A Performance of Reality. Handwriting and Paper in Digital Literature

Yra van Dijk

Abstract


Digital literature emphasizes its own medium, and it brings to the foreground the graphic, material aspects of language. Experiments with the new medium and with the form of language are generally presented and interpreted within a framework of the historical avant-garde or the neo-avant-garde. This article aims to take a new perspective on the emerging digital materiality of language. The analysis of three works that remediate paper, the voice, the writing hand, or the physical presence of the author, leads to the conclusion that an ‘absent presence’ is given prominence. This paradoxical merging of presence and absence makes these forms of digital literature an expression of a specifically late postmodernist ambivalent stance regarding representation of the ‘real’. Complicity with the media culture goes hand in hand with an ironic approach of the mediatedness of the world and the body.

Keywords


Materiality; Handwriting; Digital Literature; Media Culture; The Body; Presence; Complicity

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