Fulbright scholar speaks at Winona State

Fulbright scholar speaks at Winona State

Jayda Anderson, News Reporter

On Monday, Sept. 18 Winona State University students were given the opportunity to attend an event featuring Scott Rettberg, a digital culture professor at the University of Bergen, Norway, in the Harriet Johnson Auditorium.

Rettberg has been recognized for his part in the immersive digital media project, “Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project” which was awarded the 2016 Award for a Work of Electronic Literature at the 2016 Electronic Literature Organization conference.

The event started with Davin Heckman, Winona State professor and Fulbright scholar, introducing the audience to Rettberg and thanking the Seven River’s Fulbright Chapter, the mass communications department, the University theme team and International Program that helped make this event possible.

Heckman shared why he chose Rettberg to come to campus and speak.

“[Rettberg] teaches for one of the world’s best programs, has provided leadership for a number of organizations that study digital arts and culture and created a number of important works,” Heckman said.

To start off his presentation, Rettberg educated the audience on Aleatory Tradition poetry such as dada and surrealist poetry. He also shared some of his written works.

Rettberg described dada poetry as “a piece of

poetry not determined by you.”

He shared a few electronically made poems that were created by a program that would randomly assign the 200 most popular words in the English language to a type of poetry. With this program, that Rettberg had made himself, a person could decide if they wanted a poem with a rhyming scheme or not and depending on that choice the program would let you choose from different poem structures. For example, when the audience had told Rettberg to create a non-rhyming poem some of the options were a haiku, two-towers, or a snowball poem.

After sharing a few of his written works with those who had attended the event, Rettberg decided to share a few of the short films that he worked on.

The two he showcased were titled “Three Rails Live” and “Toxi•City”. Both were auto-generated films like the poems. Rettberg explained that it was like a file full of different media that would draw a random title, video and audio piece and put them together to create a short film.

This film, according to the CRchange website is,  “set on the US Eastern seaboard in 2020, this film follows six fictional characters whose lives have been transformed by sea-level change and flooding in an urban and industrialized region on America’s North Atlantic Coast. Fictional testimonies are set against nonfictional accounts of actual deaths that occurred during Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms and floods.”

Heckman said that the goal of the event on Monday night was “to get students engaged in creative approaches to research and practice in digital media and if anyone is interested in events similar to these that there may be some coming up in the future.”