Narrating the Sociality of the Database: A Digital Hermeneutic Reading of The Atlas Group Archive and haikU (paper)

Critical Writing
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Year: 
2019
ISBN: 
978-1-4503-6885-8
Page Numbers: 
117-121
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Abstract (in English): 

In this paper, I investigate the database characteristics of electronic literature that makes them into social forms. Database structures are both fragmented and relational, displaying hypertext characteristics. I approach The Atlas Group Archive and haikU, two works of electronic literature, as examples of material and conceptual databases in order to explore the database function so saturated in our daily life. Both works highlight a database aesthetics, although the ways they do so are polar opposites. I analyze the works within the framework of digital hermeneutics, continuously considering the relationship between text and context, between parts and whole. I demonstrate how AGA is an explicit database, supposedly showing a 'complete' archive, whereas haikU is an implicit database that hides the corpus of sentences. I show the sociality of the databases, thematizing both the human process behind database formation as a whole, as well as how the individual elements influence the perception of the overall database. Finally, I take my findings to a broader perspective and consider what AGA and haikU can teach us about the materiality, conceptuality, and sociality of the omnipresent structure of the database.
(Source: abstract in ACM Digital Library)

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Hannah Ackermans