The Advent of Aurature and the End of (Electronic) Literature

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Aurality may be understood either as the entirety of distinguishable, culturally impli- cated sonic phenomena or, more narrowly and with specific regard to aurature, as the entirety of linguistically implicated sonic phenomena.

Aurature must be distinguished from oral literature (in orality or oral culture), for at least two reasons. In the first place, to emphasize that aurature comes to exist more on the basis of its being heard and interpreted rather than on the circumstances of its production (by a mouth or speaking instrument) and secondly, for historical reasons, because contemporary digital audio recording, automatic speech recognition and auto- matic speech synthesis technologies fundamentally reconfigure—in their cumulative amalgamation—the relationship between linguistic objects in aurality and the archive of cultural practice. Whereas, during the literally pre-historic period before writing (before there were linguistic objects as persistent visual traces), essential affordances of the archive were denied to oral culture, in principle, the digitalization of the archive allows aurature to be both created and appreciated with all the historical affordances and the cultural potentialities of literature.

This is the currently proposed definition of aurature that most concerns us, but it would be quite appropriate for the term to be applied to the entirety of recordable linguistic practices in aurality, including documentary as opposed to artistic practices, for example—by analogy with literature as it is applied with respect to visually supported linguistic cultural practices. 

(Source: Author's abstract)

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Anne Karhio