Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Oxford Brookes to launch “Reading Machine”

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


A cross-faculty Oxford Brookes research group will be launching their latest project this month. Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technology (AGAST), founded by Dr Eric White (Department of English and Modern Languages) and John Twycross (Department of Computing and Communication Technologies), will be unveiling their Reading Machine on January 24 in the JHBB special collections archive.

The Reading Machine is based on the work of American writer, Bob Brown - often called the “Godfather of the E-reader”. In 1929 Brown sought a ‘revolution of the word’ and proposed a machine that he hoped would forever change the way people read. Brown’s vision was for a machine that would allow people to read entire novels within minutes, but also to transform the way they interact with written language.

AGAST’s project is an interpretation of Brown’s ideas; using an augmented-reality headset, the reader will be able to see a 3D representation of texts specially commissioned by acclaimed British author Iain Sinclair, whose works include London Orbital  (2002, Penguin), London Overground. A Day’s Walk Around the Ginger Line (Hamish Hamilton 2015) and Black Apples of Gower (2015, Littler Toller Books).

The event will also feature a presentation by Professor Craig Saper (University of Maryland, Baltimore) the world authority on Brown, as well as a reading from Iain Sinclair.

After the launch, AGAST seek to further develop the Reading Machine. According to Dr Eric White, one of the founders of AGAST,  “The launch event is both a culmination and a starting point for the Reading Machine. It’s a call to arms to start reaching out to more writers and a declaration of intent to expand the concept beyond Oxford and London.”

The event will take place 24 January 2017 from 17:00 to 19:00 and will be hosted in the Special Collections Archive, John Henry Brookes Building.

For more information and to book your place before registration closes on Friday 20 January, please email Eric White on ewhite@brookes.ac.uk