Mashup as paratextual practice: beyond digital objects (in the age of networked media)

Abstract (in English): 

I would like to present a concept which I fully developed in my contribution to the book edited by Nadine Desrochers and Daniel Apollon, Examining Paratextual Theory and its Applications in Digital Culture. In the text I propose a major reconfiguration of the main tenets of Genette’s paratextual theory in order to fully grasp the specific nature of today’s media environm
ent, where modes of circulation often seem more important than the digital content itself. I argue
that while the concept of paratext still provides a valuable framework of analysis, it should be reframed within the propositions of non-representational theory and read not only (or primarily) as relating to the set of subtexts, “parasitic” texts, annotations and markers accompanying the “main” text, but first and foremost as a semiotic-technological apparatus enabling the circulation of digital content across different media platforms. Such a re-reading also calls for an updated understanding of digital media, with more prominence given to relational characterics of the objects, as well as to fluidity and dynamics of the processes of circulation, rather than to digital “objects” as such. Therefore, choosing Google Maps mashups as my main example, I propose a shift in focus: from analysis of the textual (digital) objects themselves, which treats them as a set of discrete entities, to thinking about them first in terms of the possibilities they offer for the circulation of the content.

(Source: Author's Abstract)

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Alvaro Seica