Writing Under: Selections From the Internet Text

Writing Under

Alan Sondheim

Computing Literature: Volume 2

December 2012
PB 978-1-935978-73-2
ePub 978-1-935978-74-9
PDF 978-1-935978-75-6


Alan Sondheim’s Writing Under explores and examines what happens to writing as it takes place on and through the networked computer. Sondheim began experimenting with artistic and philosophical writing using computers in the early 1970s. Since 1994, he has explored the possibilities of writing on the Internet, whether using blogs, web pages, e–mails, virtual worlds, or other tools. The sum total of Sondheim’s writing online is entitled “The Internet Text.” Writing Under selects from this work to provide insight into how writing takes place today and into the unique practices of a writer. The selections range from philosophical musings, to technical explorations of writing practice, to poetic meditations on the writer online. This work expands our understanding of writing today and charts a path for writing’s future.

Learn more about Alan Sondheim here.

Computing Literature: Volume 2
Computing Literature is a book series edited by Sandy Baldwin (WVU) and Philippe Bootz (University of Paris 8).


You’re Out There

Preposterous Justifications: Introduction by Sandy Baldwin

a summing-up
of the book
A Field so Vast, the Other is Lost in the Details
My Future is Your Own Aim
Writing Online
Oh! I do love Her so!
Writing in Minimal Fare
Writing habits 87
Electronic writing, approach 91
Filter and Being (NSF Text) 94
Wryting-space 100
Wryting and
Definition of 'Wryting'
Wryting, Culling Wryting
Tenets of Wryting-Theory
Writing and Wryting
writing and writing
Extinguishing Extinction, The Violence of Living/Mechanism
and letters
Sentenced to Place
Wild Theory
The Fitting of Theory
Bang-Path Model of Reading / Thinking
Commentary on Routing text –
My Files on My Nice-Machine:
What was written by null-user:
What the null-user thought of what it wrote:
On Code and Codework
Code and Codework ii, coding, encoding, confusion
What is Codework?
birth of code unease
conjugations of programming aesthetics
The Derailing of Metaphysics
Human, specifications, outline, history
Virtual, not Real
Messay: The Mess of the True World
Partial Description of the World
The Curious
Writing for the Return of It
this was done to occupy a space


Alan Sondheim is a Brooklyn-based new media artist, musician, writer, and performer. He is concerned with issues of virtuality, and the stake that the real world has in the virtual. Learn more about Alan Sondheim at http://sondheim.rupamsunyata.org.


“Alan Sondheim is one of the precious few who joyfully-and in abject misery-risks these terrors of writing for us, for our pleasure and our undoing. What happens? Language disposes of us. As if that were not all that is required of any writer, Alan Sondheim is also the poet, the artist, the maker who has most profoundly immersed himself and his work in the life-changing code-forms-of networked computation-that have the world and its ‘genesis redux’ in their grip.”
John Cayley, Literary Arts, Brown University

“Encountering Alan Sondheim’s work we become aware how versatile a writer he is. The vast fore-lands of his Internet Text contains an estimated 25,000 pages of wryting involving—as Sandy Baldwin’s observes in his introduction—“a phenomenology thick with human perception and intentions that are bodily, personal, political, and communal.” In wryting, Sondheim produces all sorts of texts—poetry, prose, and the unnameable—compositions existing amidst conditions of material transformations that merge (with) the physical and technological. Writing Under offers up generous statements of process, from a self- and other- aware master who is codework’s godcyborg, a limner of psychedelic landscapes in Second Life, and an inveterate graphophile. This volume radiates foresight, stabilizing, if only for a moment, the fragility of “tenuously tethered bits and bytes” that exist in a vast field. For Sondheim, the creative is critical and vice versa; there’s much telling in Writing Under, projecting insight into the machinery of his oeuvre. Anyone interested in knowing more about (or from) a writer who has practiced and thrived on the Internet since its very beginnings needs to read this book.”
Christopher T. Funkhouser, Program Director, Communication and Media, New Jersey Institute of Technology

“Sondheim crafts an often meandering + always introspective recording of his prodigious on-line output. Birthed [and often remixed] in digital formats and drenched in anxiousness + desire, his staggeringly open text gives rise to possibilities of endless interpretation and comprehension, leaving multiple re-reads a definite must.”
Mez Breeze, Australian-based writer and practitioner of net.art

Read a Rain Taxi review of Writing Under.