[ISEA2023] Panel: Scott Rettberg, Jill Walker Rettberg, Talan Memmott, Jason Nelson & Patrick Lichty — AIwriting: Relations Between Image Generation and Digital Writing

Panel Statement

Theme: AI – Generative Sub Theme: Symbiotic Imaginaries

Keywords: AI, GPT-3, DALL•E 2, Stable Diffusion, electronic literature, image generation, digital narrative, language models

During 2022, both transformer-based AI text generation systems such as GPT-3 and AI text-to-image generation systems such as DALL•E 2 and Stable Diffusion made exponential leaps forward and are unquestionably altering the fields of digital art and electronic literature. In this panel a group of electronic literature authors and theorists consider new opportunities for human creativity enabled by these systems and present new works produced during the past year that specifically address these systems as environments for literary expressions that are translated through iterative interlocutive processes into visual representations. The premise that binds these presentations is that these systems and the works generated must be considered from a literary perspective, as they originate in human writing. In works ranging from a visual memoir of the personal experience of a health crisis, to interactive web comics, to architectures based on abstract poetic language, to political satire, four artists explore the capabilities of these writing environments for new genres of literary art practice, while a digital culture theorist considers the origins and effects of the particular training datasets of human language and images on which these new hybrid forms are based.

  • Scott Rettberg is Director of the Center for Digital Narrative and Professor of digital culture in the Department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, The Catastrophe Trilogy, Three Rails Live, Toxi*City, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project and others. He is the cofounder of the Electronic Literature
    Organization. Rettbergs book Electronic Literature (Polity, 2018) was the winner of the 2019 N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature.
  • Jill Walker Rettberg is Professor of digital culture at the University of Bergen in Norway and Principal Investigator of the ERC project “MACHINE VISION: Machine Vision in Everyday Life: Playful Interactions with Visual Technologies in Digital Art, Games, Narratives and Social Media.” Jill Walker Rettberg’s book Machine Vision: How Algorithms are Changing the Way We See the World is forthcoming on Polity Press in 2022. Her previous book, Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves, was published as an open access monograph by Palgrave in October 2014. Her book Blogging was published in a 2nd edition by Polity Press in 2014.
  • Talan Memmott is a digital writer/artist/theorist. Memmott has taught and been a researcher in digital culture and media practices at University of California Santa Cruz; University of Bergen, Norway; Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden; California State University Monterey Bay; the Georgia Institute of Technology; and the University of Colorado Boulder. He is Associate Professor of Creative Digital Media at Winona State University. His digital art and electronic literature work has been exhibited, presented, and published internationally. He was a co-editor for the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 (ELO), the ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature, and was the recipient of the 2021 Electronic Literature Organization Maverick Award.
  • Jason Nelson is a creator of curious and wondrous interactive poems and fictions of odd lives, builder of confounding art games and all manner of curious digital creatures. He professes Digital Narrative at the University of Bergen in Norway. He exhibits/publishes
    widely in galleries and journals, with work featured at ARS, FILE, ACM, LEA, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, ELO and other acronyms. There are awards to list (Paris Biennale Media Poetry Prize, Digital Writing Award, New Media Writing Prize), and Fellowships he’s adventured into (Fulbright, Moore), but it’s the Webby award that makes him smile. play more at: https://dpoetry.com
  • Patrick Lichty is a media “reality” artist, curator, and theorist who explores how media and mediation affect our perception of our environment. He is best known for his work as a principal of the virtual reality performance art group Second Front, and the animator of the activist group, The Yes Men. He is a CalArts/Herb Alpert Fellow and Whitney Biennial exhibitor as part of the collective RTMark. His recent book, Variant Analyses: Interrogations of New Media Culture was released by the Institute for Networked Culture, and is included in the Oxford Handbook of Virtuality.