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Nick Montfort develops computational poetry and art, often collaboratively, and studies creative computing of all sorts. Montfort works in several different contexts, which include the Web, book publication, and literary reading but also gallery exhibition, the demoscene, and livecoding. His work often takes the form of very short free/libre/open-source software projects. Recently it has also manifested as seven computer-generated literary books in print from three presses (with another, Golem, forthcoming). He translates computational projects and his own work has been translated into half a dozen languages. Many of Montfort’s works have been modified and transformed by others to become the basis for new work; his short generator “Taroko Gorge” has been the basis for dozens of published remixes in addition to projects in many classes. A current focus of Montfort’s research and artistic practice is on how computer-generated literary books are challenging and extending not only methods of authorship, but also means of post-digital publication and presentation in varied contexts and formats.
Montfort’s contributions to critical code studies include organizing and co-authoring the first book using the methods of this field: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, (MIT Press, 2013), a 10-author single-voice publication, focusing on a one-line Commodore 64 BASIC program. With Ian Bogost, Montfort initiated the platform studies approach by and the corresponding MIT Press book series, beginning with his and Bogost’s Racing the Beam (MIT Press, 2009), and now including ten titles. In electronic literature, he wrote the first book focusing on a single form of e-lit, Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003), and has extensively created, edited, and written about work of this sort. He currently edits the Using Electricity series of computer-generated books for Counterpath, now with eight titles. Montfort founded and directs The Trope Tank, a DIY research lab/studio, based at MIT and in New York, that undertakes scholarly and aesthetic projects and offers material computing resources.
Montfort’s book The Future was published as part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series in 2017. His Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities (MIT Press, 2016) continues his long-term efforts to teach programming as a method of culturally engaged inquiry and creativity; a second edition will be published by MIT Press, in print and digitally with open access, in 2021. Montfort is also author of Riddle & Bind (Spineless Books, 2010), a book of literary riddles and constrained poems, and, with William Gillespie, co-author of 2002: A Palindrome Story (Spineless Books, 2002), which the Oulipo acknowledged as the world’s longest literary palindrome. Montfort was co-editor of The Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 (with N. Katherine Hayles, Stephanie Strickland, and Scott Rettberg, ELO, 2006) and The New Media Reader (with Noah Wardrip-Fruin, MIT Press, 2003).
Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, Second Edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2021.
Golem. Portland: New Sight, 2021.
The Truelist. Using Electricity series, Denver: Counterpath, 2017.
The Future. Essential Knowledge series. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2017.
Autopia. Buffalo, New York: Troll Thread, 2016.
2×6. By Nick Montfort, Serge Bouchardon, Carlos León, Natalia Fedorova, Andrew Campana, Aleksandra Malecka, and Piotr Marecki. Global Poetics series. Los Angeles: Les Figues, 2016.
Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2016.
#! Denver: Counterpath, 2014.
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. By Nick Montfort, Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, Mark Sample, and Noah Vawter. Software Studies series. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2013.
Riddle & Bind. Urbana, Illinois: Spineless Books, 2010.
Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. By Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost. Platform Studies series. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2009.
The Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1. Edited by N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Stephanie Strickland, and Scott Rettberg. CD-ROM and Web anthology with 60 selections and editorial texts. College Park, Maryland: Electronic Literature Organization, 2006. Republished by Notre Dame University Press as the CD-ROM accompanying Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary, N. Katherine Hayles, 2008. Republished on USB flash drive by the Electronic Literature Organization in The Electronic Literature Collection, volume 2 (including volume 1), 2013.
Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2003.
The New Media Reader. Edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. Book design by Michael Crumpton. CD-ROM design by Nick Montfort. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2003.
Higher Education Video Game Alliance Fellow, elected 2019.
The Future, 2018 Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries Outstanding Academic Title, January 2019.
Autopia, honorable mention, Turn On Literature Prize, July 2017.
“A Bad Machine Made of Words,” best review, 2004 New Media Article Writing Competition, trAce/Writers for the Future.