How to Construct the Genre of Digital Poetry: A User Manual

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Friedrich W. Block looks at the systematic and historical conditions of the emergence of a genre like “digital poetry.” He argues that it has been necessary to communicate and spread schemes of invariance and identification to tie to- gether a high variety of artistic practice. For this purpose, concepts and names of genres have been connected with different forms of institutionalization. From this perspective, his essay considers the conceptual and cultural devel- opment of “digital poetry” as well as its relation to historical filiations and their transformation. In conclusion, his considerations lead to an abstract reflection of a more general concept of “poetry.”

(Source: Beyond the Screen, introduction by Jörgen Schäfer and Peter Gendolla)

Pull Quotes: 

Genre names function as a rather effective means of institutionalization. They serve to orient toward a certain field of artistic activity, even without clear definitions. But for this purpose, the signifier or name has to have at least some connotative meaning which originates from using the expression. In or- der to create a genre, usage has to tie a multitude of differences and this is best done via social and medial organization. Thus, location, origin, and communicative function of an expression like “digital poetry” are of interest.

I wanted to illustrate how the genre “Digital Poetry” has been constituted by an interplay of genre name, development of social, medial, and communicative organization, presentation of artworks, different forms of discourse, and curatorial praxis. The meaning of the genre has emerged from this complex of mediation and observation and much less from individual artistic production. Artists develop more individual programs, but they are prepared to participate in organizational forms following the concept of Digital Poetry.

Teaching Resource using this Critical Writing:

Resource Teaching Resource Type Author Year
Digital Genres: Digital Art, Electronic Literature, and Computer Games (DIKULT 103, Spring 2011) Syllabus Jill Walker Rettberg, Patricia Tomaszek, Mark C. Marino, Rita Raley 2011
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Scott Rettberg