Dan Visel, and I work at the intersection of publishing, design, and technology.
Do you need an electronic book that’s
not terrible? I can make it for you.
If you’re working on an electronic publishing project – or about
to start working on such a project –
I might be able to help. I’ve been thinking about how reading and writing work in electronic environments
I have plenty of experience writing, editing, designing, and developing complex multimedia projects. I’ve
books, websites, and iOS and Android apps.
More importantly, I can help conceptualizing projects and navigating the space of technologies, which can be
complicated for those who don’t work at it full time. You could think of me as a technologist who can talk
people; or as an ordinary person who knows how to talk to technologists. At the moment I’m based in
though I’m used to working remotely, and I’m regularly in North America.
Let me know if you’re interested in talking about a
project: I might be interested!
I’m most interested in building complex reading environments on the web and in mobile
environments. I’ve used a wide range of web technologies, though most of what I’m doing is based around
things with Processing, Arduino, and Python. I’ve made apps for the iOS and Android platforms and have
apps for sale in the Apple, Google Play, and Amazon app stores.
If I haven’t used it, I’m happy to figure it out.
Chemistry. I’m currently working as a Creative Technologist at Chemistry, a design firm based in Singapore and Amsterdam.
Southeast Asian Archaeological Site
Reports; described in the
Straits Timeshere(image). Working with the National University of
Singapore Press, I developed a web app to help put archaeological “grey literature” – unpublished site reports – online. The app is based on Gatsby (and may be released as open-source software as a module on NPM); tools allow conversion and editing of datasets in multiple formats.
Cross Dante. This is a project to
online in multiple translations: I wanted to read Dante, but I wanted to read across
the different translations available in English, as well as having reference to the Italian original. The
here, and Android apps of the different
books of the
Divine Comedy can be found
here; iOS versions
here. The code is
not text-specific and could be used for any translation project: it’s available
here. An improved version of this
projects is part of the
core of the electronic versions of Circumference Books, described on the design page.
Edenspeikermann. From 2018 to 2020, I worked as a UX Engineer for the Singapore office of Edenspiekermann.
Screentakes. I built interactive electronic books for
Screentakes.com on film script analysis that work on
both the web and
mobile platforms which also allow group comenting
Android mobile platforms; the online store component is currently built on WordPress. Apps are currently in
and Google Play stores; the books are also for sale in web-streaming versions. Behind the scenes, I built a
different tools to enable content creators to put the books together and streamline creation.
Unfold. I was a co-founder of
Unfold, a Los Angeles-based startup mapping opinion on the
web. I was
responsible for the initial design and product
management, among many other things.
Sophie. I spent a great deal of time in the early 2000s working on
Sophie 2, projects for electronic book making and reading
was a project of the Institute for the
Future of the Book in collaboration with USC and the Mellon Foundation. The first version was written in
the second was done in Java. I wrote specifications, designed UI and UX, documentation for both projects,
project management, bug tracking, and testing as needed.
My work in publishing started as a book designer, and to a certain extent
that’s still how I think of myself,
though what constitutes a book (and what constitutes book design!) has grown more nebulous with time. Here are
the projects that I’ve worked on:
Circumference Books. A current
project is a
small press presenting books in facing-page translation, in both print and bespoke electronic editions; I’m
handling design and development. Our
first two books, Lupe Gómez's Camouflage and Kulleh Grasi’s Tell Me Kenyalang were published in 2019, and more are on the way.
You can read an article about the press in the January/February
2019 edition of Poets & Writers.
The Event of Art. Book design for a forthcoming monograph for the American media artist.
This Chair Rocks. I did the interior design for Ashton Applewhite’s
ageism. I also created a wide variety of electronic versions of the book and constructed a website
and store in which to sell them. I’ve also helped construct Old School, a
clearing house for anti-ageism resources.
Selected past projects
Circumference. I did design and production for the first eight issues of
Circumference, a bi-annual journal of poetry in facing-page translation.
Tebot Bach. I’ve done some book design for Tebot Bach, a publisher of poetry based in California that
concentrates on work
Web- and app-based projects
These projects were done in a variety of electronic media, some just to test out different software. Images to
formats often don’t last as long as we hope they will!
Democritus Jr. Jr.. This is a tiny IOS/Android app (
Kindle Fire app
store) that takes
the text of Robert Burton’s
Anatomy of Melancholy and turns it into a kind of
sortes Vergilianae for use in personal divination.
The End, a version of a piece by
offering the final sentences to stories which don’t exist
presented for Hotel St. George Press. This is a Java applet programmed in Processing; a Mac application can be
here, and a Windows application
Nouvelles impressions d’Afrique. A web version of Raymond Roussel’s book-length poem. Roussel’s poem makes radical use of
expand his narrative by digression: in this version, you can click on the parentheses and footnotes to expand
the poem, making it significantly more legible than the print version. A version of this appeared in Exact
Finnegans Wake. This is an audio archive of my ongoing reading of James Joyce’s
Finnegans Wake: I’ve been recording myself reading it out loud and posting it online.
I’ve been taking
a break from this.
These projects were constructed in Sophie 1, which can be downloaded
here; it should still work.
