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Roderick Coover & Scott Rettberg, TOXI-City


Scott Rettberg (b. 1970) is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen. Rettberg was the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project, and the founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, Three Rails Live, Toxicity and others. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere.

Roderick Coover (b. 1967) is Director of the Graduate Program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University. Coover makes films, interactive cinema, installations and webworks. Some of his latest projects include the interactive series Unknown Territories ( about exploration in the American West ( and the edited book, Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities And Arts (Chicago 2011). A pioneer in interactive documentary arts and poetics, his works are distributed through Video Data Bank, DER, Eastgate Systems and elsewhere.  is creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including SIGGRAPH, Documenta Madrid, The American Philosophical Society Museum, Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, and elsewhere. You can learn more about his work at


TOXI-City is a combinatory narrative film by Roderick Coover and Scott Rettberg. The project imagines life in the Delaware River Estuary in a near future environment impacted by hurricanes, flooding, and widespread seepage of toxic chemicals in major population centers. The film asks what would happen if climate change resulted in storms and changes to our waterways that resulted in the release of the many poisonous substances from Superfund sites and abandoned factories in the area into Philadelphia and New Jersey. Characters describe a struggle to conduct everyday life in a world transformed by environmental devastation and society's reaction to it. The fictional narrative fragments recombine with a chorus of contemporary voices describing factual deaths caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The imagery based on original footage - most shot from a kayak - of the industrial docklands that stretch from Wilmington to Trenton to include the cities and environs of Chester, Philadelphia, and Camden.

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