Exploring Digital Culture: why Tool Matters

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The research community of electronic literature is exercising more and more influence in the field of digital culture and there is a growing body of research on the literary, computational, and cultural aspects of born-digital writing, but research into the specific impact of platforms on the production of digital writing has been very limited and often relegated to a peripheric rank. However, platforms play an essential role in shaping the genres and practices of electronic literature that needs to be investigated more deeply to develop better understanding of how our tools and machines shape digital culture. My talk has the objective to reflect the importance of the interface in literary production. At the border of technology and literature, where format and content matter, what is the status of the tool in the creation of works of electronic literature? I will recall the principle that electronic literature is subordinate to the tools it uses and will demonstrate how coding participates in the recognition in the field of digital humanities. I will take the example of the project DHonsite2019, that takes place in Cotonou, Benin, in May 2019 to show how the interface participates in the construction of digital works, no longer remaining on the periphery of literary production. The DHonSite project aims to collaboratively forge a new vision of creative and critical practices of digital forms across cultural differences. Putting in perspective its neutrality and attributing to it the ambition to constitute a space for dialogue and interpretation around texts, the interface thus becomes an element of culture that allows a rebalancing of forces in the field of digital humanities.

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Vian Rasheed