[ISEA2011] Panel: Anna Gibbs & Maria Angel – At the Time of Writ­ing: dig­i­tal media, ges­ture and hand­writ­ing

Panel Statement

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.