Collaboration and authority in electronic literature

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

This paper explores collaborative processes in electronic literature. Specifically, it examines writer authority as it applies to text, code, and other media. By drawing from cinematic auteur theory, Mitchell’s Picture Theory (1994), Said’s Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975), Cayley’s Grammalepsy (2018), and Flores’s (2019) generational approach to digital literature, this paper highlights unique issues that arise in the creative collaborative production of digital literary works, and the influence these processes have on how these works are ‘read’. The creative processes employed in Montfort, Rettberg, and Carpenter’s respective Taroko Gorge, Tokyo Garage, and Gorge (2009), Jhave’s ReRites (2017–2018), and Luers, Smith, and Dean’s novelling (2016)), as well as reflections on the author’s own collaborative creative experiences (Paige and Powe (2017) with Lowry and Lane, Little Emperor Syndrome (2018) with Arnold, and V[R]erses (2019–) with Breeze) are explored in detail. From these analyses, this paper concludes that in digital literary practices code should be regarded as a meta-authority that denotes authority to specific components of the work. A better understanding of these complexities as they apply to attribution is emphasised in the future development of digital literary creative practice and education.

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David Wright