Given the longstanding but limited readership for North American, Euro and Scandinavian e-lit, will Latin America succeed in carrying its experimental and avant-garde approaches to a general e-lit audience? Claudia Kozak's expanded keynote for the 2018 ELO conference in Montreal, titled "Mind the Gap!", explores some first forays in this direction: practices that might hearken back to Puig and Borges in print; Omar Goncedo, Eduardo Darino, Erthos Albino de Souza and Jesús Arellano in the era of mainframes; and (not least) fan fiction over pretty much the entire span of literary writing.
Image: Omar Gancedo, IBM (1966).
At a Heightened Level of Intensity: A Discussion of the Philosophy and Politics of Language in John Cayley’s Digital Poeticsby Scott Rettberg, John Cayley
A conversation at a heightened level of intensity, ranging from the aleatory tradition of Emmett Williams, Jackson Mac Low, and John Cage, through post-Poundian poetry and its Chinese influences, kinetic poetry or programmable media where the poem itself is performing, not just the poet. Attention is also given to the Internet as these two literary artists knew it for a very brief moment, before Google and Facebook, circa 2004, "figured out that everybody needed an account."
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 .
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.
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.
Smaller than anything the human eye can see, yet not so small as the elementary waves and dark matter known to modern science: the particle is an appropriate figure for our present, intermedial ¨shuttling between entities at different scales.¨
A slightly different version of this work originally appeared as part of a longer article, "The Architectural History of Disappearance: Rebuilding Memory Sites in the Southern Cone," in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. I am grateful to the University of California Press for permission to reproduce portions of that work here.
With Gaia theorist Lynn Margulis and posthumanist Bruce Clarke, Diana Leong argues against the fetishizing of genes and seeks an alternative to the modern synthesis of Darwinian natural selection and Mendelian inheritance. These amodern, posthumanist approaches instead offer a gradual accumulation and transmission of mutations, and a coevolutionary embeddedness within diverse environments and the socio-political structures responsible for them.
Parallel and Soft Representations of Climate Change: A Review of Astrid Bracke’s Climate Crisis and the 21st Century British Novelby Elizabeth Callaway
Elizabeth Callaway reviews Astrid Bracke's Climate Crisis and the 21st Century British Novel, which she uses as a jumping off point to explore the possibilities of a "soft" representation of climate in realist literary fiction, in particular Zadie Smith's NW.
This review of Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press: Selected Writings by Dick Higgins, co-edited by Steve Clay and Ken Friedman, is itself a collaboration between Virginia Kuhn and Betsy Sullivan. Both approaches, to the review and the book here under consideration, capture the importance of community in creating and sustaining the art of Intermedia, Fluxus, and the Something Else Press.
Bouchardon and Petit defend the concept of digital writing and the teaching thereof. We can accept that digital writing exists, with its specific properties and tensions, but can it be taught? Specifically, the pedagogical dimension of what is known as "digital" writing, the authors argue, would do well to follow a study on the relationship between writing and computer science that was sponsored by the Picardy region : PRECIP, PRatiques d'ÉCriture Interactive en Picardie (interactive writing practices in Picardy).
Exploring the interaction of poetics and language with the discourse of the Anthropocene (through etymologies of various ecological ages, or notions of the “survival of the fittest” and embodiment), Retallack combines poetry and prose to occasionally suspend the essay genre into a reflective and creative endeavour, attempting to encompass the larger cultural efforts of “poets, scientists, philosophers, visual and performance artists, composers of every kind [who are] working on an interconnected project” of ecopoetics.
This reprinted essay, first published in Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne's edited collection Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field (Iowa UP, 2018), addresses the major themes of – and suggests the possibility of a vital conversation between – two forthcoming ebr gatherings: 'Essayism', edited by Jason Childs and Joseph Tabbi, and 'Natural Media', edited by Lisa Swanstrom and Eric Dean Rasmussen.
Image: Ship of Fools in Flames, c. 1450; possibly Jheronimus Bosch.
Clarke opens with a biographical account of his own early encounters with the Gaia concept - and a skepticism he shared with the evolutionary thinker Lynn Margulis, Gaia's second author after the British scientist James Lovelock. Neither an organism nor a single cell, and not really an organic or vitalistic entity, Gaia is better understood, according to Margulis, as "an emergent property of interaction among organisms, the spherical planet on which they reside, and an energy source, the sun." The move away from metaphors and New Age vitalisms tethers Gaia theory more tightly to the sciences. Margulis’s work brings Gaia in line with the autopoietic systems theory of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela introduced in the 1970s.
This essay is drawn from a preliminary version of several sections from Clarke’s forthcoming book presently entitled Partial Earth: Lynn Margulis, Systems Theory, and the Evolution of Gaia (Fall 2020) and appears here by permission of the University of Minnesota Press.
A book-review meditation-musing by David (Jhave) Johnston on a multimodal science fiction by Johanna Drucker. The story is told from the point of view of a distributed organism, Archaea that was discovered in the 1970s. "Structurally similar to bacteria but chemically-distinct," this entity suggests what a born-digital literature for the posthuman era might look like: "an epoch when human-level consciousness drifts down into animals, insects, fish" and many other others.