Jason Nelson: Net Art/Digital Poetics/Art Games and Oddities

(36 artworks)

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game, game, game and again game

Hovering above and attached to artwork's poorly drawn aesthetic is a personal examination of how we/I continually switch and un-switch our dominant belief systems. Moving from levels themed for faith or real estate, for chemistry or capitalism, the user triggers corrected poetry, jittering creatures and death and deathless noises. In addition each level contains short videos from the artist's childhood, representing those brief young interactions which spark out eventual beliefs. Game, game, game and again game is less a game about scoring and skill, and more an awkward and disjointed atmospheric, the self built into a jumping, rolling meander of life.

Alarmingly these are not lovesick zombies>>>

An alarmingly dirty, ugly and very confusing mess of a game, trying so very hard to be an artwork. It works brilliantly on some levels, and then fails hard on others. I see this as an experiment in creating artwork games, and will continue to explore and recreate this one. It isnt lost yet, just confused and scared. So play to explore and be charmed and annoyed. Oh and the videos...hmmmm..the videos....


<<< Between Treacherous Objects

Hidden secrets, multi-dimensional layering and more goregous fun than most fingers and eyes can absorb. These interactive layers are packaged by our obsessions with objects and their terrible dark betweens.


>>> Evil Hypnotizing Mascots

Algorithmic driven mascots. Hypnotizing stuffed and evil creatures. This is both humourous threat, and creepy absurdity. Oddly addictive to watch and watch and listen. Choose your favorite mesmerizing mascot and then use the center buttons to release their duplicating and re-morphing power. This project is a modified version of another of my creations called "An Introduction to the Study of Hypnotism", which explored shapes instead of mascots.


<<< The Poetry Cube

A learning tool designed by myself and programmer Rory Hering. The Cube allows users/poets to enter a 16 line poem, with those lines automatically placed within the multi-layered sections. Use the buttons to move in and out, recombining the poems by turning the Cube upwards, downwards and inwards. Built to act as a bridge between the print and digital worlds.


>>> Weather Visualizer

Having always been fascinated by the power and mystery of data, this project uses real-time weather rss feeds to drive a series of visualizations. An exciting project that artistically translates raw and constantly changing numbers into strange creatures and curious dances. I hope to eventually develop a water data visualizer, although I am not sure the term visualizer is even accurate for this project.

<<< Pandemic Rooms

The modern world is consumed with fears, with paranoid coverage of both real and hypothetical disaster and pandemic. Businesses flourish preparing companies for the day when half their workforce dies, and millions of chickens are burned in viral destroying blazes. With photograhs of abandoned industrial and institutional buildings as backgrounds, this artwork uses interactive spaces to explore our obsessions with microscopic species killers.




>>> This is how you will die

A slot machine for predicting death. I stripped down the code of an online pokie game and inserted 15 five-line death fictions/poeticals. You can win death videos and free spins. Some are rather scared of this creature's forecasting tone. And there are multiple versions of this work and most likely will be others with different themes in the future.

<<< Netbehaviour Online Residency

Over three weeks I collaborated with 24 different artists/writers/new media creators to build small new digital creatures. Such a wondrous and tiring deed, being forced to create and recreate every night.

>>> The Bomar Gene

Within every human there is a singular gene, unique only to that individual. And with that gene comes a singular ability, a rare, mostly never realized capacity for interacting with the world. The Bomar Gene explores this mythical gene, through a series of ficto-biographies, with each story being retranslated and spatialized through interactive interfaces and embodied animations. Each section opens up to such questions as: How are we defined by our genetic code? What does it mean to be an individual, to be unique? What are the implications of a society obsessed with rare abilities and super-powers?

<<< Promiscuous Design

Recombination, hand correction and the layering of meaning are built into this exploration of design and poetry. All input we sense is filtered through layered meanings. Promiscuous Design builds those various texts/sounds/movements and recreates them.



>>> Speech to Text Poetics

Using speech-to-text-software trained to my scratchy and yet (in the afternoon) velvety voice, I process the worlds of media (movies, radio, music, crowds, the ocean). The software, as all technology, is an imperfect and jealous lover that misunderstands explosions, or ambient noise, as text and retranslates the sounds and dialogues, finds hidden words beneath what we (and it) hears. Think of the process as an interpretive dance, a jittery technological oracle for our electronic boxes that shine out, uncertain media prophets.

<<< Uncontrollable Semantics

While net-art becomes increasingly more complex, more database and programming centered, this project shoots for simplicity. Utilizing the basic mouse-follower, Uncontrollable Semantics pulls together over fifty dramatically different sound, image and interactive environments, all through the simple mouse follower. While a simple innovation, this technique allows the user/player/reader to create their own experience, to feel the work come from the screen. Each environment offers four directions to four terms, four semantics, four named creatures. Explore and play and confuse yourself.

