July 6, 2020
A person experiences UCF's Middle Passage VR

Texts and Technology at UCF is hosting two virtual conferences this summer, both of which focus on the fusion of humanities questions with critical examination and playful exploration of the potential of technology.

On July 13-15, the ACM Hypertext + Social Media conference includes research on all aspects of the modern web. The conference theme, “Hypertext for Social Good,” brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the pressing challenges and opportunities presented by the web today. On July 16-18, the Electronic Literature Organization Conference 2020 includes playful interactive work (such as games, augmented/virtual reality and hybrid physical-digital installation pieces) as well as narrative experiences built to take advantage of the full potential of screens.

ELO 2020 and ACM Hypertext 2020 co-chair Anastasia Salter has overseen the transition of both conferences from their planned happenings at UCF to online, and sees them as an important opportunity to bring together a community of digital researchers and creative thinkers to imagine how academic work might address current challenges. “These events bring together two communities that research and create for the web, at a time when most universities are rethinking the role online education and connection will play in their ability to move forward,” says Salter. “Our plenaries, reimagined interactive events, and creative exhibitions all offer ways of thinking through the technologies that will be the foundation of our public spaces for the foreseeable future.”

The five plenary events will be streamed and are open to the public.

In collaboration with the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group in Hypertext and the Web, the Electronic Literature Organization, and the UCF College of Graduate Studies, the Text and Technology program invites you to attend:

Games, Hypertext, and Meaning

Noah Wardrip-Fruin, University of California, Santa Cruz

Monday, July 13th, 11:30am-12:30pm

Password: 056938

What topics can games meaningfully address? One powerful way that games can address topics is by having playable models that resonate with their intended themes. The communicative role of the hypertext link is flexible enough that it can be used to address a wide range of topics.

The Hypertext Years?

Stuart Moulthrop, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Tuesday, July 14th, 11:30am-12:30pm

Password: 291292

Moulthrop points to the major interest in complex narratives, counterfactuals, and multiverses as places where the hypertext aesthetic survives. Turning from aesthetics back to the technical, the talk focuses on Twine, the popular text-gaming application that marries the openness of web technologies with the structure-mapping affordances of graphical hypertext systems.

Tech Won’t Save Us: Reimagining Digital Technologies for the Public

Safiya Noble, University of California, Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 15th, 11:30am-12:30pm


Technology consists of a set of social practices, situated within the dynamics of race, gender, class, and politics. This talk, stemming from the recent book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, addresses the issues of racial equity and public interest technologies that could foreground civil and human rights in the 21st century movements for AI.

Subcutanean: Reading and Discussion

Aaron Reed, Thursday, July 16th, 4:00pm-5:30pm

Password: 946401

Aaron Reed will read from various versions of his procedurally-assembled queer coming-of-age novel Subcutanean, and discuss the book’s genesis and creation process. Building on his experience as an interactive fiction writer and his interest in exploring the limits of generation, interactivity, and agency, Subcatanean is not a Choose Your own Adventure Novel but a book that regenerates itself for each new reader, authored with hundreds of variations and printed on demand.

How to Play Like a Feminist in 2020

Shira Chess, University of Georgia

Friday, July 17th, 11:30am-12:30pm

Password: 899110

I wrote Play Like a Feminist in 2018 and 2019, and then in 2020, the rules, the constraints, and the foci of our world changed. In this presentation, I revisit the phrase “Play like a Feminist” to consider how we can realign our thinking and still find a usefulness in playful protest. By thinking about games as a call to action and a mode of radical play, we can harness play to create better futures.