Networked_Performance

Four Versions of bpNichol’s “First Screening”

First Screening – Computer Poems by bpNichol (2007) — Jim Andrews, Geof Huth, Lionel Kearns, Marko Niemi, Dan Waber.

From -empyre-: “In 1983 and 1984, bpNichol used an Apple IIe computer and the Apple BASIC programming language to create First Screening, a suite of a dozen programmed, kinetic poems. He distributed First Screening through Underwhich, an imprint he started in 1979 with a small group of poets. The Underwhich edition of First Screening consisted of 100 numbered and signed copies distributed on 5.25″ floppies along with printed matter.

However, the Apple IIe soon became obsolete and the poems became essentially inaccessible. But in 1992, four years after the death of bpNichol, J. B. Hohm, a student at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, began creating a HyperCard version of First Screening with the approval of Ellie Nichol, bp’s widow, and with assistance from Dennis Johnson and Fred Wah. In 1993, Red Deer College Press published it on a 3.5″ floppy disk for the Macintosh computer.

The HyperCard version of First Screening was a careful re-creation and recoding of the original, and it extended the life of First Screening a few more years. Still, HyperCard eventually died, leaving the poems unavailable to all but the few who owned a functioning old Mac or an even older Apple IIe and a readable diskette (unlikely, since the usual lifetime of a diskette is approximately five years). In 2004, Apple stopped selling HyperCard, and OSX’s Classic mode was the last Mac operating system on which it was possible to view HyperCard works.

So we are very happy to present to you four different versions of First Screening.

1. The original DSK file of the Underwhich edition with a freely downloadable Apple IIe emulator (available for PCs and (maybe) Macs), along with scanned images of the printed matter distributed with the Underwhich edition. This version is closest to the original.

2. An online JavaScript version of First Screening created by Marko Niemi and Jim Andrews.

3. A streaming Quicktime movie of the emulated version.

4. The original HyperCard version, which may, perhaps, become easier to view in the future via a HyperCard Player emulator or some other means. We’ve also included scans of the printed matter of this version.

This project has taken us almost three years. We’ve learned much about bpNichol’s First Screening and how the destiny of digital writing usually remains the responsibility of the digital writers themselves. As a group and individually. This project illustrates that work can indeed survive the obsolescence of technologies if others are still interested in the work and the artist has provided what is required to implement the work using later technologies. bpNichol originally created 100 copies of First Screening and distributed them widely, which was important to the propagation of the bitstream. Fortunately, the source code was relatively easy to extract and fairly simple to understand. First Screening is some of the earliest programmed, kinetic poetry. This historical significance, together with the quality of the work itself and bpNichol’s literary stature (he was awarded Canada’s highest literary honour in 1970), have also motivated us to complete this project.

The recovery started in 2004 when Lionel Kearns showed Jim Andrews the HyperCard version on an old Mac. Lionel also had three 5.25″ floppy disks bpNichol had given him. Jim took those floppies to Information Services at the University of Victoria, Canada, where Jeff Rivett, a data analyst, recovered the data using his own functioning Apple IIe at home.

That version of First Screening turned out to be incomplete; Barrie Nichol must have given Lionel these disks while still writing the piece. Geof Huth [1] recognized that the disk was missing some of the poems in the published version and that Lionel’s disk presented the remaining poems in a different order. In an attempt to preserve these poems, Geof had stored his 5.25″
floppy of the Underwhich edition carefully, made a silent videotape of the poems as they played on the Apple IIe, and printed out the source code. He could no longer view his floppy, since he no longer had an Apple II series computer, but the printout and the video indicated that three poems were missing from Lionel’s draft copy: “Reverie,” “Any of Your Lip,” and “Off-Screen Romance,” along with some initial and final bibliographic matter.

Following unsuccessful efforts by the University of Albany to recover the data from Geof’s 5.25″ floppy of the Underwhich edition, Geof shipped the floppy from New York to Dan Waber and Jason Pimble in Pennsylvania. Dan and Jason were able to recover the full version from Geof’s 22-year-old floppy using a functioning Apple IIe computer and a range of open source software.

O ye digital poets: the past of the art is in your hands and it is you who must recover and maintain it. Although the history of digital archiving is more than two decades old, most professional archivists have little interest or training in the process of preserving and ensuring functional access to digital materials. For instance, although bpNichol’s work is archived at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, no one there had or could copy the data from the Underwhich edition floppy to contemporary media. They were not uninterested, however, and many thanks to Tony Power for trying.

