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Electronic Literature by N. Katherine Hayles
Transcript of Electronic Literature by N. Katherine Hayles
Electronic Literature by N. Katherine Hayles
Rose Propp, Abdul Taufique, Jenny Rosen, Jonathan Cruz
Chapter 2: Intermediation: From Page to Screen
Intermediation: “Multilevel complexity”
Made up of Dynamic Heterarchies, Fluid analogies and the interpretive process which gives meaning
Dynamic Heterarchies: feedback loops between the human and computer
Dynamic Heterarchies are created by the connection between the programmer and the computer program or reader and program
Technology modifies us
Chapter 3:Contexts for Electronic Literature:The Body and the Machine
Chapter 4:Revealing and Transforming:How Electronic Literature Revalues Computational Practice
Communication in our day and age has been taken over by technology. (Email, text, etc.)
This chapter discusses humanity and human interaction in a technological era
The relationship between body and mind is essential to understand (especially relating to EL)
Electronic literature is a culmination of "embodied practice, tacit knowledge, and explicit articulation"
Chapter 5:The Future of Literature: Print Novels and the Mark of the Digital
Digital literature will be a significant component of the twenty-first century norm
There are major characteristics of digital text that make it approachable for readers
Computer-mediated text is layered
Computer-mediated text tends to be multimodal
Computer-mediated text manifests fractured temporality
Books will not disappear, but neither will they escape the technologies that interpenetrate them.
Chapter 1: Electronic Literature: What is it?
Electronic literature is "digital born," a first-generation digital object created on a computer and meant to be read on a computer.
Genres of Electronic Literature:
Hypertext fiction: characterized by linking structures
Network fiction: digital fiction that makes use of hypertext technology in order to create emergent and recombinatory narratives
Interactive Fiction (IF): stronger game elements than other genres
Locative narratives: short fiction delivered using location specific technology
Installation pieces: site specific pieces in which location is stationary
Generative art: text generated according to a randomized scheme or scrambled and rearranged preexisting text
Code work: text based on extensive programming
Table of Contents
Brief Summary: One problem with putting so much importance on EL is the fact that it is so inaccessible
the era of digital media seems to offer more fodder for fears than opportunities for innovation
Ben Bush says: talk to the death of books seems premature but Hayles says that this is very true
Katherine Hayles' new book is dissatisfied (rightly) with the simplistic assumption that literary writing has simply shifted from one form to another.
Main Concepts of the Book
We have seen many of these genres of EL in the pieces we looked at in class.
Twelve Blue: gives quotes from others on their feelings about the literature
Regressive Loops: Christian Shaw, Galatea & For Whom the Telling Changed
Neuromancer: The co-evolution of Body and Machine as predicted by William Gibson.
Examples of Specific Genres
HYPERTEXT FICTION: "These waves of girls:" includes sound, spoken text, and other functionalities in a networked linking structure
NETWORK FICTION: "Afternoon: a story:" is written in Storyspace which is a commonly used hypertext authorizing program
INTERACTIVE FICTION: Emily Short's "Savoir-Faire:" there are interactive fiction puzzles that require the user to make a leap of inference from one device to another that resembles it in function; for example if a door and a box are properly linked, opening the box also opens the door.
LOCATIVE NARRATIVES: Janet Cardiff's "THe Missing VOice (Case Study B):" the user listened to a CD played on a Wlakman keyed to locations in London's inner city, tracing a route that take about 45 minutes to complete
GENERATIVE ART: "La serie des U (THe Set of U):" a poem with ext, pictures an programming that generates a different text-that-is-seen each time it is played through subtle variations in timing at which the textual elements appear
Chapter 1 continued
Electronic Literature is not print:
Early hypertext theorists stressed the importance of hypertext as one of electronic literature's distinguishing features
"Exploring and understanding the full implications of what the transition from page to screen entails must necessarily be a community effort, a momentous task that calls for enlightened thinking, visionary planning, and deep critical consideration."
Chapter 2 Continued
Both computers and humans build high-level responses out of low-level processes
Computers bring out complexities in player's cognition
computer cognition is to its execution and performance
human cognition is to the creation and consumption of the work
Electronic Literature is "digital-born" literature that has several different genres and is different from traditional print text.
"Certainly print literature changes a reader's perceptions, but the loop is not closed because the words on the page do not literally change in response to the user's perceptions"
EL creates "recursive feedback loops among embodied practice, tacit knowledge and explicit articulation"
Digital literature will be a significant part of the 21st century but books will not disappear.
Electronic Literature is going to continue coexisting and evolving with it's traditional counterpart.
In Hayles' opinion:
the integration of electronic literature is not only inevitable, it has already happened
all modern literature is already electronic literature
Hayles connects technology and the body in various ways and asks "should the body be subjected to the machine, or the machine to the body?"
Electronic literature is already among the various media people already experience.
"Temporality becomes place to inhabit"
The co-evolution of technology and humans is what makes Electronic literature an unavoidable product.
Electronic literature shows us complex feedback loops that are much like in the human mind. (much like we see in the Z-machines we worked with)
Theorizes that the body and machine are entangled in their development.
Chooses a third option to the question proposed earlier.
Chapter 4 continued
"verbal narratives are simultaneously conveyed and disrupted by code" and "distributed cognition implies distributed agency"
Hayles argues that Electronic Literature brings together programmers, designers, writers, and wreaders. It creates partnerships between the aforementioned people