Making Sense: aspects of the literary in electronic environments

Critical Writing
Record Status: 
Abstract (in English): 

This paper investigates the manner in which e-literature is reconstructing and intensifying some of the sensory capacities of literary language. The interactive nature of many works, as well as their use of image and sound and the fact that the ‘surface’ text is produced and informed by a ‘deeper’ level of generative code, means that new critical concepts, vocabularies and ways of reading adequate to this new situation need to be developed. Katherine Hayles. John Cayley, Talan Memmot, and Rita Raley, have all written authoritatively on the importance of software and code in determining approaches to electronic poetics, and the difference this makes to how we understand new media writing. Matt Kirschenbaum makes the distinction between formal and forensic materiality in order to break down the emergent logics at play in the digital ‘text’. We introduce a different perspective, one that focuses on the ecology of the body (its distribution) in its engagement with different forms. Using the electronic work of Melinda Rackam, Jason Nelson, Stelarc and Alan Sondheim we argue that technological innovation is reshaping aesthetics through a new ecology of the body that privileges affect, and emphasises proprioceptive capacity. In this paper we look at electronic texts and forms that both reproduce and challenge an emergent focus on an aesthetics of ‘touch’, proximity and novelty.

(Source: Authors' abstract for ELO_AI)

The permanent URL of this page: 
Record posted by: 
Audun Andreassen