The Fugue * book: when platforms don’t let us escape literature

Abstract (in English): 

Anton Ferret, author of the E-Lit work The Fugue* book, will present a reflection on the technological and creative part of it, all that can be done well working with platforms and taking advantage of their own intrusion into the data and all that it means to lose it by the cultural and technological change that has meant the greater awareness for privacy. Oreto Doménech, a researcher in digital literature, will focus on the reception: on how this literary work reconfigures the platforms through which it’s expressed and on how fiction itself uses the platforms to build a metadiscursive reflection on the literature inserted in the historical and social fact.

The Fugue* book (ELC II; 2008) turns the reader into the author and protagonist of the same story he is reading and his real-life friends turn into fictional characters. Both obsessively harass him in a violent, sensual plot: with crimes, envy (including literary one), false attributions of authorship and bitter disputes in forums and social networks. Technically, the work is based on the idea of remixing and "mashup" and integrates elements as diverse as the Facebook APIs, applications in PHP and Javascript languages, automatic emails, PDF self-generation or speech synthesis. You can see a video of the work ( which cannot be read right now due to the obsolescence of the Adoble Flash software.

Technologies and platforms in this work are related to creation, not to edition or distribution, which supposes main problems and diverse derivatives of the technologies, like the need of continuous technological update, costs, dependence on the work to the availability of the technology and of the platforms, like for example, to other people's conditions, subjection to technological evolution of the platforms and the introduction of third parties, the big platforms, in the very heart of the works. This literary fiction is constructed with interaction, multimedia, language technologies, data obtained from the Internet and data provided by the reader, ingredients all of which involve well-known and used technologies and platforms.

However, the reading pact that introduces us to fiction, reconfigures these platforms along different reading paths. The use of the wide range of platforms builds the plausibility of the stories and ironically places them at the center of the digital landscape in a critical review of the platforms themselves. The theme is distilled, refined, and focuses on the dehumanization of relationships between people, the text-context relationship, public and private space, the real self and masks (authorship, deception and plagiarism), gender literary texts and their analogy with the types of platforms… Texts and spaces related to a communicative situation completely out of literary creation make it possible for all these fragments to function as parts of a single literary narrative.

Reading The Fugue* book is an intelligent, amusing and critical experience, with the subtle background of the complexity of the human being able to create (the) networks with words. When digital accelerates the hybridization of the arts, only the centrality of the word defines literature.

(Source: Authors' own abstract)

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Lene Tøftestuen