John Murray – The UnderAcademy Presents: Enter the e-Lit-a-Verse

John Murray


As mega technology corporations, including social media monopolies, such as “Meta,” lay claim to their version of virtual reality (VR), the UAC recognizes that educational entities cannot afford to miss this opportunity to shape virtual life, as it did in the past with Second Life, Friendster, and the many tides of Google Wave. As online instruction becomes an absolute necessity, overpaid administrators cannot cede this virtual space to data thieves and the sword-wielding denizens of Beat Saber. While brick and ivy institutions of higher learning have historically benefited from the time-honored practice of colonial landgrabs, forward thinking non-degree granting institutions must, by contrast, erect their Mine-craft inspired mega-dorms in the fertile, pixelated soil of virtual reality. Rather than wait for big-money donors seeking naming rights, in the democritical spirit of the UAC, we invite artists and Fakulty to help us fill the halls of virtual UAC with digital literary objects.

We will be holding a UAC-sponsored VR Mini Exhibit themed around metaverse in Rec Room, with a live workshop prior to the conference to teach participants how to create VR e-lit using the Rec Room maker tools. Rec Room is a pre-existing free VR platform that offers affordances for content creation in VR, including adding free-form sculptures using a stylus, positioning and editing text in 3D locations, and buttons that trigger various behaviors. Themes include how to reclaim digital identity in a fast-moving landscape of NFTs and social media, untold dangers of VR to society, and “what is meta-meta?”, all requiring a central text (consisting of a poem, riddle, or prose) that invites active engagement by the viewer. These new literacies will be both parodied and taught through a playful engagement with a public virtual space.

Workshop participants will NOT need VR equipment to contribute pieces for the exhibit. Participants can create using a computer (laptop or desktop) or a mobile device, including Android and IOS devices, or solicit assistance from the facilitators. With the Rec Room maker pen, participants can create 3D objects, especially 3D text, and place them in the space for the future exhibition.

Creators will be invited to participate in at least one pre-conference workshop for creating content to populate our VR space. During those sessions, they will be taught how to make simple poetic objects, assisted by our team of VR experts. We offer a collaborative experience using a commercial platform (Rec Room) that embodies one alternative vision of the metaverse, in order to collectively imagine what making together in VR can offer both artists and educators.

About the Author(s):

John T. Murray is an Assistant Professor of Games and Interactive Media department at the University of Central Florida, USA. He is co-author of Flash: Building the Interactive Web (MIT Press, 2014) and Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider (Bloomsbury, 2020). His research focuses on interactive narratives and reality media (augmented, virtual and mixed reality). His investigation includes both existing and future computational media platforms, including authoring tools and affordances and measuring and evaluating complex experiences created for them using emerging techniques such as eye-tracking, facial action units, machine learning, and physiological signals. Personal website:

Mark C. Marino is a writer and scholar of digital literature who is the Provisional Provost of UnderAcademy College. He also teaches at the University of Southern California. He is the Director of Communication of the Electronic Literature Organization ( His works include “Living Will,” “a show of hands,” and “Marginalia in the Library of Babel.” He was one of ten co-authors of 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 ( (MIT 2013) and was a collaborator with Jessica Pressman and Jeremy Douglass on Reading Project: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit} (Iowa Press 2015). His latest book is Critical Code Studies (MIT 2020)
Personal Website:

Talan Memmott is a digital writer/artist/theorist who is the Founder and President of UnderAcademy College. Memmott has taught and been a researcher in digital art, digital design, electronic writing, new media studies, and digital culture at University of California Santa Cruz; University of Bergen; Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden; California State University Monterey Bay; the Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Colorado Boulder; and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is Associate Professor of Creative Digital Media at Winona State University. He was a co-editor for the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 (ELO), and the ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature, and was the winner of the 2021 Electronic Literature Organization Maverick Award.


University of Central Florida


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Feel free to contact us for the main venue in Como (Italy) or for the other connected activities of the partners.

ELO 2022 ConferenceMain Venue and Call for Papers

Organization Headquarter
Collegio Gallio
Via Tolomeo Gallio, 1
22100 Como (Italy)

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H-Studies Research Group
University of Jyväskylä
Seminaarinkatu 15
FI-40014 Jyväskylä (Finland)

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Japan – Nagoya University

Arab Academic Inst. of Education/Arab Union for Internet Writers

Brazil – Federal University of São Carlos / Santa Catarina

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