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The Medial Turn

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Following such foundational studies as Robert Nadeau's Readings from the New Book on Nature (1981), N. Katherine Hayles's The Cosmic Web (1984), David Porush's The Soft Machine (1985), and Tom LeClair's The Art of Excess (1989), Strehle and Johnston continue to work with a remarkably stable canon whose authors have "turned to modern science and technology for alternative concepts of narrative necessity and thematic organization" (Johnston 64). In the distributed network of alternatives that these mainstream studies have created, Pynchon occupies the shifting center, Barth and Coover persist in the academic margins, Gaddis and McElroy stand in perennial need of…

Media, Genealogy, History

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Remediation is an important book. Its co-authors, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, seem self-conscious of this from the outset. The book's subtitle, for example, suggests their intent to contend for the mantle of Marshall McLuhan, who all but invented media studies with Understanding Media (1964), published twenty years prior to the mass-market release of the Apple Macintosh and thirty years prior to the popular advent of the World Wide Web. There has also, I think, been advance anticipation for Remediation among the still relatively small coterie of scholars engaged in serious cultural studies of computing and information technology. Bolter…

Harry Mathews’s Al Gore Rhythms: A Re-viewing of Tlooth, Cigarettes, and The Journalist

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Reviewing Harry Mathews is an onerous task, for the review is a taxonomical genre, and Mathews defies classification. Perhaps it is best not to assess his writing but to process it. One could leaf through it using one of his own devices, such as "Mathews's Algorithm" - a literary machine he invented which recombines given elements according to a simple, elegant procedure. Indeed, Mathews's texts - which include Oulipian exercises, poetry, translations, reviews, short fictions, memoir, and novels - read as if generated by an algorithm with a few bugs still in it. Mathews has characterized his singular prose style…

Alire: A Relentless Literary Investigation

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

1999 will mark the 10th anniversary of the web-based literary journal Alire. The journal - created in January 1989 by the Parisian group L.A.I.R.E. (Lecture, Art, Innovation, Recherche, Écriture), which included Philippe Bootz, Frédéric Develay, Jean-Marie Dutey, Claude Maillard, and Tibor Papp - is known as the oldest multimedia journal in Europe, and certainly one of the oldest in the West. Before the arrival of CD-ROMs, before the Internet explosion, the journal was already publishing poetry written for and intended to be read through computers. The tenth anniversary will be an occasion to return to several of the pathways located…

Poetry in the Electronic Environment

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Stephanie Strickland on the translation of poetry from print to screen. Talk given at Hamline University, St. Paul, MN, April 10, 1997 I want to start by evoking some of the many times that poetry is not a "book" of poetry: for instance, Prospero's Books, a film, itself a version of Shakespeare's theater poem, "The Tempest"; poetry videos, poetry spots on the radio; and many kinds of live performance, from slams to sonic poetry. We have also, today, for the first time, hypertext. Poems, and collections of poems, can be composed as, or into, hypertext, using the many specific capabilities…

When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Voice, Vision, and the Prosthetic Subject in Dancer in the Dark

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Sound is not voice. The desire for it to be so, however, seems to lie at the heart of much compelling art, music, and film. How we feel about this desire - that to be human at all is to thoroughly take that desire for granted or, conversely, that to live in post-Enlightenment (much less postmodern) culture is to see that desire as romantic in the worst possible sense - is a question visited upon audiences with the most uncanny and disconcerting force in Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark. When the film was first released in May…

Un Policier sur la Police: The Gritty Reality Behind the Fonts You Read

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

on the ghost in the machine: the font as spiritual medium in CD-ROM poetry design "No one up here pays attention to reviews. We don't care about reviews. Frankly reviews are mostly for people who still read. Like most of the written word, it is going the way of the dinosaurs. Most people get their information from the cinema and electronic media. I don't know any actors or people in show business who have any serious interest in what is written about our world." - Bruce WillisUp to now, setting type on a computer has followed a logic of gelatinization:…

Wiring John Cage: Silence as a Global Sound System

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Is there a music to media ecology? John Cage argues: "Music as I conceive it is ecological. You could go further and say that it IS ecology" (Birds 229). The radical nature of this claim still demands to be understood. The challenges of Cage's long trajectory across various media signal his stance toward a complex exteriority, an eco-musicology he calls "the impossibility of language" (113). Cage is a thinker of complexity, that is, of the materiality of systems, of the "working" aggregates he names music. His work is not adequately summarized by too-quick dismissals as a neotranscendentalism or Romanticism (as…

Reading Writing Space

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: December 30, 1996

Arriving on the literary scene in the early '90s, Jay David Bolter's Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing is one of those pro-hypertext books whose earnest boosterism leaves you feeling a little embarassed. Nonetheless, Bolter's book has recently been seen changing hands around graphic design graduate programs -- I once heard it referred to as "the only interesting writing about new media." While interesting isn't a word I would use to describe the writing itself, the book does touch upon a central area of interest to graphic designers: the impact of technology on the material embodiment…

Sleepless in Seattle

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

A postmodern parlor game we liked to play in grad school worked like this: at an appropriately advanced juncture in the evening, distribute a text to each person there. Make sure there is a range of texts—no, a real range, as in not only Chaucer and Erdrich and Pynchon and Acker and Austin, but a cookbook, a comp class assignment, a phone book, an album cover, loose sheets that missed the can. Then take turns driving—the designated driver (sobriety unrequired) points to a person who randomly picks a place to begin reading; that person reads until halted by an open…