Canon Goes Mobile: Ludosemiotics of Remediation

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Abstract (in English): 

Modern forms of literature frequently question our reading habits, and provoke us to re-define the act of reading and the book form. The “magic” of the book, described by Bezos as its ability to be an invisible device that disappears in the reader’s hands, permitting them to enter a story-world, is nowadays replaced by the “real magic” of non-invisible interfaces. The latest manifestations of these interfaces invite us to do things we usually do not do while reading: to touch, to shout, or to shake the device. In the other words, our reading becomes a very sensual and corporeal action and our “reading behaviour” is important for discovering the meaning of the work. That’s why we need a revision of poetics (Simanowski 2009), like Bouchardon’s theory of gestural manipulation as a literary figure (2014). 

In this paper, while examining literary works dedicated to mobile devices, I ask how adding playability to the story and engaging readers’ gestures and body in act of reading can be useful to “renovate” the literary canon, and to remediate it for today’s digital natives. My main case study will be iClassic collection, in which playability and reader gestures are not used only to make well-known works more attractive. Every story is re-told in a new, multimodal way, not only illustrated or enhanced with mobile media possibilities – particular narration aspects are translated into new media language. 

Contexts for analysis will derive from both, the mobile-literature field (e.g. different remediation of Around the World in 80 Days, Elastico Press apps) and non-mobile e-lit (e.g. works that re-write the canon in playable versions: Concretoons, Bałwochwał). This remediated canon will be also analyzed in context of modern “mobile-books,” literary apps that use haptic aspects as primary strategy for reading digital-born stories (e.g. The Incredible Tales of Weirdwood Manor). But the context of various “new” (not only mobile) book forms that re-fresh and re-new the traditional vision of the book will be important, too. Thus, I will use examples of AR-books or digi-novels (Level 26), step-in-book technology (wuwu&co), playable non-mobile texts (The Winter House), texts that use biofeedback (The Breathing Wall), as well as locative and physical narratives (Turnton Docklands). Important context will also be the traditional tension between a book forms typical for children’s and adult literature (and actual evolution in these divisions, provoked by new-media).

The broader context for my research is a question about the actual evolution (remediation) of canonical genres and literary forms. Here one of examples can be the classic epistolary novel and its modern incarnations as email- or sms-novel and then twitterature or other (trans)literary projects on social platforms (blogs, FB, flickr).

(Source: Author's description from ELO 2018 site: 

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Scott Rettberg