Recent developments in digital and electronic media have stimulated new
theoretical reflections on the nature of media as such and ont he way
in which they evolve across time. The aim of this conference is to
examine how recent technological changes have affected the 'old' medium
Multimedial and interactive texts, digitalized archives, cyberpoetics,
and technological innovations such as foldable screens: together these
have influenced the production and reception of literature, along with
the ways in which we think about writing and reading. These onging
developments call for a critical examination both of the relations
between literature and the new media, and of the relations between
literary studies and media studies.
The concept of 'remediation' in ourt title thus has a double thrust.
Firstly, it refers to the transformative exchanges between literature
and the new media: how has digitalization affected literature as a
cultural medium? Secondly, 'remediation' indicates a relocation of
literary studies within the broader field of (new) media studies: how
could literary studies profit from the various analytical tools
developed in (new) media studies and, conversely, how could our
understanding of earlier phases in the evolution of the literary medium
contribute to our understanding of present developments? By working on
both these issues, we hope to relocate the place of literature within
the milieu of modern media networks and technologies, but also to
relocate the aims and practices of literary studies within the field of
A. New technologies and literary practices - the state of the field:
will literature continue to develop as a schizophrenic medium, a hard
medium of printed matter and an unstable medium of electronic data at
the same time, or will it fork out in one of two directions? How is
digitalization affecting reading practices and the circulation of
literary texts? What new forms of intermedial and multimedial
literatures are emerging?
B. Literature and the new media - the longer view: what new light do
recent developments throw on the history of literature as a cultural
medium and, conversely, how might insights from the history of the
literary medium contribute to our understanding of recent developments?
How can literary history be rewritten in conjunction with such media
C. Media compatabilities and competitions: new media hardly ever
completely subject and annihilate older media. Rather, the two tend to
co-exist, each taking on different tasks and responsibilities (cf. film
and the novel in the earlier twentieth century). At the same time,
however, they often interrupt and compete with each other (cf.
television and the digital in the later twentieth century). How can
this duplicity or compatability and competition be mapped and analyzed,
and which are the insights that such analyses might yield into media
formations as techno-cultural formations?
D. Disciplinary reolcations: will literary studies become a branch of
media studies in the foreseeable future - and if so, how? Will literary
studies profit from such a relocation and how will this relocation
affects its objects and methodologies?
"Self-Reflexivity in Net-Art"
Self-reflexivity is widely considered by cognitive scientists a
distinctive feature of the human mind. It is therefore not surprising
that this fundamental thinking process should manifest itself in most
human artistic and intellectual projects. The postmodern fascination
with self-reflexivity can be attributed to the sense of pastness that
permeates turn-of-the millennium culture. But self-reflexivity could
also be a response to the curiosity aroused by the development of a new
medium in search of its cultural function. By filling the World Wide
Web with images and inverted images of its own utilities and by often
making these utilities dysfunctional, Net.art invites us to reflect on
the kind of immersion in digital culture that fools us into thinking
that we fully control the technology that supports it.
"'Seagulls': A 'Script-Image' of Walter Benjamin"
No writer-critic of the 20th century was more attentive to intermedial
questions than was Walter Benjamin. One of the forms this attention
takes is his notion, and practice, of the "Schriftbild". This talk
translates and reads this as a 'Script-Image' (Schriftbild). A
Script-Image is both a written image, and one that "scripts" a
scenario. This presentation will address one particular staging of a
script-image: the short piece entitled "Seagulls" (Möwen), one of five
that Benjamin wrote in the summer of 1930 during a three-week trip to
Scandinavia and then published under the title, "Nordic Sea" (Nordische
See). (An English translation will be made available).
N. Katherine Hayles
"Narrative and Database: Remediating Literature Through Data"
Recently several theorists have proposed that database is replacing
narrative as the dominant cultural form, among them Lev Manovich and Ed
Folsom. This presentation will argue for that narrative is essential
for human communication and culture, but it will also acknowledge that
contemporary narratives are transforming through the impact of data.
Remediation here implies that the feedback cycle described by Bolter
and Grusin in Remediation can also be understood to take place through
different cultural forms as well as through different media, where the
dynamics are informed not by the hypermediation/transparency dialectic
they describe but rather by the circulation through narrative and data.
"Novelization and Intermediality"
This paper tackles first of all the major characteristics of the
novelization, a very popular although badly known example of
intermediality in 20th Century storytelling (not "the film of the
book", but "the book of the film"). Il will give a broad historical
survey of the genre, which is actually as old as cinema itself, so to
speak. In its second part, the paper tries to define what is really at
stake when we study this genre, and why it can be interesting to focus
closely on such a "minor", and often espised, practice. Finally, this
paper presents a short analysis of one or two case studies, among them
the novelization of Jacques Tati's "Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot" by
Jean-Claude Carrière, a famous French screenwriter (his collaboration
with Bunuel is still very famous) and author of various novelizations
since his first attempt in the late fifties until today( cf. Goya's
"Logos bio-ethikos: What If Foucault Had Had a Blog?"
This paper focuses on one particular domain of contemporary media
culture which blurs the boundary between the literary
and the literal:blogging. Arguing that blogs aim at creating an
experience of ‘total life’ by building intricate systems of connections
between online and offline spaces, personae and narratives, I will
explore the extent to which practices facilitated by blogging can be
interpreted in terms of bioethics. However, bioethics for me is not
limited to the study of ethical issues arising from the biological and
medical sciences. Rather it becomes a broadly conceptualised ‘ethics of
life’, which requires judgement on what we understand by ‘life’ in its
different forms, and on what ‘our’ position as those who deem
themselves to be ‘human’ is in this bioethics. Interestingly, Foucault
associates the practice of self-writing precisely with an ethos of
life. The keeping of individual notebooks focused on the recollection
of the past is for him ‘a matter of constituting a logos bioethikos for
oneself … , an ethics quite explicitly oriented by concern for the self
toward objectives defined as: withdrawing into oneself, getting in
touch with oneself, relying on oneself, benefiting from and enjoying
oneself’. This phrase ‘logos bioethikos’ provides a key for my ereading
of bioethics as a practice of good life, always on the way to
becoming-a-good-life. But I suggest Foucault has in mind something much
more material and direct than just a story about one’s life and about
how it should be lived: this practice of self-writing is actually said
to produce ‘a body’. Drawing on Seneca, Foucault claims that ‘writing
transforms the thing seen or heard into tissue and blood’. From this
perspective diaries and blogs are not just commentaries on someone’s
life, already lived to this point but also somehow more ‘real’ outside
its narrative; rather they are materialisations of it, as I will argue
in this paper. In doing so I will show that in blogging this
materialisation occurs very much through an enactment of a different,
more embodied, aware, and ‘lively’ relationship with technology.