the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Tag: google maps

What is Google’s place in literature?

Or Flickr’s? Or Twitter’s? Or (shudder) Facebook’s? Or any company currently functioning as media?

A month or two ago, I linked to something called “Mr. Plimpton’s Revenge,” a literary essay that takes the form of a Google Map. Novel! (It wasn’t a novel; it was just an essay. I was, there, simply remarking on how novel it was.)

A couple weeks ago in my feed reader, I noticed a few more items: One is something called Sumedicina, a “data fiction project” that takes the form of a Flickr photo set. It’s a story told through infographics, communicated by means of the popular photo-sharing site.

Another project I ran across is from 3 Quarks Daily; it’s a mini-experiment that turns Google Voice transcripts (which, if you haven’t used Google Voice, are not entirely accurate, and rarely make full sense) into poetry by formatting them and annotating them as such.

(A fourth, less experimental, though very enjoyable, recent example of this literature mashing is Coudal’s Verse By Voice project. Coudal asked people to dial in and leave a recitation of their favorite poem in a voicemail. The recordings are fun to listen to, and include poems by O’Hara, Berry, Stevens, Muldoon, Ted Hughes.)

Of course, the flavors of techno-mediated literature vary. Putting a story on a Google Map, like Plimpton’s Revenge does, takes full advantage of a useful – and, importantly, populist – new interface to get a plot across.

In the case of Sumedicina, the media’s less central. Flickr is mostly just an effective distribution channel. Sumedicina’s at heart a visual story, and could be recreated easily on paper. The infographic format is something, though, that’s succeeded online and is, if not native to the channel, at least a smart and easily understood unit of communication online.

Finally, with Google Voice Poetry, the mediation is more extreme. The technology isn’t just the distribution channel or the interface, it’s the interpreter. (That’s a trope not uncommon to poetry; as seen in avant garde poetry movments such as flarf, spoetry and l=a=n=g=u=a=g=e poetry.)


Links for 1.25.10: 19 Tips for Better Abs

*Update: It has recently (online and off) been asked – “What is happening to this blog?” I feel like I should address this question in the form of a listicle (the true essence of the “blog” format): 1) What has been happening is simple, inevitable change.

2) To wit: I’m reminded of a passage from a Randall Jarrell lecture on Wallace Stevens (though you have to connect some dots to understand how the Marx reference gets back to Stevens – and then again to get to our present situation): “When Marx said that he wasn’t a Marxist he meant, I suppose, that he himself was not one of his own followers, could not be taken in by the prolongation and simplification of his own beliefs.” That statement is sorta about art and politics, but it’s more importantly about being an active, thinking, creating human being. It is the healthy delta between creator and consumer. Note: I do not like the listenerd.

3) I have been Tumbling more. (My twitter account, meanwhile, has felt creatively desiccated.)

I have been deciding in which social media bucket to put what kind of interesting, shareable tidbit (tumblr, here, twitter, etc.) entirely by feel. I freely admit that I have probably been doing it wrong. Additionally, my creative output at work has dwindled probably to the hundreds of words weekly. In short, I’m getting old. Fuckers.

*Article: Here’s the kind of thing I used to link to more frequently: The Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger has been Okayed! Hooray! Wait.

*Literature: “Mr. Plimpton’s Revenge” is a literary essay delivered through the medium of a Google map. It is excellent. Like, “Two Gentlemen of Lebowski” excellent. That’s high praise around here. [shorties]

*Data: Feltron has released his annual report for 2009. (As I have mentioned many times previously, Mr. Felton helped us out by recording a video for my day job, and I have always enjoyed his reports.)

*Obesity: Thinner Whole Foods employees (or at least those with lower BMIs) will get better discounts? If I keep going at the rate I’m going, my employee discount would quickly be at 110% retail price. But first I’d have to get a job at Whole Foods. A job for which I would be wholly unqualified.

*Fisticuffs: Apparently, there was a brawl at the TC Hip-Hop Awards at First Ave.

*Bands: Gabba is a British cover band that does Abba and the Ramones. I like the idea of walking mashups. [spinner]

*Hip-hop: Flavorwire does a round-up of Understand Rap explanations from Blueprint 3. I’m inclined to enjoy explanations of lyrics, though I cannot explain why. Also, I would love to see a Hopelandic explanation site. [the pocketdialed reader]

*Today’s links: F.

Links for 12.20.09: Let it be.

*Words: If you know me, you are probably aware of the fact that I don’t believe in definitions. To wit: This. Additionally, here are the year’s buzzwords. I’m a big fan of Great Recession, but I think teabagging should have gotten its own entry (not just as an extension of “Tea Party.”)

*Humanity: Google Maps India gives directions by landmarks, since many roads aren’t clearly marked with their names. [waxy]

*Food: These photographs depicting last meals of death row inmates by James Reynolds are rather cold. [coudal]

*Beer: Heineken once designed its bottles to work as bricks? (Older, link, but I mean, it’s a beer bottle that’s also a brick.)

*Video: Watch this video showing how holiday music can be played on a washing machine. I haven’t used a washing machine in years. Also, I need to buy a new refrigerator. [notcot]

*Art: Doodling improves your concentration. I drew a Charlie Brown figure flying in a recent HR meeting. FYI. [marginal revolution] Also, if you feel like time has passed quickly, you had fun. That meeting felt long.

*Local: Slate takes on The Replacements’ “Let It Be” on its 25th anniversary. Unrelated to this link, I despise Slate. With great vigor.

*Today’s links: F