Digital Poetics or On the Evolution of Experimental Media Poetry

Abstract (in English): 

The academic and literature critical discussion on new media poetry or about digital texts swings to and fro, in method and conception between two poles: one is the 'work immanent' approach of structure description and classification, and the other the deduction of abstract media esthetics. At a tangent to this the communication on media, culture and media art has been more or less committed to the priority of technological reasoning since the nineties at the latest. The concern with technology remains a dilemma: Technology has to be taken into account when dealing with concrete structure analyses of works of digital poetry, but some traps lie in wait. Is the knowledge accounted for here really sufficient? I would say that few of those taking part in the discussion who do not actually work in the specific area artistically are capable of programming digital texts (the same may be said of some artists). Another problem is something I have casually termed a new techno-ontology: a ‘cold fascination’ for technological being (also of texts), which flares up briefly with each innovation pressing for the market in the respective field. This includes the far-reaching absence of any ideology criticism of things technical -- mainly in the nineties, where the area of media art as well as digital poetry expanded. In fact the opposite was the case: A 'new' avant-garde consciousness, igniting with current technical achievements and with the connected artistic experiments, is undeniable in the digital poetry discussion: along with the new media, newness according to modern progress and as a value of economic exchange returns with a vengeance. If, however, you take ‘technical’ to mean more than the purely instrumental - the tools of hard and software independent of their cognitive, physical or communicative use - if it is interpreted dynamically as a process and symbolically according to the ancient world’s notion of ‘techne’ (techne as creative workings or as art) then it is clear that the explanation of literature, digital literature indeed, cannot be reduced to technology. In addition questions of perception, communication, social and cultural orders arise. In this case literature must be a multi-dimensional system to which belong, in addition to the works, technical procedures and the corresponding media as well as protagonists with respective cognitive areas, action roles, groupings, institutions, communications and symbolic orders, e.g. such as genre knowledge or programs of poetics. Each dimension is subject to certain coordinated dynamics and historical development.

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Patricia Tomaszek