Judy Malloy, Editor

Judy Malloy
Paths of Memory and Painting
Software: DHTML

A Distinguished Fellow (2013-2014) and Visiting Lecturer (2014-2015) at Princeton University, Judy Malloy is a poet who works at the conjunction of electronic literature, magic realism, landscape, and information. A pioneer on the Internet and in electronic literature, since 1986, she has created a series of hypernarratives works, including its name was Penelope; (Narrabase, 1989; Eastgate, 1993) Forward Anywhere (with Cathy Marshall, Eastgate, 1996) and Concerto for Narrative Data. (Iowa Review Web, 2008)

Her work has also been exhibited/published by the Library of Congress, San Francisco Art Institute; Tisch School of the Arts, NYU; Sao Paulo Biennial; the Los Angeles Institute for Contemporary Art; Boston Cyberarts Festival; The Walker Art Center; Heller Gallery at the University of California at Berkeley; the National Library of Madrid; The Houston Center for Photography; the Cleveland Institute of Art; Institute for Contemporary Art New Orleans; San Antonio Art Institute; P.P.O.W., New York; The MLA Convention; Springer-Verlag; Tanam Press; Seal Press; E.P. Dutton, MIT Press; Blue Moon Review; and the National Endowment for the Arts website. Her papers are archived as The Judy Malloy Papers at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

She has been an artist in residence and consultant in the document of the future at Xerox PARC; Arts Wire Network Coordinator, the Editor of NYFA Current, a coordinating editor for Leonardo's electronic publications, and Editor of Women, Art & Technology. (MIT Press, 2003) In 1994, she created some of the first arts websites, including Making Art Online, (currently hosted on the website of the Walker Art Center) and l0ve0ne, the first work in the Eastgate Web Workshop.

Malloy has designed library database systems and been creating custom new media Authoring Software for her own work for over 25 Years. She is currently the Editor of Authoring Software.

Judy Malloy: Paths of Memory and Painting

P aths of Memory and Painting is a three-part work of hypertextual narrative poetry that uses an innovative series of arrays of poetic lexias to take the reader on a journey of recollected art experience. The reading experience suggests successive text-paintings that chronicle the changes in a painter's work, beginning with her early work as a landscape painter in the 1940's. Each of the three parts is built with a series of small lexias, (screens of text that stand by themselves or can be combined with other lexias) but the interface to each part is different. Part one is structured with a complex array of lexias; Part Two is created as a filmic slide-show of text; Part Three is a text-based trio sonata.

Told by a distinguished Bay Area Figurative painter, Dorothy Abrona McCrae, the entire story brings together the narrator's recollections of her life and work.

Part One: where every luminous landscape

T he narrator recollects her early work as a landscape painter and looks at the lives of artist adventurers and environmentalists in the California landscape school. The narrative is displayed in eight parallel lexia tracks, creating a reading experience that is both complex but seductive in its counterparted recitative and arioso texts.

I wrote the work with dynamic HTML, (DHTML) creating an array of frames that are scripted with HTML, CSS, and Meta Refresh tags. The interface is a variation of the interface I designed for the opening section of The Roar of Destiny. (1995-1999) Rather than (as I have in some other works) offering the reader parallel paths of text --in which the navigation/exploration between the unseen paths is an integral part of the work and of the reading experience -- in this work, the words of all the paths and their relationships to each other, are more clearly visible.

Color and design contribute to a reading experience of successive text-paintings that chronicle the changes in a painter's work. Blue lexias begin in the present, yet are recollections of the lives and work of California landscape artists; blue-green lexias begin in 1944; and yellow, black, purple lexias are descriptions of Dorothy's paintings -- past and present -- of historical artists and writers.

Informed by successive layers of Dorothy's life and art, where every luminous landscape is composed with interlocking texts that I/the reader shuffle and reshuffle until the effect is exactly what is desired.

