynotes include Naomi Alderman talking about how and why a literary novelist came to be the imaginative power behind the hugely successful apps, Zombies! Run, and The Walk; also confirmed is Blast Theory, internationally renowned as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating new forms of performance and interactive art – they’ll be discussing their current kickstarter-funded project, Karen.
Papers/presentations and workshops are invited in relation to the on-going themes of creative writing and digital technology, the future of the book, new forms of publishing, and new forms of digital curation, and in any of the following areas:
In partnership with the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE there will be co-curated strand for which presentations on the following are sought around either the practice of interactive documentary and or the emergent field of ‘ambient literature’, including mobile, locative, and other site-specific storytelling forms.
In partnership with Bath Spa’s Media Futures Research Centre there will be co-curated strand on ‘Analogue Futures’ for which invitations on the following are sought: the digitalisation of writing practices and techniques; remediation associated with emerging digital technologies; slow media; concepts and cultures of vintage, heritage and authenticity; sustainability and materiality within the realm of digital media.
Workshops on creative practice and pedagogical papers in relation to any aspect of the above are welcome. Please note that works submitted for exhibition will not be considered unless the artist is attending the conference.
A selection of conference papers will be developed for publication in a special issue of Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.
There will also be a separate competitive international call to create a new artwork for our eight-metre high digital gallery space, MediaWall; this work will be launched during Writing Digital.
Abstracts of up to 300 words for a 20-minute paper/presentation or a 90-minute workshop should be sent to by 31 January 2015. Conference booking will open in February. A limited number of rooms on campus will be available for delegates.
Bath Spa University Conference Committee: Katharine Reeve, Lucy English, Kate Pullinger, Maggie Gee, Mike Johnston, Kristin Doern, Dan Ashton, Anthony Head and Anna Scott.
MediaWall is an architectural scale portrait format gallery, consisting of ten 55″ panels, viewable in daylight conditions. At just under 4m wide and rising 7.5m from floor level, it is uniquely positioned at the heart of Bath Spa University’s recently opened Commons building at its Newton Park Campus on the outskirts of Bath. It is located in a three-storey high atrium, with countryside views to the east and west.
Since its launch in June 2014 the MediaWall has exhibited a number of artworks including those by international artists Julian Opie and Bruce Munro, and the text-based OAK, which was a response to Letter to the Unknown Soldier.
Earlier this year we released a Call out for works and after much deliberation we were delighted to announce the winner of the MediaWall Competition as Seattle based artist James Coupe!
About General Intellect
Amazon describes their Mechanical Turk (mTurk) service as “an on-demand, scalable, human workforce to complete jobs that humans can do better than computers”. Companies, or “Requesters”, can create “Human Intelligence Tasks” (HITs), which typically involve image analysis, online research and writing. The majority of tasks take around one minute to complete and pay five-ten cents. Most tasks are used to train computers to respond and behave more like humans.
General Intellect is a Marxist term meaning “surplus value”. This work was driven by mTurk workers, who were hired to generate video and text which was processed and displayed on the MediaWall. MTurk purchases human insights, and then automates, rationalizes and breaks them down into quantifiable units, thus allowing “Requesters” even greater control of the human labor force that they depend upon.
As is the case with most HITs on mTurk, the workers in General Intellect were to create responses without knowing what they would be used for. General Intellect’s narrative was constructed by an autonomous digital artwork that outsourced specific tasks to a paid human labour force. The work operated both as a portrait of these workers as individuals, and as a portrait of the technological system that observes and manipulates them daily.
General Intellect used mTurk labour to produce something that is personal, subjective and unruly, with human qualities such as nuance, emotion and memory threatening to break through the computationally controlled narrative. In doing so this work referenced themes of surveillance, identity and autonomy, asking important questions about the relationship between technology and narrative in the late information age.
Listen to James talk to Luke Clancy about how he used Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk system to hire an army of collaborators for General Intellect here:
About James Coupe
James Coupe was born in Blackpool, UK and currently lives in Seattle, USA. He received an MFA from the University of Edinburgh in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Digital Art and Experimental Media from the University of Washington in 2009. He is an Associate Professor in the DXARTS program at the University of Washington.
His work has been commissioned by numerous organisations, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Abandon Normal Devices Festival. He has received grants and awards from Creative Captial, the Prix Ars Electronica and New Contemporaries. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including venues such as Camden Arts Centre, Parsons The New School for Design and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. Further information and documentation of his work can be found here.
