Aurature and the End(s) of Electronic Literature

Abstract (in English): 

The question of electronic literature – its definition, existence, significance, relationship with literature (plain and simple) – has always been bound up with questions of media and medium. New media. Electronic media. Media qualified by digital, computational, networked, programmable and so on. And all of these terms hypostasize practices while encapsulating and concealing an even more fundamental problem concerning their medium in the sense of artistic medium. Historically, as of this present, an electronic literature exists. It exists significantly, as corpus and practice, and as an institutionally supported cultural formation. It has established a relationship to literature as such, and this is also, to an extent, institutionally recognized. However, questions and confusions concerning media – signaled understandably but inappropriately by the absurd, skewmorphic misdirection of “electronic” – remain encapsulated in “literature” itself. The medium of literature is not letters or even writing. The medium of literature is language. And this latter statement is a contradiction, arguably an assault, by literature, on language itself, as if the art of language could be entirely encompassed by an art of letters. The future historical role of “electronic,” digital, computational and programmatological affordances will be that of enabling artists and scholars to overcome our long-standing confusions concerning literature and writing, but not by replacing literacy with digital literacy. It has become a commonplace of the discourse surrounding electronic literature to say that the predominant practices of aesthetic language-making are currently produced in the world of (print) literacy and that this has been problem since the advent of “electronic” literacy. It has been a problem for far longer than that. Our predominant art practices – of visual or fine art – are currently produced, chiefly, in the world of visuality. Qualifying (visual) art with “digital” or “electronic” is less and less necessary because “digital media” simply allow visual artists to explore visuality in new ways, continuous with those of previous practices and institutions. For art, media may have changed but the artists’ medium is consistent. By contrast, digital media will enable us to discover that aesthetic, artifactual language-making may also take place in the world of aurality, in the world of what we can hear and, in particular, of what we can hear as language, and faithful to language as artistic medium, as aurature. (source: ELO 2015 Conference Catalog)

Critical writing referenced:

Titlesort ascending Author Year
Writing Machines N. Katherine Hayles 2002
Why only us: Language and evolution Robert C. Berwick, Noam Chomsky 2016
What Makes Life Worth Living: On Pharmacology Bernard Stiegler 2013
Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture Erez Lieberman Aiden, Jean-Baptiste Michel 2013
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism Evgeny Morozov 2013
The Voice in the Machine: Building Computers That Understand Speech Roberto Pieraccini 2012
The Vectoralist Class McKenzie Wark 2015
The Untold Story of the Talking Book Matthew Rubery 2016
The Origins of Language: A Slim Guide James R. Hurford 2014
The Origins of Grammar: Language in the Light of Evolution James R. Hurford 2012
The Force of Language Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Denise Riley 2004
The End of Books Robert Coover 1992
The Cultural Logic of Computation David Golumbia 2009
Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention Stanislas Dehaene 2009
Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books Jean-Baptiste Michel, Yuan Kui Shen, Aviva Presser Aiden, Adrian Veres, Matthew K. Gray, Joseph Pickett, Dale Hoiberg, Dan Clancy, Peter Norvig, Jon Orwant, Steven Pinker, Martin A. Nowak, Erez Lieberman Aiden 2011
Pry Samantha Gorman, Daniel Cannizzaro 2014
Of Grammatology Jacques Derrida 2016
Marxism and the Philosophy of Language Valentin N. Vološinov 1973
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics N. Katherine Hayles 1999
For a New Critique of Political Economy Bernard Stiegler 2010
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Hannah Ackermans