At the Time of Writ­ing: Dig­i­tal Media, Ges­ture and Hand­writ­ing

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Zones of Contact and Fields of Consistency in Electronic Literature

Presentation Title:

  • At the Time of Writ­ing: Dig­i­tal Media, Ges­ture and Hand­writ­ing

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • 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.

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