The reading I want to interact with this week is “Material Metaphors, Techno-texts, and Media-Specific Analysis” by Katherine Hayles.
As opposed to breaking down her argument, I’d like to instead discuss something that her piece really made me think about: “Whereas art history has long been attentive to the material production of the art object, literary studies has generally been content to treat fictional and narrative worlds as if they were entirely products of the imagination.” This touches on an important theme (THE important theme?) of our course – materiality, and how context changes content. Why is it that we feel literature isn’t affected by the medium it is written in? And why don’t we intentionally change mediums to try and achieve different things? Maybe it’s because only until recently, writing didn’t actually have very many different options, where as digital technologies have opened so many different opportunities. Who knows! (Hopefully someone later on in our readings!) Tides are turning (🌊🌊🌊) and new digital methods are being embraced, but then (at least for me) the question becomes: what can we do with the digital medium that can’t be done with the printed medium? Hayles gives us a bunch of answers – textimages, hypertexts – and I wonder how much we’ll see them used and if they’ll feel gimmicky or clever. “Print literature was widely regarded as not having a body, only a speaking mind,” says Hayles, which is fascinating because it emphasizes the lack of attention given to the way physicality affects the literature we consume.
Greg’s Corner: My partner visited from England last week and really enjoyed our class – he’s following our course from home (through our website and me telling him what’s going on)! He found this link for something that connects directly to what we talked about in class, relating to the difficulties of cooling Silicon Valley’s server farms, and I thought I would share it with everyone! Click here to read the article about Facebook’s new servers in Sweden!
– Ariel Bissett