Guest Editors: Ashton, Daniel; Pullinger, Kate; Reeve, Katharine
This special issue aims to bring together researchers, artists, writers, technologists and practitioners from the interdisciplinary fields of digital writing and transmedia. It specifically aims to explore the affordances of interactive digital technologies upon creative writing, scriptwriting, documentary, and poetry practices.
Moving beyond early twenty-first century debates about the future of the book, the death of print media, and the false divide between digital and analogue, this special issue invites scholars and practitioners to re-evaluate historical continuities and re-imagine the creative potential of writing and technology.
The call for papers invites contributions that focus on the rapidly evolving landscape of contemporary writing, including works that are multimedia and/or multimodal, collaborative, participatory, situated and/or published across multiple platforms. The editors welcome contributions from the following research and creative practice areas:
Standard articles will be in the range of 6000–8000 words. A more flexible approach may be possible for other formats and styles of submission (for example interviews, published conversations or visual essays at between 3000-6000 words).
Potential contributors should contact the Editors in the first instance with a brief summary (200 words) of their paper by Monday 7 September, 2015.
Submission of full papers to the Editors by Monday 4 January, 2016
The special issue will follow the conference MIX Digital 3: Writing Digital at Bath Spa University in July 2015. Presenters at MIX Digital 3 will be invited to consider contributing developed papers for the special issue of the Journal.
Full details regarding the Journal’s publication guidelines are available here: http://con.sagepub.com/
Mix Conference takes place every two years in the brand new ‘Commons’ Building at Newton Park Campus. The Campus is surrounded by beautiful countryside with green areas that are perfect for sitting in the sun and looks out across Newton Park Lake. Featuring:
Conference Fee Breakdown
The conference fees for 2015 included access to all conference activities and conference-related public events. Accommodation was available to book separately on the online booking form.
£275 – Full attendance at Conference
£175 – Full attendance for speakers giving a presentation or running a workshop
£125 – Day Rate for either Thursday, Friday or Saturday
£90 – Bath Spa Staff attending or presenting
£90 – Student
£75 – Bath Spa student
Bath Spa’s new accommodation block, completed in September 2014, is situated at the very top of the Newton Park campus. A limited number of rooms on campus were available for delegates and it will be possible to book these for 2017 through the online booking form.
Click here for a printable map of Newton Park Campus
Getting to Bath
Getting to Bath city centre couldn’t be easier. The First Bus 15 service runs regularly throughout the day, taking you to and from the sights, sounds, shopping and employment of Bath. It takes you direct from Newton Park, through Newbridge, Windsor Bridge (convenient for Charlton Court/Waterside Court) along Lower Bristol Road (convenient for Oldfield Park) and through into the City Centre and the Bus Station. The buses operate throughout the day and operate until around 3am in the morning.
Please be aware that timetables change between holiday and term dates.
For further information on the local First Bus services please follow the links below:
Getting to Newton Park
For ways to get to Newton Park Campus click how to find us on the Bath Spa university page or any of the links below.
If you have a bike, you’ll find Newton Park Courts bicycle friendly too, with secure bike racks on campus.
Mix Digital partnered with the DCRC to develop the 2015 programme. The DCRC – Digital Cultures Research Centre –is the University of the Westof England’s centre for research into innovative creative practices, based in the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol’s Watershed. The MIX Digital partnership draws on DCRC’s work on two themes which ally closely with MIX Digital’s interest in the cutting-edge of digital writing. Papers on the theme of “ambient literature” – a concept developed by Professor Jon Dovey to reflect the work emerging where literature and pervasive media meet – were invited to be part of the programme. Submissions regarding interactive documentary were also sought – a DCRC research stream led by Judith Aston, Sandra Gaudenzi and Mandy Rose, and reflected in the i-Docs Symposia (2011, ’13, ’14) and the i-docs.org website.
The Writing Platform is a website, live events series and bursary programme dedicated to informing and inspiring writers in the digital age. Their website provides practical resources and guides for writers and also acts as a space for writers and artists to reflect on their practice and share their experiences creating and working on digital writing projects.
The Writing Platform Bursary Programme supports interdisciplinary collaborations between writers and technologists to create new work together by providing them with financial support and opportunities to showcase their work. The 2015 Bursary recipients – Victoria Bennett and Adam Clarke, and Kelly Jones and Linda Sandvik – demonstrated and discussed their work at MIX.03.
The Writing Platform was founded in 2012 by The Literary Platform and Kate Pullinger and is supported by Arts Council England, Queensland University of Technology and Bath Spa University.www.thewritingplatform.com | @thewritplatform
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