copyright © 2008
There is no past. There is no future. There is only the present, with its memories and habits, its regrets and grudges, its ambitions and expectations. From these we manufacture the stories that we believe lie behind us and we build the narrative trajectory along which we image ourselves traveling. Then we cast messy aggregations of human beings as characters in the drama, giving these invented mega-roles names such as America or Islam. We expand the cast to include gods that preside over us, giving them names such as Money or Love. We make stars out of bystanders. Happenstance becomes Destiny. Obscurity becomes The Divine. To provide a stage for the whole affair, we fashion History out of words, erecting great walls of writing in an effort to imprison Time. Instead the words imprison us. We rely upon them unreservedly to define us, justify us, explain us to ourselves. Words have become our inviolable guardians of meaning and purpose.
Our deeply ingrained need to trust language enables Feed to generate an endless simulacrum of social commentary cum mythopoeic narrative spontaneously from largely random associations of charged words. With each click of the Continue button, it presents cultural observation through the blind eye of chance. The blank passing moment becomes the creator of mythos. It allows us the opportunity to turn ambiguity into poetry, absurdity into satire, unexpected fortuitous alignments into insight. Feed chronicles the mechanisms of the chronicle rather than its subjects. It removes “realism” from the equation, flirting with the meaningless and parading arbitrary associations before the reader under the banners of archetype and metaphor. Feed historicizes, editorializes, moralizes, sings, dances, and wears funny hats, all in the name of “analyzing” its own inventions.
A Special Edition of Feed was created for Archive and Innovate: The 4th International Conference & Festival of the Electronic Literature Organization. This version contains a preponderance of teminology specific to e-lit criticism and practice and served to generate real-time responses to presentations during the conference.
The text of this work is stored in XLit format, an XML format meant to allow easier authoring, dissemination, and preservation of interactive and multimedia literature. The XML file can be viewed here.