>>> Hymns of the Drowning Swimmer

An anthology of poems. Originally this was going to be three different works. Not able to finish those, I fitted them all together in 'selected works' mode. Many of the interactive devices are borrowed from other works and the texts culled from experiments gone awry. Hymns came from my thumbing through Methodist hymnals and finding the collection varied and alluringly hypnotic, not in a religious way, but rather in a 'these people are struggling to drown' way. I love the title.

<<< Dreamaphage (no 2)

Unfortunately the first version of Dreamaphage suffered from usability problems. The main interface was unwieldy (but pretty) and the books hard to find (causing the occasional computer crash). I redesigned the main interface, playing off the 3D feel of version one, but placing it within two dimensions. I then added a few more extra bits and readjusted the medical reports. I wish more artists revisited older works, adjusting for changes in tech and poetic sensibility.



<<< Locomotive and Creatures

I suppose I should eventually group everything I create in categories. L&C would fit within screen morphology. I wanted an interface that seemed to be both alive and insectual as well as offer connections to train tracks. The soundtrack spurs the reader/user into interacting with the poem. I love how difficult it is to read the poem in a linear path, forcing multiple readings within a pretty expand/contract structure.

<<< Conversation

The arctic sound experiments of Glenn Gould inspired this conversation mixer. Toting my laptop around Bowling Green, Ohio I asked friends and strangers questions about Robots, Injuries and Consumer Products. Then I cut those recordings down to 20- second clips which were then put into a mixer board interface. Much like isolating couples' small talk at crowded parties, this engine allows the user/reader to create their own vocal mess. My voice is hidden within a few of the channels.

>>> Technatomy

Actually the title is Science and the Random Technatomy Made Real, but this simple and too eclectic work never merited such an involved designation. This critter works as an exploration of movement and abstract shapes, like absurd screen savers for hidden texts. When I think of this work I imagine Kansas clouds over a nearly empty town. Never having been published, I will most likely break it apart and use its components for background doo-dads. Explore the various floaters and you will find poetic wonders and a surprise revelation.

<<< Dreamaphage

This work was inspired by lost diaries and those strange diseases that arise in one percent of one percent of one percent of us. I love the 3-dimensionality of the different dreams and the layering of stories, poetry, science and multimedia playthings through a turning page interface. Leading to the books is a floating depth framework that the user mouses over, into and out of. More than any of my creations, Dreamaphage contains dozens of hidden buttons and lost texts.



this will be the end of you: play6: four variable creations >>>

Another attempt at a ‘create your own poem' interface. Four channels with hidden texts and animations. This is another work that is twenty percent from being good. The texts are charming poeticals, and there are some quirky and appealing graphics and hidden bits. But overall it lacks polish and a uniform theme. And, as with many of my early works, I still find the interface useful. I still find poetic texts lost within the cheap plastic surroundings. There should be a genre of electronic writing called collage poetics. Much of my work would fit.

<<< Superstitious Appliances

A very similar work to Panhandle in the way it explores variant interfaces. I see this work as a collection of related digital poems, all attached to objects,exploring our fascination and near religious reliance on household machines. Scott Rettberg and the ELO kids were forever kind enough to feature this work during the 2002 conference. And I remember playing bouncy ball with Shelley Jackson and exploring the new crowd of damn charming electronic writers. The first page/main interface should be a painting in itself, television fuzz inside religious castles.

this will be the end of you: play4: within within >>>

Exploring depth, this work plays with texts inside texts inside texts. Much of the idea for this work arrived after watching loose poem pages blow from my car. The numbered texts are related to some of my dictionary poems. And while this inside-inside page depth has become more common, this is another interface that should be more fully explored. The difficulty with work like this is teaching the user to manipulate the interface. Dreamaphage (one) attempted to use a similar mouse driven fly through.

this will be the end of you: play 7: genetic code <<<

Damn the gene thrust keeps arriving, all bark and bull horns. If I had to group my works, this would fit with Color and Cube. A simple one page interacter, that forces the reader/user to play to experience. This is more abstract painting than strict poem, but glorious fun all the same. Another interface that I want to reexplore. And in fact if you dig deep into Uncontrollable Semantics, you will find this same code reused on a few of the terminology spaces.

this will be the end of you: play 3: and the last machine with moving parts >>>

In my ill directed and over complex attempt to create a series, this is number 3 (two was too terrible to include) in the "this will be…” collection. I was really proud of the interface here. But the work is poorly executed and texts muddled. Really an experiment more than a full creation. Later I use the same interface for a section of The Bomar Gene. And plan to use it in an invisible way along with some short video clips. Although I do love the directions button, which is an overt comment on some's need to explain net artworks.

