From the Digital to the Bookbound

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Dear Reader: How are you reading these words? On which device? Through which interface? Can you read the source code of this web ‘page’? Can you re-write it? Why does it matter? We have machines for that, we have apps! In Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound Lori Emerson sets out to demystify the wondrous devices of our digital age by interrogating both the limits and the creative possibilities of a wide range of reading and writing interfaces. For Emerson, interface is an open-ended term – a threshold, a point of interaction between human and hardware, between hardware and software, between reader and writer, and between human-authored writing and the vast corpus of machine-based text relentlessly reading and writing itself behind the surface of the screen.

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One must be able to read and write to be literate, hence Emerson’s fusing of reading and writing into readingwriting - an indivisible set of processes and, at times, a decidedly disruptive act. Emerson points her readers to a range of contemporary digital writers who are challenging or troubling the so-called invisible user-friendly interfaces of bland branded ubiquitous computing by embracing visibility and courting difficulty, defamiliarization, and glitch in order to draw attention to the limits these technologies place on our thoughts and our expressions thereof.

We live in an age of wondrous devices, ubiquitous computing, invisible walls of software, algorithmic determinism disguised by slight of hand. Reading Writing Interfaces draws our attention back to the materiality of digital languages, reveals the underlying processes of writing, and makes visible the interfaces through which we read/write our world.

Reading Writing Interfaces - Lori Emerson

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J. R. Carpenter