Technics and Violence in Electronic Literature

Critical Writing
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...could Electronic Literature be a form of organized violence against this ordinary language?

Rather than simply making the comparison of epic struggle to our daily frustrations with technology, which is funny in itself, Bouchardon et al. (2008) go to great lengths to create distinctive levels of play, each of which is sufficiently novel to merit continued play (and to use the piece’s log in feature, so that readers can save their progress as they play).

While the writing itself is fairly utilitarian (rather than poetic), 12 Labors is literary at a conceptual level. At once, it relies upon familiarity with classical literature (myth and allegory) and the conventions of contemporary narrative (cinematic and ludic) to provide critical and humorous insights into the tedious realities of daily life in the 21st century.

The piece is notable for the ways in which it signifies the reader’s touch, and thus poses a fascinating question for critics of electronic literature: when a physical act such as ‘touching’ is transformed into representation via an interface, in what ways might this parallel the representational conjuring that we associate with literary works?

On its most basic level, it is a piece about control and its loss that resonates with the common experience of media users in times of transition. Technology always proceeds by the extension of grasp and the promise of control.

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Eric Dean Rasmussen