Edward Picot

Edward Picot runs the site The Hyperliterature Exchange, which has a catalog of hypermedia works available for purchase and also features reviews and essays on new media. Through the reviews he publishes himself, as well as reviews he has written for the trAce Online Writing Centre, for Regina Celia Pinto's Collaborative Review of digital art, and in postings on many new media e-mail lists, Picot has been a major voice in new media criticism. Picot's reviews are generous to the authors whose work he is reviewing, yet he does not hesitate in pointing out the flaws or weak aspects of the work he critiques. Picot's criticism provides a much-needed service because so much commentary on new media is either academic/cultural theory gobbledygook or else simple, unsuppported statements such as "the work is great!" Picot, on the other hand, is always ready to go one step further: he situates the work in the field of electronic literature and brings in references to pre-digital art and literature. He tells us not only what the work does and says, but what it implies and suggests. I have been very grateful to Edward for his thoughful comments on work-in-progess and I know that many other new media authors are also very appreciative of his role in the digital literature community.

Picot's own hypermedia work can be seen on his site http://www.edwardpicot.com/. In his personal work, Picot tends to focus on text (he is a digital writer more than a digital artist) through nonlinear (hypertext) narratives, some of which contain illustrations, photos, or animations. Picot also has done some excellent work for and in collaboration with his young daughter (age 7), creating a series of digital stories for children that are original and fresh, quite unlike commercially-generated childrens' fare, which so often give an adults' view of how children think and what interests them.

Picot's piece on Sporkworld, Rilke and the Archaic Torso , demonstrates Picot's critical skills in dealing with a poem by Rilke. The piece progresses from presenting the poem and various translations, through some pages of semi-formal criticism, to a more personal response which culminates in an animated Flash piece that displays several poems by Picot inspired by the Rilke poem.

--Millie Niss (2005)