“Reading, Writing, Resisting: Literary Appropriation in the Readers Project Abstract” presented by Howe and Cayley


Session Title:

  • Digital Narratives & E-Literature

Presentation Title:

  • Reading, Writing, Resisting: Literary Appropriation in the Readers Project Abstract




  • The Readers Project is an aesthetically oriented system of software entities designed to explore the culture of human reading. These entities, or ‘readers,’ navigate texts according to specific reading strategies based upon linguistic feature analysis and real-time probability models harvested from search engines. As such, they function as autonomous text generators, writing machines that become visible within and beyond the typographic dimension of the texts on which they operate. As the structures on which these readers operate are culturally and aesthetically implicated, they shed light on a range of institutional practices and present a critical perspective on what it means to engage with the literary in digital media, and with the linguistic commons as it is aggregated by corporate entities like Google and Facebook. Below we present the theory behind the Readers Project and the practical and aesthetic considerations that have guided its development, using as case studies the most recent set of public installations of the project. We conclude with a consideration of appropriation as a means of resisting the commodification of literary culture in the era of the ‘cloud’.

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