digital environments

New VR art on Arrhythmicity, grab your goggles! by James belflower

I have some new digital art in the VR exhibition at Arrhythmicity. Make sure you have your VR goggles, it's immersive! It runs until 5.15.18 and is made by dalpfozs.

My digtial collages are done exclusively on the iPhone 6 using apps such as Decim8, Pixel is Data, and Photoshop Mix to glitch, distort, and errorize found text and images.
The excerpts from the series I have attached explore a vocabulary new to me, child rearing. The fragmented, sometimes illegible words floating through these collages speak to the radical transformations to communication that characterize the birth partner experience

My work appears with Zeppra, Bryan Meador, Sarawut Chutiwongpeti, Momma Tried, Udit Mahajan, and Endam Nihan. And don't forget to check out previous exhibitions!

arrhythmicity - curatorial statements

an exploration of the fertility of errors, with works by:
15.03.2018 - 15.04.2018: Marcelina Wellmer, Kevin Brophy, osvaldo cibils, Simon Hutchinson, cleo miao, jah justice, Sian Fan, Noah Travis Phillips
15.04.2018 - 15.05.2018: Bryan Meador, Endam Nihan, James Belflower, Momma Tried, Sarawut Chutiwongpeti, Udit Mahajan, Zeppra
15.05.2018 - 15.06.2018: Bianca Hockensmith, Claude Heiland-Allen, David Lisbon, Jonathan Kiritharan, Nick Montfort

the exhibition developed starting from the following open call for very short audio (.mp3 - max. 30s) and images (.jpg - max. 500kb):
in a world that covers its flaws in the blinding light of universal truths and institutionally reinforced regimes of visibility, we are interested in the fertile shades opened up by errors. the antiseptic intellectual environment our societies try to achieve, while arguably “healthy” and “safe” for the established values, has the huge disadvantage of obscuring any fundamentally different modes of existence. we are looking for submissions that explore the fertility of errors and question our inherited worldview.

Fence Digital Book Design by James belflower

Recently I launched Fence Digital, the electronic imprint of Fence Books. Working with Rebecca Wolff, we are planning to release as many books as possible as often as possible. We are in the process of looking for new books suited to a digital environment, so find us over at Fence Digital.

If you missed my editorial note that went out a few days ago, here it is. 

The idea that we coevolve through intimate interactions with our virtual media is both joyous and terrifying. Here at Fence Books, we choose to bedevil this evolution further by launching Fence Digital, a new electronic publishing imprint that reinserts materiality into the digital.

To that end, our projects reevaluate the boundary between the virtual nature of digital information and the viscerality of text. When designing books, we think of the project in print, but we also consider how digital extra-textual qualities (video, image, animation, hyperlinks, etc.) might contribute to its textualization. In short, we design with attention to how a reader’s swipe interacts with a digital book as something that happens rather than something that exists.

So, with the first three books from Fence Digital, we encourage you to coevolve with us: swipe across the rubber typed pages of Michael Leong’s Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, the handwritten postcards sent on Brian Young’s road trip in Moonie, and the floating feather through Matthew Klane’s My.

Download all these books and more at Fence Digital or on iBooks.


James Belflower



Me Is Not Me In the Machine: Further Thoughts Part 2 by James belflower

At the 2017 NEMLA conference in Baltimore, Joe Hall, Jeff T. Johnson, and myself discussed overlaps in the socio-political state of Precarity and the aesthetics of online synchronous collaborative writing. The panel was very productive and generated as many questions as it did more complex considerations. In the spirit of keeping the conversation going, I have asked each panelist to provide a brief summary of their paper along with thoughts and questions that are guiding their further thinking about productive interminglings of precarious labor and creative risk in digital environments.


In the spirit of precarious online collaboration, of me-s that are not me, of becoming me-s and other me-s, of the attempt to subdue the authorial tyrant (authorship is arbitrary power), I offer a couple examples of collaborative folly in which I have taken part.

Here I use the following (fifth) sense of folly “A popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder” (OED online). The cost here is time, paid as risk (or wager that others will pay in attention). Here, the financial metaphor is contested.

And I proceed to link and even conflate precariousness and provisionality, in the following senses:

Provisional: 1a. Of, belonging to, or of the nature of a temporary provision or arrangement; provided or adopted for the time being; supplying the place of something regular, permanent, or final. Also: accepted or used in default of something better; tentative. (OED online)

Precarious: 2b. Dependent on chance or circumstance; uncertain; liable to fail; exposed to risk, hazardous; insecure, unstable. (OED online)

One folly is a time-costly provisional structure that existed, precariously and holographically, for one month in 2015. Another folly is a conceptual (and precarious digital) architecture and its accompanying theoretical interface.

One is a month-long time-warped improvised online high-school drama. Another is an ostensibly networked interactive open-field digital concrete poem that could become a time-and-space-fluid archive of writing.

All-Time High was a Netprov (internet improv) that ran in July 2015. It had a basic narrative structure worked out in advance, and a team of showrunners and featured players to keep it rolling, but it was built for drop-in public engagement. It was designed to be a collective online hallucination that would vanish after 28 days of infectious fever dream: What if everyone was back in high school, including you?

The Archiverse is a conceptual compositional space, and Letters From the Archiverse is a poem I have been writing in AutoCAD drafting software for the past 9 years, in a version of that conceptual space. For the past 5 years or so, I have been theorizing The Archiverse with digital media scholar Andrew Klobucar. We are currently developing a networked tablet app version of The Archiverse, which will allow an unlimited number of reader/writers to collaborate in real time, but also explore and manipulate an archive of open-field composition at any moment of its composition. The ambition of the project is to reimagine the way language is collaboratively positioned (and manipulated) in time-space. It is also an experiment in decentralizing and distributing—or even atomizing—authorial agency.

So my primary concern is dispersed authorship, collective texts and their resulting collections as digital archives. But I’d like to raise a related line of inquiry, in the context of this panel.

As an adjunct instructor and independent contractor (architectural draftsperson), I wonder: Does the precariat tend to create precarious structures and artworks? Why not seek a sense of stability one does not find in lived experience? Or would that betray one’s experience: another sort of folly? Or: How do we experience precarious digitally mediated forms? And how do we know when we’ve gone digital? Where are we in the digital archive?

Jeff T. Johnson’s writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in PEN America, Fanzine, Jacket2, Tarpaulin Sky, and elsewhere. With Claire Donato, he collaborated on Special America, a multi-mediated performance intervention about American exceptionalism that stopped being funny when America stopped pretending not to be both self-absorbed and self-destructive. A Netprov feature player, he is co-creator of All-Time High. His open-field concrete digital poem THE ARCHIVERSE is documented at, and is anthologized in Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3. He wrote Trouble Songs: A Musicological Poetics (punctum books, 2017). A chapbook, trunc & frag, is at Our Teeth. He is currently a Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute.