fingers over the hill-line
today remembering is a kind of having
we till nostalgia from the orbit of the earth
each moment fresh and familiar
from our pocket
on the green
we absorb the coming light
Welcome to EWF x Crawlspace, a special collaboration with Emerging Writers Festival, an organisation that has given a central platform for digital-born forms of storytelling in Australia for many years.
We write this roughly six months since Crawlspace first went online. While the response to this project has been incredible, we also feel slightly caught in a state of perpetual emergence. The conversations that germinated Crawlspace began years ago, with lots of careful (and lofty) reflection on what we could and would foster, yet now in practice we already feel cramped by the limitations of the back-end we spent so much time building to be purpose-fit for interactive digital literature. We feel as if we have at once been here a long time and hardly started.
Mulling on the ambiguous boundaries of this emergence, it feels timely that our third issue is in partnership with Emerging Writers Festival. We are chuffed to be a part of their program, and put a lot of thought behind the Unicode character which ‘names’ this issue. After some time we settled on ◚, which to our mind evokes an emerging sun on the distant horizon.
There is something about the sunrise, a brief but cyclically returning moment, which feels like an apt metaphor for the ideas around ‘emerging’ writers and ‘emerging’ forms of literature. We have received feedback from readers awed by what Crawlspace has published, praising this ‘emerging’ form of literature. Yet we are personally aware our project stands on the shoulders of decades of electronic literature publishing, both in Australia (CC: EWF, Runway Journal, Cordite, Overland, InFlect) and internationally (CC: The HTML Review, Taper, The New River, Electronic Literature Organisation). Peel off this facade and surprise: this emergence is in fact just the current instance of a cyclical re-emergence of digital writing.
This issue features five fantastic Australian artists, all of whom have ventured into new terrain in creating unique, interactive pieces. We hope that this work is a juncture both for the writers to continue developing their digital practice, and for you as readers, who are poised to emerge as digital artists in your own right, if you wish to take part. For those interested in making their own digital work, we encourage you to delve into the source code of the web pages in this issue to learn more about how you can get started.
For us, we will take a couple of months to take stock of our project before our next publishing cycle. We’ve learnt a lot as editors about the challenges and affordances of digital-born literature, and look forward to emerging again later in the year.