Productions of Presence: Sensing Electronic Literature

Abstract (in English): 

Using the virtual reality work Screen by Noah Wardrip-Fruin (designed for Brown University’s CAVE) as a tutor-text, the paper addresses cave rhetoric as it relates to Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s concept of production of presence. One generalization to be made about CAVE pieces is that they foster a tactile impulse, despite the fact that tangibility in VR is unachievable. As he dissects “the gravity of the leaf” in his eponymous 2010 essay, John Cayley speaks of a new phenomenology of language, one wherein floating textual strings would not constitute acts of remediation proper but rather frame new instances of mediation (CAYLEY, 2010). Inasmuch as it re-introduces embodied text as both dislodged symbolic inscription and virtual obstacle – though lacking a third dimension, text becomes perceivable in space as solid matter –, then one might argue that the CAVE rehabilitates and multiplies the paradoxes with which literary criticism has had to grapple in the past with the advent of Concrete poetics. One might also argue that the haptic properties of the CAVE render these works particularly amenable to descriptive (non-interpretive) “readings.” In this context, “presence effects” are to be conceived of as events (temporary emergences), which restore materiality and embodiment as topics of theoretical reflection.
Source: Author

The permanent URL of this page: 
Record posted by: 
Eric Dean Rasmussen