Panel: Zones of Contact and Fields of Consistency in Electronic Literature
This paper examines the way literary practice in digital media illuminates traditional literary processes that otherwise remain unremarked, and conversely, what the literary concept of ‘address’ might contribute to an understanding of the way digital media are reinventing literary agency. It explores handwriting as an embodied praxis linking thought with corporeality through the medium of gesture, and its transformations in text-based new media art. Handwriting (and especially signatures) has long been thought to make personality traits manifest. Its expressive gestural and kinematic aspect can be illuminated by Werner’s theory of physiognomic perception in which two-dimensional diagrams are shown as consistently corresponding to and eliciting a small number of categorical affects (happy, sad, angry) in viewers. Diane Gromala’s ‘Biomorphic Typography’ (2000 onwards) in which the user’s keystrokes generate biofeedback input which combines with the behaviours assigned to typography to animate text in the present time of writing draws on these conventions and complicates them in the process. By contrast, John Geraci’s locative media project ‘Grafedia’ (2004-2005), in which, as he says, ‘walls are made into websites’ handwriting signals the public discourse of graffiti with all its connotations of haste and illegality. In this work, users can write by hand on any of the various physical surfaces of the world and link this graffiti to rich media content that can be accessed by others as they come across the texts, appropriates the live dimension of handwriting as graffiti into the memorialising and communicative functions of a larger textual work that might also be collaboratively elaborated over time. The handwritten graffiti (in blue and underscored) mimics the default HTML hyperlink, which makes it visible as a piece of Grafedia, also signals the complex reciprocity between handwriting and print in new media work.
- Dr. Anna Gibbs supervises postgraduate students in the School of Communication Arts and the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. She is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded project with Maria Angel and Joseph Tabbi, which aims to construct an annotated Directory of Australian New Media Writers and Writing. With Maria Angel, she is working on a book about corporeality in writing for digital media. Her previous work has focused on affect theory and mimesis across the fields of textual, media and cultural studies, and, as an experimental writer, she has also published a number of cut up works, collaborated with visual artists on interactive installations, and has contributed to theorizing the practice of fictocriticism. westernsydney.academia.edu/AnnaGibbs
- Maria Angel is currently conducting research into writing and affect, and bio-evolutionary theories of human communication. She has an ongoing interest in specularity, obscenity, and corporeality. Maria’s recent work has been a critique of posthuman theories of subjectivity and representation, and an analysis of the human face as a visual interface. Her work has been published in Textual Practice, Canadian Journal of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, among other places.