What Mario Aquilina and Ivan Callus accomplished in their "13 Ways of Looking at Electronic Literature", Lisa Swanstrom does for Ecocriticism. Taking as her starting point, Cary Wolfe's book on Wallace Stevens, Swanstrom explores each and every one of Stevens's "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." What emerges, alongside Wolfe's ecocriticism is a resurgence, in literary studies, of the art of close reading.
In this article, Kelsey Cameron and Jessica FitzPatrick propose attunement, a conceptual intervention that returns lived experience to critical making. They argue for attunement in three areas: disciplinary recognition of making, labs and other university maker spaces, and campus-community engagement. Attunement helps bring equity into critical making, highlighting how larger systems shape individual acts of making.
Roderick Coover and Scott Rettberg reflect on the cultural values, political debates, power structures and architectures of exploitation underlying much of contemporary digital culture. As digital artists and collaborators, they also identify aesthetic reactions that actually combat what they critique. But for this to happen, we need literary works that are themselves produced, and actively circulating within digital environments.
A portion of the essay, focused on the ToxI*City project, is adapted from an earlier discussion published in ebr: Voices from Troubled Shores: Toxi•City: a Climate Change Narrative
By now, Cultural Ecology, Ecocriticism, and Environmental Humanities can tell us all we need to know about climate change. What's still needed, however, is for authors and artists to reconceptualize environmental issues as social and human questions rather than mere technical ones.
Fostering a sense of connection or engagement towards the more–than–human world, or what David Abram has termed the “sensual world,” has the potential to allow humans greater understanding of our ecological place in inter–species communities. Digital artist Alinta Krauth enacts this understading with Diffraction, a mobile digital writing artwork that encourages users to experience a heightened sense of more–than–human relationality while outdoors. Krauth's practice–led research advances her argument "by using locative media, and emplaced play, as positive forces for considering our relationships with wild nonhuman Others."
Following the work of Jennifer Gabrys (in Program Earth), Carter contends that electronic literature has the potential to function as a mode of experimental sense-making. By exploring works by Tina Escaja, Mark Sample, and J. R. Carpenter, Carter reveals the limits and potentials of our data-driven epistemes - to expose that which goes unseen, and highlight its significance for how we come to know and respond to the challenges ahead.
Citing Catherine Gallagher on `fictionality’ as the `ontological ground of the novel,’ LeMenager seeks a similar `alternative grounding’ for progressive, transgenerational social change in a time of epistemic and ecological crisis. The essay is one of many selected for co-production in ebr and our two collections from Bloomsbury Academic, Post-Digital: Critical Debates from electronic book review .
This collection emerges from a panel hosted by the Modern Language Association's MS Forum on Visual Media (http://naturalmedia.org/titles/) in 2017. "Natural media" re-valuates the communicative potential of natural spaces, especially in instances where symbolic import collides with raw matter in a manner that hides from, disguises, or elides stark reality. It considers intersections, collisions, tensions, opportunities, and affordances that arise in the discussion of "Natural Media," both broadly conceived and in its contributors' particular areas of research. It is also in close conversation with research inspired by a previous gathering on a closely related topic: Digital and Natural Ecologies.
Can we again devise bots, in the tradition of Nigel Leck's AI_AGW, capable of staving off environmental disaster and saving humanity from its own stupidity? Twitter has censored this particular bot that Leck created ¨with the singular mission of hunting down false claims made by climate change deniers, calling them out, and correcting them with information linked from peer-reviewed essays in scientific research journals.¨ With this interview, ebr and our Natural Media co-editors celebrate and memorialize this noble, though brief realization of the critical and creative potential of community built digital media.
Toward a more expansive standard of botanical, graphical, ecosystemic and (not least) digital realism.