Genre-bending on an Academic Platform: Three Creative Works on Scalar

Critical Writing
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This paper investigates genre and media specificity of electronic literature created in Scalar. Scalar is a platform and authoring tool created specifically for humanities scholars to enable multimodal and multilinear publications. Besides scholarly work, Robert Budac's The Scalar Conspiracy [4], Steven Wingate's daddylabyrinth: a digital lyric memoir [12] and micha cárdenas' Redshift & Portalmetal [5] are all works of electronic literature created in Scalar. I demonstrate that all three of these works use Scalar to create genre-bending texts that build on and subvert the technological affordances as well as the contextual connotations that Scalar provides. The Scalar Conspiracy parodies the counter-intuitive user interface elements by making the reader investigate the text's different hidden messages. daddylabyrinth: a digital lyric memoir destabilizes the genre of the (auto)biography by promoting documentation and research while continuously showing how these processes fall short during the writing and reading process. Redshift & Portalmetal favors experience over documentation to create a work that is both immersive and theory-building. These Scalar fictions are characterized by the premise that the platform's academic context strengthens the narrative. Researching the multimodality and academic context as integral parts of the narrative structure opens up the opportunity to reckon with the platform-specificity across genres.


(Source: abstract in Digital Library)

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Hannah Ackermans