Anke intro, e-lit, plus def of Digital Humanities I actually find helpful

January 24, 2012

Well, hello, Roger (and world). This is Anke, the media studies part of digital culture and media studies. I do all things interarts and intermedia (mix in a bit of Flusser), after wrestling for some years with that modernist beast “Gesamtkunstwerk”. Happy to move from dynamiting the old notion of unified arts (see intro in Johns Hopkins volume) to igniting discussions in the blogosphere. Total network theory anyone?

Ok, but I am supposed to report on the e-lit presence at the 2012 MLA. Heck, does anyone remember a 1991 Mac? Flying toasters and all?  Not only did this exhibition mark the first-ever presence of e-literature at the MLA (question: why was it not housed with all the analog material in the exhibition hall?), but it also proved an unexpected guide into the history of the genre. Hence the Mac box. With black and white screen. Without hyperlinks. Was it Jackson’s Patchwork Girl in its pre-21st-century form (dare I say original…) on display? Given today’s easy access to e-literature compilations, I appreciated the exposure to 90s products and codifications (code poetry!) of literature in the digital realm on a – yes – haptic level. A short conversation with Dene Grigar, one of the curators, revealed that several years ago she would have been laughed out of the convention, posing as an e-lit scholar. Figure that… So, waiting for the first-ever collaboration between the ELO and the MLA.

On to DigHum (Roger, not sure about quick-hit posts here). Many who begin to find the area of Digital Humanities of interest (believe you me, many do not), wonder what it is.  Alas, here’s the pithiest definition I’ve come across so far, thanks to Victoria Szabo: “Application of digital tools and methods to objects (analog and digital) of humanist study (media objects, buildings, people…).” There you have it. And no, no one wants to bomb or dynamite the humanities.


One comment

  1. I think I’m ready to endorse Szabo’s definition fully; I hope it catches on!

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