March 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of electronic book review.
Though we are all apart, we wish to recognize this milestone with you and which occurs through your support. ebr extends well wishes to you and your loved ones during this difficult time and hope that you will remain safe. We will continue to publish as normal.
We would like to thank the Electronic Literature Organization for their hard work in organizing the 2020 Meeting of the ELO, particularly the team at UCF (Anastasia Salter, Mel Stanfill, and others). And while we can’t meet in person, it is fortunate that much of our work lends itself to online platforms. I am looking forward to our virtual conversations!
Additionally, ebr is delighted to announce the publication of the 2-volume Post-Digital: Dialogues and Debates from electronic book review (Bloomsbury), edited by Joseph Tabbi, et al.
This month, ebr publishes an essay by Astrid Ensslin, Carla Rice, Sarah Riley, Christine Wilks, Megan Perram, Hannah Fowlie, Lauren Munro, and K. Alysse Bailey called “‘These Waves …:’ Writing New Bodies for Applied E-literature Studies.” This essay originally appeared as keynote at 2019 Meeting of the ELO in Cork, Ireland, delivered by Astrid Ensslin.
The Writing New Bodies (WNB) project serves to ground a field that they describe as applied e-literature research. In this case, this research occurs through having young women and non-binary people write about their identity and body image through interactive digital platforms (including popular digital storytelling tool Twine), which can otherwise be described as “digital-born bibliotherapy.”
The essay is structured in five parts:
The first section describes the WNB project as being grounded in the development of interactive e-lit as a field and as a platform for practitioners. The second section covers postfeminist approaches to women and non-binary peoples, with emphasis on body image through gendered appearance culture–the guiding framework of the WNB project. The third section introduces new concepts coming out of the WNB project, including digital-born body images (called “postmedia bodies”) and the ergodic gaze (the gaze as applied to interactive media). The fourth section describes e-literature texts that exemplify mediation on women’s bodies: Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl (1995), Christine Wilks’ Fitting the Pattern (2008), and These Waves of Girls (2001) by Caitlin Fisher (referenced in Ensslin et al.’s essay title). These examples all serve to encapsulate early post-digital écriture feminine.
Finally, the fifth section describes the process and results of the WNB project, detailing the workshops held in Canada (first author and Principal Investigator Ensslin is at the University of Alberta) and the dominant themes emerging from the workshops.
Anne Kahrio’s essay “At the Brink: Electronic Literature, Technology, and the Peripheral Imagination at the Atlantic Edge” originally appeared as a keynote at 2019 Meeting of the ELO in Cork, Ireland.
Kahrio begins by telling the story of the historical first transatlantic flight by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown from Newfoundland to Ireland–with Newfoundland bearing the most Eastern part of North America and Ireland bearing the most Western part of Europe. Ireland’s media and communication history is shaped in part by this location, and Kahrio examines this development from the perspectives of recent fields that will be of interest to our readers: digital infrastructure, media archaeology, and new materialism.
Offering the term “peripheral imagination” as a way to understand communication as it moves across space but as it is also subject to borders and nations, Kahrio argues that a peripheral imagination is a necessary for e-literature creativity in two ways. First, it describes experimenting with previous defined borders of canonical content and practice, and second, it encapsulates “those peripherized, minoritized, and marginalized by social and economic structures of power.” Put another way, Karhio highlights the disruptive power of peripheral imagination to re-write narratives of history, technological progress, and narrative in and of itself as form and concept.
Her essay explores the history of radio-wave stations (starting with telegraph) in relation to e-literature texts that represent global voyages and migration, including María Mencía’s Gateway to the World (2016) and Judy Malloy’s From Ireland with Letters (2015), but especially focusing on J.R. Carpenter’s TRANS.MISSION[A.DIALOGUE] (2011) and Deanne Achong’s Lusca Mourns the Telegraph | In Search of Lost Messages (2015).
In a later section on new materialism, Karhio delves into some of the infrastructural issues at the heart of technological imagination–namely, that technological materials are often invisible or misunderstood by everyday users. Here too, critical art pieces have sought to provide some more transparency, and Kahrio names several e-literature texts and projects as well: Joana Moll’s DEFOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOREST (2016), J.R. Carpenter’s The Gathering Cloud (2016), Shelley Jackson’s Snow (2014 +), and Lisa Robertson’s The Weather (2001).
Call for Papers:
The Digital Review is looking for submissions (short and long) for its Fall issue. Official call and theme will come in late April. Thank you to all who submitted work for issue #1: Digital Essayism. See below for more information!
ebr is in the process of updating the site’s author pages. If you have written an essay or review for the journal and would like for us to update your bio, please send the revised copy (including links) to Will Luers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Associate Editor and Director of Communications, ebr