Author Archives: Alan Bigelow


"Protect the Poet" envisions a future in which the United States has been invaded by the "Enemy." The government has collapsed, the President has escaped to Mexico, and Congress is in hiding. There is no internet, and communication can only be achieved through speech, print, and semaphore.

It is in this futuristic landscape that the Poet wanders with his loyal entourage of printers, typesetters, support staff, and body guards. He is the most revered man in the nation, and he is also the most hunted. The Enemy wants to capture him, but if they do, they will have won the war.


"Two Roads Diverged" is a story of family loss and its aftermath. Using Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" as its metaphorical model, this interactive narrative offers brief glimpses into the paths three children take after the accidental death of their parents. The narrative also offers a view--through archetypal imagery and remote voices--of the darker side of the family's tragic past.

Alan Bigelow's interview (audio only) with Heather Gring of the Burchfield Penney Art Center on August 15, 2013. In it, he discusses the field of electronic literature and the democratization of the Web, along with ways that changes in computer language have changed his way of writing. He mentions some of his early influences, an eclectic list drawn from many disciplines. And he offers advice to emerging practitioners of his artform: “Always take risks; … push yourself further than you would have imagined.”


"This Is" provides a digital commentary on fiction and the nature and history of narrative. There are multiple elements at play in this work: text, audio, animation, and still image. How the viewer experiences this piece is dependent on their mouse or touch interactions with its central, animated "characters."

This work is open-source and created with HTML5/CSS/JavaScript.


"My Life in Three Parts" addresses the question of how personal identity is influenced by the language of the web. Our online interactions are often circumscribed by tracking software and various social networks. As a result, our identities--how we view ourselves and how others view us--are shaped and expressed, in part, by personal browsing practices and the vocabulary associated with those practices.

So what do our autobiographies look like in this new world? To answer this question, "My Life in Three Parts" ignores the conventions of traditional autobiography in favor of oblique readings of iconic visual symbols, terminology, and concepts found online within the private and social web-spaces of shopping, art, and mathematics.

This work uses text, images, audio, and videos to create a synthesized narrative of the self. Nothing about personal identity is clear in this work: the life behind the story is only implied.


Viewers can look for the text in "Silence," but they will not find it. This story uses the P22 "Cage Silence" font, which is inspired by John Cage's famous work 4'33". This font does not appear on screen or print. There is no vector or bit map information other than the period character. All of the information is searchable, but it is not visible unless you look at the source code.


In "How They Brought the News from Paradise," a first-person speaker narrates his story (in heroic verse) as he swims from one end of a resort pool complex to another in search of what he thinks is more alcohol, but is in fact a journey to find his marriage and himself. The poem plays with the epic and tragic within a setting stifled with consumerism and class separation.


"In A World Without Electricity" is the story of a life in celebration, and a life taken. Using text, images, animations, and sound, the piece describes the murder, or possible suicide, of a young woman, and the struggle of her friends and family to reconcile themselves to their loss. There are no easy answers in the world of this narrative, and questions still remain. This work is based on a true story.


"Last Words" is a narrative of eight individuals, their brief archetypal histories, and their last words spoken at the moment of death. Using text, images, audio, and video, this online work captures the ambiance of the afterlife and how people live on through the data they generate while living.