Tuesday, October 27, 2015

If the Future Is Digital, Why Print a Book?

Last week I attended the international symposium "Reading Wide, Writing Wide in the Digital Age: Perspectives on Transliteratures" organized by the LEETHI group from the Complutense University of Madrid. It was a fantastic event where I had the opportunity to listen to very interesting work engaging electronic literature from very different perspectives, such as Vilashini Cooppan's reading of e-lit as world literature, or Germán Sierra's selection of digital objects that show how digital technologies have reshaped our conceptualization of reality [Here is a link to the complete program].

In my talk, "If the Future Is Digital, Why Print a Book?" I looked at how, while e-lit is a global phenomenon, in Spain it takes on additional importance as it allows writers to bypass the hierarchies that characterize Spanish cultural institutions. These institutions have been heavily supported by the State, and along with it have suffered a loss of legitimacy that is a consequence of 21st century financial crises. My talk explored several manifestations of computational writing practices emerging at the intersection of digital media technologies, electronic literature and traditional print. As I proposed, the digital-inspired work done by Jordi Carrión, Vicente Mora or Javier Fernández could, at a first glance, be framed as a rejection to the contemporary cultural canon, participating within some free culture movement ideas that manifest as digital remix or mashed-up creative practices. However, their paradoxical return-to-the-book, creating what I call “printed technotexts” (i.e. paper e-lit) highlights both the desire to escape the institutionalized canon, but also the necessity of being recognized by it and its “bookish” forms of authorship and power. In opposition to these, I proposed we look at born-digital works (e.g. Doménico Chiappe's Hotel Minotauro) that have remained electronic and are accessed online. I wonder if these type of texts should be read as a form of liberation from the Author as creative agent, the book as platform, the current literary canon, and the Spanish publishing industry altogether. It seems, although I am still scared to affirm, that only born-digital literature will finally escape Spain's literary paradigm (beyond the market) that has been in force for the past four decades. 

Here are the slides for the talk (in Spanish)


And the works cited: 

Becerra Mayor, David. La novela de la no-ideología: Introducción a la producción literaria del capitalismo avanzado en España. Madrid: Tierradenadie Ediciones, 2013. 

Bunz, Mercedes. The Silent Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Castells, Manuel. Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet age. Cambridge: Polity, 2012.

Carrión, Jordi. Crónica de viaje. Córdoba: Aristas Martínez, 2014.

Chiappe, Doménico. Hotel Minotauro. 2013. Web. 16 Jul.2015.

Cramer, Florian. Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts. Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2013.

Drucker, Johanna. The Century of Artists’ Books. New York: Granary Books, 1994.

Emerson, Lori. Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Ernst, Wolfgang. Digital Memory and the Archive. Minneápolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013

Hayles, N. Katherine. “Electronic Literature: What is it?” Electronic Literature Organization. 1.2 (2007): n.p. Web 15 Nov. 2013.
________Writing Machines. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.

Fernández, Javier. Cero absoluto. Córdoba: Berenice, 2005

Martínez, Guillem. “El concepto CT,”
CT o la cultura de la transición: Crítica a 35 años de cultura española. Ed. Guillem Martínez. Barcelona: Penguin Random House Mondadori, 2012.

Minchinela, Raúl. “La CT y la cultura digital: cómo dar la espalda a internet,” CT o la cultura de la transición: Crítica a 35 años de cultura española. Ed. Guillem Martínez. Barcelona: Penguin Random House Mondadori, 2012.

Mora, Vicente Luis. Alba Cromm. Barcelona: Seix Barral, 2010.

Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel. La literatura en la construcción de la ciudad democrática. Barcelona: Grijalbo-Mondadori, 1998.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Teaching E-Lit and DH: Plataformas de la imaginación

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity of participating in the international symposium, Máquinas de inminencia, organized by UNAM’s lleom in Mexico City. This series of talks was part of their larger electronic literature project, Plataformas de la imaginación: Escenarios de la literatura electrónica (and, shameless plug here: also part of the even larger series of exhibits we are coordinating with Berkeley and Barcelona's Hermeneia group)

Although I generally tend to favor speaking about my academic research, this time I decided to focus on a teaching project I have been working on for a while now related to the teaching of (Spanish) electronic literature in the US and its relationship to the fields of Digital Humanities and Spanish studies, as well as the University as a whole. What I propose in this talk (among many other things) is to perhaps start thinking electronic literature as a foreign literature, and as such, host it in foreign language departments within the University. These are important topics touching several aspects of the academic institution: curricular planning but also the administration and the social realm. I have been wondering lately if these teaching and administrative fields are not as important (perhaps even more important) than the type of research projects we tend to favor as professors in Research 1 universities.

Here are the slides I presented (in Spanish)—and hopefully there will be a video of the talk soon as well. I’m working on a translation of the talk, and I hope to share it (or publish it) in the future.

[Y ahora en español]

La semana pasada tuve la maravillosa oportunidad de participar en el simposio internacional, Máquinas de inminencia, organizado por el Laboratorio de literaturas extendidas y otras materialidades de la UNAM, como parte de las actividades que componen su proyecto Plataformas para la imaginación: Escenarios de la literatura electrónica (parte del proyecto aún más amplio sobre exposiciones de literatura electrónica que incluye nuestra muestra en Berkeley y la próxima a cargo del grupo Hermeneia en Barcelona)

Aunque no suelo hacer este tipo de intervenciones (prefiriendo presentar otro tipo de ideas relacionadas con mi investigación académica y no con la pedagogía), decidí presentar un ensayo sobre un proyecto docente en el que ando involucrada ahora mismo. Lo que digo en la charla (en especial aquello de pensar la literatura electrónica como una literatura extranjera, y ubicarla entonces en los departamentos de idiomas) me parece importante tanto a nivel curricular como administrativo y social. A veces me pregunto si esto no serán cosas tan o más importantes que la otra labor académica a la que nos dedicamos los profesores.

Ahí arriba os dejo las diapositivas de la charla; con suerte pronto habrá un vídeo para compartir también.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Spring 16 Courses

UC Berkeley students, beware! This Spring 16 I will be teaching two new courses:

1. A groundbreaking upper-division undergraduate course on e-lit that epitomizes digital humanities – literary analysis alongside basic programming skills and DH tools and methods
[Find out more about this e-lit undergraduate course here]

2. An exciting graduate seminar on the culture of the Spanish transition to democracy

[Más información aquí]