<<< this will be the end of you: play1:chemistry or (Ending1)

Oddly another of my fascinations is with death or ending. This work combines mysticism science with math poetics all caressed into a game interface. Using a modified card game I created this work that cycles randomly through 52 options. The five buttons then let the user determine their own combination of poetics. One feature of the original code I could not remove was the 'game over' after so many clicks. I have always been disappointed by how little attention people have given this work. I really quite love the mystery within the texts, which remain hidden evidently.

>>> Panhandle

In many of my creatures, my odd stories, I fiddle with the notions of, the intersections between ficto-biography, found texts and obscure science. Those three are packaged in the Dust Bowl landscapes of the Oklahoma Panhandle. I am so fond and curious about the forever roads and emptying towns of the prairie. This work is interesting in the way it plays with multiple interfaces and multimedia critters. I suppose its all over the place appearance is a bit disjointed. Some have asked if this story is true, and I always promise to show them the letters when they come to Oklahoma . Many thanks to Talan Memmott for caring about this work.

<<< Plush

After a fairly long drinking stupor and that home long rush to the bathroom, I blurried stared at a set of luxury towels from my bathroom floor. I was fascinated by the allegiance between common objects and overblown titles and brand names. Toothbrushes and carpet beg us to find joy in our status as dry and flooring shined buyers. And of course this work also shows my general dissatisfaction with poetics that derive their worth from high imagery, socially powerful obviousness. This work was rejected because of the phrase 'you dirty fuckers'. But then they forget that is exactly what we all are.



>>> Another Emotion

The music is the poem, magnifying the words and also the block's sideways, backways motion. Such simple rollovers for simple background accents. But I love the snapshot views built from stationary stanzas. I wish the poem had found, or could find a print home. I have grown weary of scrollers. Then I was in love with 'look it moves'. Also my first experiment in the organic crackle and film like spreading lines. Tastes good with In an Unrelated Sequence Comes.

<<< A Tracing

The whispers scare some. And again the overpowering soundings pull the poetics along to certain conclusions. Here again is a simple creation, with the reader/user determining the order of stanzas. The simple movable pop up should be used as the haiku of the Electric Lit set.

>>> Coalesce and Ennead

The title is worth the price of teas and anchors alone. The background noise sounds like thunde, but is actually the theme from Godzilla in slow slowness. Graphically it shows my long affair with images stolen from late 19th century engineering books hidden away on the fourth floor of the University of Oklahoma library. The books are still there, minus a few pretty pages. This work has never really been published and the user/reader is required to find the text buttons and then hold down the mouse. Functionality be damned, I still like the overall 'within science we find our god' pull.

<<< In an Unrelated Sequence Comes

One of my first woks, all simple colors and one page poeticals. Built to rearrange, to force the reader/user to play, to touch. The rollover sounds lead to the original order of the poem. Although no order is desired. No sequence more or less feared or acquired.

>>> Nine Attempts to Clone a Poem

Perhaps my first mostly realized project. After reading of cloned sheep with teeth on the outside of their skulls, I attempted to recreate the cloning gone bad process with a hyperpoetic context. Aside from the embarrassingly bad 'matrix' interface, made before such things cluttered the web, I love the fairly simple altering and destruct/reconstruction of the poem. My favorite moment is the last, when words are culled through cloning. Balinese chants fill the sonic afternoon. And of course the spinning DNA follower builds the music to annoyance, ever so caustic fun.

<<< Blur

Being fairly affected by fermented juice, I worked on this poem in the graduate student lab in the English building at Bowling Green State University. Being about drunkenness the poem is lost in the interface, the blurring texts awkward to access. The music is a clip from an early Flaming Lips song (the second stolen clip of theirs I use). I think I hate the background. I might just redo this work. I miss that youngish feeling of being blurred away.

>>> Series Poems

While other works require a user play, this is straight forward poem after poem after poem. A simple spinning interface opens to cluttered texts and backward masked Cowboy Junkies. There are two secret thank yous hidden in the work. I do love the popping letters and partial words. Again I am trying to uncover how to make the page alive, to give the eye some randomness to follow. The poems are straight from a series written long before my first photoshop session. Was still learning to write for the screen as opposed to simply shoving previous texts into existing interfaces.


<<< Machine Poems

My first hypertextual work. I love the actual poems, but the code here, the framesets, has not held up to changes in browsers. Perhaps I should go back to more straight multilinear work like this, as flash and spin can detract. And of course the now familiar old engineering images.

>>> Gorgeous Oaks

My first creature birthed under the electronic lit banner. Made despite protest from the director of my MFA program. This was not writing I was told. Highlights my ongoing fascination with community spaces.