Digital Word in a Palm: Digital Poetry between Reading and immersive Bodily Experience

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Poetry’s traditional role as the lyric atmospheres and projective saying provider is fundamentally being challenged by information technologies that are able to create their own particular atmospheres, new ways of user related text organization, and novel generations of hybrid and artificial languages. Novel textual practices are emerging in which presentation, linear way of narrative, depths, and meaning are being replaced with liquid textscape, blog- based remixability, the multi-sensuous textscape experience and special effects (e.g. Amy Alexander’s VJ shows featuring text-based visuals generated live from Internet engines queries). Text is undergoing radical shifts in its nature addressing both the author and the reader; within a new media paradigm we are facing the digital verbal with the new properties, which allow people to write, read, communicate, learn, explore and create in novel ways. In the print based culture both authors and readers got used to the text as a matter of surfaces and two-dimensional letters, however the new media environments enable quite different textual experiences based on a set of complex and sophisticated procedures beyond of just-reading activity.

Rather than dealing with the issues of digital poetry making, this paper draws the attention on a very complex act of digital poetry reading. We are focusing first of all on digital poetry texts in 3-D immersive environments that enable reader-user to interact with textual components (e. g. letters, words, lines, sentences) in a way that call into question our regular expectations concerning the reading on 2-D surfaces. Such an immersive and tactile activity seems to be paradigmatic for new media attitude to the verbal and can be understood even as a dry run for digital and new media literacy. Every new generation of technologies brings forth its own literacy, meaning that today in the age of new media, new literacy is being raised, which call into question our ability of approaching the digital verbal and organizing the contemporary narratives. Both digital literacy and digital poetry refer to the letter (fr. lettre, lat. litera) as their basic, atomic-like unit.

(Source: Author's abstract)

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Scott Rettberg