Download and unzip
them; they can be opened in Sophie Reader or Sophie Author. If using
Sophie Author, make sure that the application is in test mode first.
Mothlight. This book is a
an essay on the act of
Brakhage’s film; the Sophie version places one of Brakhage’s films,
Mothlight, under the text. Turning the pages of the book using the red arrows won’t affect
the area around the text should pause and restart the film.
S/Z. This piece is a version of the start of Roland Barthes’s
S/Z which is itself a reading of Balzac’s “Sarrasine”. Barthes splits the text up
lexias, which he argues embody different codes. Clicking any of the buttons for the codes at the bottom of the
will highlight lexias that use that code; clicking on a lexia will open an embedded book with a discussion of
single-page book presents Emily Dickinson’s poem 279. If the daggers to the right
of the poem are clicked, alternate words that Dickinson considered in her manuscript are substituted in,
other ways that the poem can be read. Clicking “Manuscript” shows a scan of Dickinson’s
(a button overlays text so that Dickinson’s handwriting can be read); clicking “Reference”
standard reference version of this poem, which provides a very different sort of reading experience.
Tender Buttons. This book presents two different ways of visualizing how the text of Gertrude Stein’s
works: first as a slideshow showing an image representing each word, second as a slideshow showing a different
representing each part of speech.
I’ve done a lot of writing (and editing) over the years. I’m in the process of writing a book about
reading, travel, and knowledge, though that’s been taking a while! Here are other things I’ve written,
split into categories.
“The Book and Place, The Place of the Book.”
TXT: Exploring the Boundaries of the Book, pp. 12–15. The Hague: autumn 2014.
Untitled review of Jack Green’s
Fire the Bastards!,
Rain Taxi, Volume 17, no. 1, p. 16. Minneapolis: spring 2012.
“The Failure of Americans.”
The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Vol. XXXI, #1: The Failure Issue, pp. 80–103. Urbana,
2011. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Rong–Wrong, Vol. No. 1, pp. 70–76. Amsterdam: 2011.
Untitled piece on Jan Tschichold.
The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2009, pp. 105–110. Bern: 2009. Translated into German by Daniela
“The Responsibility of the Reader,”
Logos, Volume 20, no. 4, pp. 167–170. Amsterdam: 2009.
—with Michael Rüger & Bob Stein: “
Sophie – The Future of Reading”
C5 2008: Poitiers, France. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creating, Connecting and
through Computing, 2008: pp. 13–20.
—with Christina Svendsen,
Let’s Go Rome 2000. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
—with Sam Bull,
Let’s Go Ireland 1998. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
Talks & Panels
Panelist, “Book/Ends?: Rethinking Scribal in the Digital Age” (with Elaine Savory, Michael
Oz Frankel). MobilityShifts, New School, New York. 14 October 2011.
“The Book in Time: Futures of the Book.” The Center for Book Arts, New York. 24 March 2010
“The Page + The Screen: Siting Text in the Early 21st Century and Beyond” (with Bob Stein). The
NY, Brooklyn. 25 February 2010.
Plenary session, “The Digitization of Everything” (with Sven Birkerts and David Cole). 4th
Conference on the Book, Boston. 20 October 2006.
“Curating Translations: Case Studies from
Circumference and Archipelago Books” (with Jennifer Kronovet, Stefania Heim,
et al.). American Literary Translators Association conference, Las Vegas, October 29, 2004.
Buzz Poole, “The Next Chapter,”
Print, June 2009, pp. 28–29.
Steve Bradbury, “The Brains Behind
Circumference: Poetry in Translation: a Conversation with Stefania Heim and Jennifer Kronovet”.
“A Note on the Type” by Dan Visel.
Full Tilt: A Journal of East-Asian Poetry, Translation and the Arts, Issue 3, summer 2008.
I wrote many pieces for
if:book, the Institute for the Future of the Book’s
blog. At some point, I’ll annotate the ones that
I still find interesting.
I’m interested in a lot of things! Here are some people whose work I am
interested in, in no particular
order: Jane Bowles. John Ashbery. Marcel Duchamp. Raymond Roussel. Marcel Proust. Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
William Gaddis. Gianfranco Baruchello. Anna Maria Ortese. Terre Thaemlitz. James Joyce. Gertrude Stein. Paul
Georges Perec. Stanley Crawford. Tan Lin. James McCourt. Fran Ross. William Morris. Jan Tshichold. Ray Johnson.
Walser. Sergio de la Pava. Alison Knowles. Henry Green. Guy Davenport. C. S. Peirce. Fernando Pessoa. Heinrich
Daniel Spoerri. Herman Melville. Julio Cortázar. Ronald Johnson. Ross McElwee. Carlo Levi. Chris Marker.
Varda. Andrey Tarkovsky. Éric Rohmer. Stan Brakhage. Fr. Rolfe. Thomas Browne. W. G. Sebald. Michel
Coltrane. Guy Maddin. Joseph McElroy. Eleanor Antin. Giorgio Morandi. Scott Walker. Florian Fricke. Robert
Some magazines that I have liked, mostly in the past:
Dot Dot Dot.
The Sienese Shredder.
FAQNP. I was a contributing editor at
Triple Canopy, and I think that’s a fine magazine, though I might be biased.