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Subversive Writing and the Digital Text
Our understanding of “subversion” can be traced to its Latin roots: vertere, which means “to turn, overthrow, or destroy,” and the prefix sub, which means, “under, beneath.” Hence, subversion is literally destruction from below. This understanding carries with it two different connotations, one which is more concrete, as a form of non-frontal assault on a government or similar institution, by staging the attack from behind enemy lines. The second, relies upon the antagonistic connotations of the first, but refers to the act of turning a system upon itself from within. This paper deals with subversion in the context of a changing media landscape. Fundamental to this is the question of subversion as it relates to the norms of digitality itself: the subversion of the “discrete” value as applied to the entirety of existence. The process of digitization, which reassembles the organic as transmissible, programmable units of abstract value, increasingly permeates all levels of social existence. From digital communication to human labor, from intelligence to food, reality is increasingly being rendered in commodity form, subject to information processing, communication, and storage. This emerging universal structure, then, is the definitive terrain upon which all future acts of digital subversion will be formed.