Part Two: when the foreground and the background merged

"I am writing this in the 21st century.
If the time shifts are not always obvious,
so it is with my memory of the events..
Layers of memory..
Painting in the hills in 1944..
Dinner with Gus in 1944..
Painting in my studio at Cal in 1946.
or was it 1947?.
Back and forth motion of the paintbrush."

w hen the foreground and the background merged is the central part of the work, existing between where every luminous landscape and the closing trio sonata, paths of memory and painting.

when the foreground and the background merged is composed of three scenes. The design and interfaces and authoring software I created for these separate yet related scenes are somewhat based on the DHTML software and interface I designed for where every luminous landscape and somewhat based on the software and interface, I designed for Interlude - Dorothy and Sid. (The Blue Moon Review, 2001)

In each scene, after the narrative begins, the cadence of the work is best experienced by waiting for the text to change, but readers are also welcome to proceed at their own pace by clicking on any of the texts. One way to experience the work would be for the reader to click through at his or her own pace and then return to the beginning and watch the text unfold in a more filmic way.

In scene one, the lexias on the left are Dorothy's recollection of things that influenced her painting in the 1940's; the lexias on the right are her recollections of her meeting with Gus.

In scene two, a discussion of Douglas Tilden's sculpture, The Football Players and the early history of football, play on the right, while Dorothy's memories of the recent past play in the background on the left.

In scene three, books that -- as they sometimes have in the course of my own writing -- appear in the environment of both Dorothy and Gus, who speak, or do not speak of what they are reading. Scene three is structured in the same way as scene one.

The whole is a record of an artist's quest to situate her work in her era, while at the same time exploring art history and maintaining her own vision. "Working with color and composition in ways different from what I was used to," she writes. "The vision of how I could paint -- not yet sure of how to fulfill it."

Part Three: paths of memory and painting

I n Part Three, which has the same title as the whole work, the narrator is sitting in a cafe in Berkeley in the present time. While she waits for her husband Sid to return from an expedition to Berkeley bookstores, she makes quick sketches of the people who walk by the cafe and remembers the beginnings of the Bay Area Figurative style with Rehearsal, David Park's painting of the studio 13 Jazz Band and with the work of World War II veteran Elmer Bischoff. The narrative also includes her recollections of the parallel development of her own work, her first meeting with Sid, and details of their love affair.

The third part of the trilogy reflects the painter/narrator's present -- poetic, romantic, comfortable with her life and her own vision. And if the reader selects the coda, the concluding piece allows for a continual return to the spirit of "walking up the trail" with which the work begins.

The interface for Part Three is an array of three side by side lexia trails that advance polyphonically. Because of the Early Music influence on the composition process, the text of the work proceeds at a more rapid tempo than the rest of the poetry in the Paths trilogy. The work loops until the "coda" is selected, allowing the reader to eventually read all of the words by continuing to follow the work. In fact, it is meant to be like a piece of polyphonic music -- a trio sonata perhaps -- where the reader might hear different things every time he or she listens to it, until finally the whole work is comprehensible.

The issue of whether or not the reader sees every word in the work is endemic to hyperfiction because the author cannot know which paths the reader will follow or whether the reader will read only one or some or all of the hundreds of lexias that comprise the work. In the case of Paths, a notation method could be developed that would allow the lexias to be interfaced in a different way as a guide for the reader, but I am not sure whether or not this is desirable.


I am grateful to the musicologists and musicians whose programs, recordings, and books have shown me the possibilities which I experimented in Part Three. They include musician and musicologist Davitt Moroney, Professor of Musicology at UC Berkeley, Catherine Bott and Lucy Skeaping, hosts of The Early Music Show on BBC Radio 3, and Donald Macleod, host of Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3.

Paths of Memory and Painting, was exhibited in Language-Driven Installation Art, Electronic Literature Organization Conference, Brown University, Providence, RI, June 3-6, 2010 and featured at: the Berkeley Center for New Media Roundtable, UC Berkeley, February, 2010. Part I of Paths of Memory and Painting, where every luminous landscape, was short listed for the Prix poesie-media, France, 2009 featured at: The Future of Writing, UC Irvine, November, 2008; on Cover to Cover on KPFA radio in Berkeley in Dec 2008; and at the E-Poetry Festival, Barcelona, May, 2009

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