The secret to this project has been a combination of passion and knowledge. None of us understood the entirety of the situation facing us at the outset. Each of us brought a different set of skills to the task, and all of us brought our love of Nichol’s work and our desire to make sure that others could once again see these early digital poems. We hope our efforts prove worth it for those who visit these pages now and into the future.” — Jim Andrews, Geof Huth, Lionel Kearns, Marko Niemi, Dan Waber (March 2007) [via Paul Brown on DASH at JISCMAIL.AC.UK]


Jan 27, 17:21
Trackback URL

Leave a comment

Tags


calls + opps performance livestage exhibition installation networked mobile writings participatory locative media augmented/mixed reality event new media video interactive public net art conference virtual intervention distributed second life sound political technology narrative festival tactical lecture art + science conversation social networks social games history surveillance dance music workshop urban mapping collaboration live upgrade! reblog activist wearable immersive public/private data architecture platform body collective aesthetics environment systems city identity film visualization culture telematic wireless web 2.0 site-specific ecology place webcast open source tool software text research intermedia space community audio radio nature hybrid 3-D avatar e-literature audio/visual responsive presence pyschogeography interdisciplinary media object interview physical global/ization ubiquitous theory theater biotechnology relational play code archive bioart generative news DIY robotic light place-specific hacktivism synthetic p2p cinema remix education agency interface language im/material live cinema algorithmic labor copyright simulation mashup animation perception image free/libre software multimedia artificial motion tracking voice convergence streaming reenactment gift economy machinima emergence webcam cyberreality glitch DJ/VJ tv censorship ARG nonlinear tag transdisciplinary touch recycle asynchronous fabbing semantic web hypermedia chance synesthesia biopolitics tangible app social choreography gesture unconference forking 1
1 3-D activist aesthetics agency algorithmic animation app architecture archive ARG art + science artificial asynchronous audio audio/visual augmented/mixed reality avatar bioart biopolitics biotechnology body calls + opps censorship chance cinema city code collaboration collective community conference convergence conversation copyright culture cyberreality dance data distributed DIY DJ/VJ e-literature ecology education emergence environment event exhibition fabbing festival film forking free/libre software games generative gesture gift economy glitch global/ization hacktivism history hybrid hypermedia identity im/material image immersive installation interactive interdisciplinary interface intermedia intervention interview labor language lecture light live live cinema livestage locative media machinima mapping mashup media mobile motion tracking multimedia music narrative nature net art networked new media news nonlinear object open source p2p participatory perception performance physical place place-specific platform play political presence public public/private pyschogeography radio reblog recycle reenactment relational remix research responsive robotic second life semantic web simulation site-specific social social choreography social networks software sound space streaming surveillance synesthesia synthetic systems tactical tag tangible technology telematic text theater theory tool touch transdisciplinary tv ubiquitous unconference upgrade! urban video virtual visualization voice wearable web 2.0 webcam webcast wireless workshop writings

Archives

2018

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2017

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2016

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2015

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2014

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2013

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2012

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2011

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2010

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2009

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2008

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2007

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2006

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2005

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2004

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul

What is this?

Networked Performance (N_P) is a research blog that focuses on emerging network-enabled practice.
Read more...

RSS feeds

N_P offers several RSS feeds, either for specific tags or for all the posts. Click the top left RSS icon that appears on each page for its respective feed. What is an RSS feed?

Bloggers

F.Y.I.

Feed2Mobile
Networked
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.
New American Radio
Turbulence.org
Networked_Music_Review
Upgrade! Boston
Massachusetts Cultural Council
New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency
Thinking Blogger Award

Turbulence Works

These are some of the latest works commissioned by Turbulence.org's net art commission program.
[ openspace ] wilderness [meme.garden] A More Subtle Perplex A Temporary Memorial Project for Jobbers' Canyon Built with ConAgra Products A Travel Guide A.B.S.M.L. Ars Virtua Artist-in-Residence (AVAIR) (2007) Awkward_NYC besides, Bonding Energy Bronx Rhymes Cell Tagging Channel TWo: NY Condition:Used Constellation Over Playas Data Diaries Domain of Mount GreylockVideo Portal Eclipse Empire State Endgame: A Cold War Love Story Flight Lines From the Valley of the Deer FUJI spaces and other places Global Direct Google Variations Gothamberg Grafik Dynamo Grow Old Handheld Histories as Hyper-Monuments html_butoh I am unable to tell you I'm Not Stalking You; I'm Socializing iLib Shakespeare (the perturbed sonnet project) INTERP Invisible Influenced iPak - 10,000 songs, 10,000 images, 10,000 abuses iSkyTV Journal of Journal Performance Studies Killbox L-Carrier Les Belles Infidles look art Lumens My Beating Blog MYPOCKET No Time Machine Nothing Happens: a performance in three acts Nothing You Have Done Deserves Such Praise Oil Standard Panemoticon Peripheral n2: KEYBOARD Playing Duchamp Plazaville Psychographics: Consumer Survey Recollecting Adams School of Perpetual Training Searching for Michelle/SFM Self-Portrait Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China ShiftSpace Commissions Program Social Relay Mail Space Video Spectral Quartet Superfund365, A Site-A-Day text_ocean The Xanadu Hijack This and that thought. Touching Gravity 2/Tilt Tumbarumba Tweet 4 Action Urban Attractors and Private Distractors We Ping Good Things To Life Wikireuse Without A Trace WoodEar Word Market You Don't Know Me
More commissions