novelling is a recombinant digital novel that employs text, video and sound. It poses questions about the acts of reading and writing fiction, and inhabits the liminal space between the two activities. The work is a generative system that algorithmically orders and spatially arranges fragments of media (design elements, text, video and sound) in 6-minute cycles. Every 30 seconds the interface changes, but the user may also click the screen at any time to produce a change.

Straddling the lines between literature, cinema and music, novelling evokes the history of the novel (remixing and rewriting 19th and 20th century sources), but it also questions the form's basis in plot, character and words alone. novelling unfolds through suggested narrative connections between four characters. The characters, immersed in their isolated life-worlds, appear to be transported elsewhere by what they are reading. Are they reading and thinking each other? How does the writing relate to the reading? Are the words on the screen versions or even drafts of the novel? Do the sounds come from a different interior world? The work is suggestive of "novelistic" spaces, spaces of interior reflection and exterior gestures, intimacy and estrangement, gazing and being gazed at. The variable and deterministic system of selection and arrangement produces a fluid, ever-novel and potential narrative.

video, design and coding by Will Luers
text by Hazel Smith
sound by Roger Dean
completed in June, 2016

desktop or laptop computer*
chrome or safari browser
full screen
adjust volume

*due to iOS restrictions, audio and video may not play properly on iPads


Artist Bios

Will Luers is digital media artist and writer living in Portland,Oregon. In the Creative Media & Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver, he teaches multimedia authoring, creative programming, digital storytelling and digital cinema. His art works have been exhibited internationally and selected for various festivals and conferences, including the Electronic Literature Organization, FILE (Brazil) and ISEA. In 2016, his collaboration with Hazel Smith and Roger Dean ("motions"), was selected for the ELO Collection Volume 3. His website and portfolio is at

Hazel Smith is a Research Professor in the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University, and is the author of several academic and pedagogical books including The Writing Experiment: strategies for innovative creative writing, Allen and Unwin, 2005 and The Contemporary Literature-Music Relationship: intermedia, voice, technology, cross-cultural exchange, Routledge, 2016. She is co-editor with Roger Dean of Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2009. Hazel is a poet, performer and multimedia artist, and is a member of austraLYSIS, the sound and intermedia arts group. She has published four volumes of poetry, including most recently Word Migrants, Giramondo Publishing, Sydney, 2016. She has produced three CDs of poetry and performance work and numerous collaborative multimedia works. Her website is at

Roger Dean is a composer/improviser, and since 2007 a research professor in music cognition and computation at the MARCS Auditory Laboratories, Western Sydney University. He founded and directs the ensemble austraLYSIS, which has performed in 30 countries. His creative work is on 30 commercial audio CDs, and he has released many digital intermedia pieces. His creative work revolves around keyboard improvisation, and computer music composition, though he also writes instrumental music and performs ensemble jazz with the austraLYSIS Electroband and in other contexts. Improvisation and computer-interaction merge in his MultiPiano Event, a solo performance exploiting live piano, real-time audio processing, generative physical synthesis piano, and electroacoustic sound. His 400 substantive research publications include seven humanities books. Previously he was CEO of the Heart Research Institute, Sydney, researching in biochemistry, and then Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra. His website is at and his brief biography is on Wikipedia at Roger_Dean_(musician).


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