Jason Nelson

I was born on the Oklahoma prairie, part of my youth spent wandering the storm drains of suburban Oklahoma City, and the other watching thunderstorms lurch closer across the wheat fields of my grandparents farm in South-Central Kansas. Evidently early teachers reported I would rather "sing for the class, than with the class", and I grew up floating in the space between gifted and troubled (a space I continue to occupy). 

Abandoned buildings and pathless woods appeal far more than crowded festivals or tourist anythings. Generally, I find the organization of the world, its right angles and forever taxonomies to be baffling, and most of these systems we've built aren't real in a....well......real sort of way. If I controlled the world's resources I'd explore space travel, as the most human of endeavours is to explore. And my grandfather's last word was "gizmos".

While I generally find titles and identifiers to be cumbersome, if I was held tight by burly creatures and forced via threats to those I love to call myself something, I would say I am a Digital Frankenstein. A builder of interactive creatures, poetic, artistic, reactive, strange, compelling divisive, all cobbled together from parts born in and outside my brain.

My creations live in various worlds. Some are interactive poems and fictions, driven by narrative and poetry made alive by interface, motion, sound and image. Others are artworks crafted from technology, robotics, touch screens, sensors, game engines, really anything I can acquire and break and then rebuild.

If I am to have a future, if those who blunder on about the coming catastrophic whatevers are wrong, I want to continue stretching, forever rethinking my literary and artistic play. Two weeks ago (which won't be two weeks when you read this), I bought a drone, built a new game engine, and started creating designs from death data. So imagine those three combined, with breaks for ice cream or loving my love Alinta Krauth.

I began my academic life as a Cultural Geographer, with Masters work with the genius Brett Wallach, Then after stumbling around in the bureaucratic madland known as City Planning, I returned to my love of writing and art by finishing an MFA in Poetry with an emphasis on Digital Art at Bowling Green State University. Then after teaching writing at BGSU for a few years, I was offered a fancy tenure-track position at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

And while I do miss the northern lands, the cold weather and snow, and my US and European Colleagues, I've accomplished much more than I'd ever anticipated here in the Sub-Tropics. I'm tenured, finished a PhD, created over 50 digital poems and artworks, was the first representative for digital creative work on the Literature Board of the Australia Council of the Arts (Australian NEA), won or was a finalist for a dozen awards, won over 250K in grants and been an international advocate for digital art and writing.

And, of course, I love teaching. I often say good teaching is a combination of cooking, performing, and bull fighting. With each year’s courses I develop new recipes, combinations of skill development and creative inspiration. 

I also try to create a vibrant/engaging environment in the courses, to make the students look forward to each week’s adventures. And lastly, with bull fighting, I have to lure them in, coax them into being curious, resourceful and innovative. But then, after they charge forward, I have to know when to get out of the way.

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