Near the end of New Directions in Digital Poetry I introduce Janez Strehovec’s concept of “elevator pitch” poetics, proposing how in the age of short attention spans works should hook readers “within a very short temporal unit”; I then also discuss cognitive models Katherine Hayles uses in describing contemporary reading practices, “deep” and “hyper” attention. With SoundBox 2012 you are not reading, several different types of content are included, and much material is presented. Some segments here, such as quick jams by Special America and Alan Sondheim et al., might qualify in the elevator pitch category—users should be able to find instant gratification in some of the poems, commentaries, and music presented, even if, due to scale, it will inevitably take time to find these texts.  With respect for both sensibilities, absorbing the project as a whole requires effort; users will have to want to find, listen to, and consider these files, individually and collectively, to decide which tracks—now streaming, mixable, and available for download on the Web—might be complementary, might riff off of each other deeply or hyper-ly.

My initial aspiration was to reduce a hundred hours of material I recorded to something along the lines jukebox-length cuts. That did not happen fully, largely because of the difficulty involved with what of such interesting material to select, along with the belief that chopping it all up into three minute segments seemed unwise; what point would there be in disrupting the narratives of Vanessa Place or sprawling improvisations? Some contributors—Florian Cramer, Roberto Simanowski, Stephanie Strickland—did pick up on the idea, and with a few glaring exceptions, I segmented the recordings into reasonable lengths. I also seek to encourage play, and what I have only partially accomplished—and still aspire towards—is creating a sound environment and visual interface that efficiently allows users to mix and match different segments. The Stereoeo and Table interfaces do allow users to layer and unify audio segments (about a quarter of which is musical or sonic, without language, noted with a symbol), which can be extremely enjoyable and stimulating. For example, playing all the JODI files at the same time emulates, aurally, the experience of confronting one of JODI’s web interfaces; Ian Hatcher’s compositions also nicely accompany each other. Adding a sonic backdrop to spoken discourse can often enliven one’s listening experience; I recommend combining one of the presentations made at the ELO Festival or Interrupt Studio with one of the numerous Music Factory or Sondheim group improvisations, which can be done with version Stereoeo, and also via the Inventory [fair warning: this particular page will take a while to load; it should, eventually]. I intend to continue developing interfaces for this material, and welcome input and from others who are interested in such chores.  

In all, SoundBox 2012 presents many hours of my documented experience. In a practical sense, with approximately twenty-four hours of recordings, there is nothing elevator pitch about this hybrid audio venture that captures a duration of many different voices and sounds travelling up and down the building and involvement of a year. The content is creative, critical, and other; the selective process of its production, too, is a creative and critical endeavor.  Though I realize the material might be more useful if it were fully annotated, I don't mind saying that I hope to see many more examples of this type of scholarship emerge in the Digital Humanites as time passes (one person can only do so much). Collecting and preserving recordings is part of what I do as a poet. Abundant language alerts nearby; Local oscillation memos àla x. Following a certain lineage, since the 1980s I have recorded thousands of events—some transpiring in academic arenas, some in literary and arts worlds, and some in my backyard or the county fair. A lot alerts nearby: Local oscillation music archive x. I maintain a solar-powered home studio (Girassol), where I create, experiment and practice with sound. This is a “box” of it, a capsule of a year in mp3; 2012 was a good year, in which I had the opportunity to make music with Sondheim on numerous occasions, spend more time than usual with Jhave, participate in UnderAcademy College, and collaborate with Amy Hufnagel as we gathered with others in Providence and Morgantown. My documentation of these activities is far from complete, but certainly offers a sense of what transpired in some of the discussions and presentations. If I didn’t happen to see you then, hopefully soon! Please enjoy!!

427 recordings made by Chris Funkhouser in 2012. Mostly with an Edirol R-09HR and laptop computer (using Ableton Live, Soundbooth, and other software). Made available with permission of the authors.

Concept and interface composition by Chris Funkhouser. Jim Andrews designed the JavaScript & assisted with html used to produce version Stereoeo.

Events/Locations: New Directions in Digital Poetry launch (Bowery Poetry Club, February), Alan and Azure's, Dean Street Brooklyn (January, March), New Jersey Institute of Technology (February), Interrupt Studio II (Brown University, February), Least Weasel Reading (Philadelphia, May), Electrifying Literature: ELO 2012 (West Virginia University, June), Warren County Farmer's Fair (August), VLAK 3 launch (Zinc Bar, NYC, October), Music Factory (Eyebeam Art+Technology Center, NYC, December), Girassol (Frelinghuysen NJ, throughout)

subnote: Interrupt Studio II was the brainchild of John Cayley. Cayley worked with students in the Literary Arts program at Brown, convening a meeting of minds to discuss matters pertinent to electronic literature, art, performance, and philosophy. Instead of a typical weekend of papers, panels, and readings, a dozen “featured participants” (who were slotted for specific times to perform and discuss their research) were joined by a slightly larger group of “IRQ Participants” instructed to come prepared with five minute interventions that could be presented at any point during many hours of group discussions. Cayley, serving as the event’s “CPU”, enabled flow between the parts; he and students without question engineered a successful atypical gathering. Music Factory was--as an 83 hour continuous musical improvisation--also an extremely unusual and fascinating event to take part in!

See Interrupt II Studio (, Electrifying Literature: ELO 2012 (,and Music Factory ( websites for more information about those events; see also UnderAcademy College, Taroko Gorge (Montfort), Tokyo Garage (Rettberg), Sea & Spar Between, (Montfort & Strickland), & New Directions in Digital Poetry, for further background/contexts.

Photos by CF (except where noted): New Directions in Digital Poetry launch; Interrupt II Studio; ELO 2012; Music Factory; other

Boundless thanks to all contributors, & to Jim Andrews, Sandy Baldwin, John Cayley, Chercher le Texte, Amy Hufnagel, Jhave, Andrew Klobucar, & Sonny Rae Tempest for input and/or support on this project; I am also grateful for ongoing encouragement and inspiration from PennSound, and NJIT's network, hardware, and software backing.


contact email: funkhous[at]njit[dot]edu