Digital Arts and Humanities - Book Chapters

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    Literary games, walking simulators and the new wave of digital fiction
    (Routledge, 2023-08-30) O'Sullivan, James
    Has the promise of digital literature ever really been realised? Or is the form, as suggested back in 2008 by Andrew Gallix, just one big anti-climax? Is hypertext fiction, essentially just a computerised version of the old-fashioned choose-your-own-adventure model, or generative writing, based on algorithms which string together words from pre-determined pools, all this field has to offer? Or do we find in new genres like the ‘walking simulator’ examples of fiction which brings text-based storytelling to rich, vibrant gamespaces, merging the expressive power of language with the immersion of present-day computer graphics? Since Gallix published his provocation in The Guardian, a series of critically acclaimed works which might be considered to be both literary and digital have been produced, titles like Dear Esther (2012) and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (2017). But one could contend, as does Gallix, that digital literature is dead because the form is no longer reliant on language for creative expression and is thus no longer literary. This chapter explores the current status of digital literature in the context of walking simulators, offering a typological account of the form, its origins and the state of the art, before asking: have works like Esther and Rapture really rejuvenated digital literature, or are they something else entirely? The chapter begins with a brief survey of dominant definitions, resolving any tensions between terminologies like literature, digital literature and videogames, establishing what is meant by a ‘walking simulator’, and detailing the genre’s major aesthetic and mechanical characteristics. The argument that walking simulators are representative of a ‘new wave’ of digital literature is then advanced, comparing such aesthetic traits with older, what will be described as partly scholastic, experimental forms. This chapter argues that the art of digital literature has moved into an era where there is an explicit tension between literature as technical experimentation and literature as immersive digital storytelling. In doing, it is hoped that this chapter, through its focus on the walking simulator genre, demonstrates what digital literature looks like in the twenty-first century.
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    Sharing as CARE and FAIR in the Digital Humanities
    (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022-11-03) Egan, Patrick; Murphy, Órla
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    Irish digital literature
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-01-19) O'Sullivan, James
    Experimentation is central to the Irish literary tradition, so it is striking to see that many new forms of digital literature remain uncultivated on this island. Where Irish literature has engaged with the digital, it is usually in the form of film-poetry, fragments of text set to video and sound. Other national canons have long progressed to more technically sophisticated genres – literary games, walking simulators, interactive fiction set in immersive virtual worlds – but Irish digital literature remains dominated by the film-poem, and in many respects, seems stagnated. But the situation in Ireland is not entirely bleak: in the figure of Doireann Ní Ghríofa, now a household name after the success of A Ghost in the Throat (2020), Ireland has a high-profile author who has shown a willingness to embrace the digital, something which may encourage further support for multimodal writing among arts practitioners and policymakers. Through its emphasis on Ní Ghríofa’s e-lit works, this chapter explores the past, present, and future of digital literature in Ireland, its major impediments, and possible futures.
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    Introduction: Reconsidering the present and future of the digital humanities
    (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022-12-01) O'Sullivan, James
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    Visualising humanities data
    (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022-11-03) Day, Shawn
    Visualization of data is undertaken for a variety of reasons, uses, and purposes in the humanities. Ultimately this forms part of a process of knowledge construction through exploration and discovery. The act of visualizing data as information is both an individual inward pursuit as well as an external performance. Engagement with the viewer/participant and audience raises questions, provokes discussion, and can stimulate activism. Traditionally non-humanistic disciplines have tended to often focus on using data visualization specifically for analysis and definitive substantiation. Until recently, few data visualization tools have been created specifically to fulfill the humanities' unique needs, which has led to adoption and adaptation, often involving conscious or unconscious compromise towards heuristic ends. As a result, these otherwise-engineered tools and methods pose challenges to visualizing humanities data. This chapter explores these challenges and issues to encourage reflection and possibly inspire effective remedy.