In May 2021, ELO 2021 Conference and Festival: Platform [Post?]Pandemic took place online, co-organized by the Digital Aesthetics Research Center (University of Aarhus, Denmark) and the Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group (University of Bergen, Norway) in collaboration with dra.ft (India) and the Electronic Literature Lab (Washington State University Vancouver, USA). With over a year of experience with digital meetings, it was clear that the typical 20-minute conference presentations for a full week would simply be a battle of endurance rather than the generative space similar to the hustle and bustle of in-person conference. Instead, the organization chose a format of 5-minute presentations combined with extended time for engaged discussions. Most presenters also submitted a written papers in advance, all of which were added to the conference documentation on emlcip.net as well as the conference website. This gathering makes up a small selection of these papers, revised from the original submission based on peer review comments and author’s own new insights from their conference session. As such, we hope to allow for a generative process rather than product. The gathering will be published in three subsequent batches that correspond to the three parts of the conference theme: ‘platform’, ‘[post?]’, and ‘pandemic’.
The conference and festival could not escape embodying the theme
Platform [Post?] Pandemic in its design and execution. While teams of organizers could sit in physical rooms together in lucky parts of the world (Bergen, Aarhus), the conference took place entirely on digital platforms, using Zoom as its main livestreaming platform. The recorded sessions were immediately uploaded to video sharing platform Vimeo afterwards, to be inclusive of attendants from all time zones. We also met on the platform
gather.town for the digital exhibition curated by dra.ft, in which attendees could have their avatar walk to different works of Indian electronic literature. Many contributions to the conference discussed electronic literature platforms. In the first batch of papers in this gathering, authors discuss the various platforms of electronic literature, from platforms for creative artificial intelligence (Mitchell) to ecological electronic literature (Carter), from Indian (Roy) to Argentine (Mugica) electronic literature.
Although the conference theme tentatively includes the word
post?, the pandemic still showed great discrepancies in different parts of the world by the time the conference took place. It is an incredible feat that the Indian dra.ft project managed to pull off an exhibition that was launched in the midst of a national health crisis. The conference’s ‘post’, then, went the same way as the ‘post’ in academic jargon, in which it remains contested what it means to be ‘post’ and who is included in that condition. The articles in the ‘[post?]’ batch of this gathering engage with temporality (Bouchardon and Fülöp) and chronology (Goicoechea, Hendrickson, Priya and Sutton) of various types.
Post or not, the pandemic has become and continues to be an integral part of our daily lives, including work and leisure. The pandemic had to be a consideration in every element of ELO 2021, including its platforms for academic presentation, the festival and exhibition works, and the interpretation of the social elements of a conference. The articles in this final batch of the gathering engage with the various ways that the pandemic influencing the production of art (Marques and Gago), coursework design (Spinoza), online habits (Grosser), and one’s attitude towards our scholarly writing (Heckman).
These articles as well as the other conference papers are part of the ongoing conversations about platformization, temporality, and the effects of the pandemic on the emergence of an e-lit field.
Planned Publication Schedule:
Repetition and Defamiliarization in AI Dungeon and Project December by Alex Mitchell – January 2022
Appropriationist practices and subjectivation / desubjectivation processes: some productions of Argentine digital literature in times of algorithmic governance by Fernanda Mugica, translated by … – January 2022
Indian Electronic Writing: Publics, Platforms and Possibilities by Samya Brata Roy – January 2022
Executable Landscapes: Speculative Platforms for Ecological E-Lit by Richard Carter – February 2022
Digital Narrative and Experience of Time by Serge Bouchardon & Erika Fülöp – February 2022
The Art Object in a Post-Digital World by María Goicoechea – February 2022
‘“AN INTERNET BARD AT LAST!!!”: The Precarious Power of Alt-Lit Poet Steve Roggenbuck’ by Leah Henrickson – February 2022
‘Lost water! Remains Scape?’: Transformation Waterscapes in Coimbatore from past to present through digital poetry by Shanmuga Priya and Deborah Sutton – February 2022
On Reading and Being Read in the Pandemic: Software, Interface, and The Endless Doomscroller by Ben Grosser – March 2022
Gastropoetics, text generation, and the body by Davin Heckman – Marchy 2022
Language |H|as a Virus: from figure of thought to experimental laboratory by Diogo Marques and Ana Gago – March 2022
Learning Management Platforms: Notes on Teaching “Taroko Gorge” in a Pandemic by Dani Spinoza – March 2022