Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The New Me

After 5 months of thinking about it I have re-explained myself in regards to my thesis. Here is the story from my university website:

My thesis is being developed under the title Cultures of Reception in Digital Literature: The Implied Respondent In(ter) Action. My project is a comparison between the characteristics of digital works in terms of the figure of the implied respondent within the text and the rules which frame the text in various types of preface. My research in digital textuality centers around three fields, that of the spatial, the author/writer/reader, and the interactive. This is intended to achieve:

1. A better understanding of how digital works are 'read' or interpreted as literature

2. The tensions and inconsistencies between the possibilities of the story and the rules made in the prefaces.

3. To discuss the remixed form in digital contexts as a literary reality.
Hybridity in the Bakhtinian sense of heteroglossia (many voices) is a central concept to my understanding of how such digital texts as represented by my corpus function. This corpus is composed of six digital works:

Ftrain by Paul Ford (
Egypt: The Book of Going Forth by Day by M. D. Coverley (
Alleph by Sakab Bashir (
Dreamaphage by Jason Nelson
Last Meal Requested by Sachiko Hayashi (
Façade by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern (

My research looks at the corpus texts from the perspectives of:

* Defining a digital text in terms of reception

* The 'implied respondent' (developed out of the ideas of Wolfgang Iser combined with the dialogism of M. M. Bakhtin) as an active participant in the interpretation and formation of the digital text.

* The laws of the digital text as embodied in such preface forms as the End User Licence Agreement (EULA), the FAQ, and the Help sections, which attempt to define possible receptions. This is performed through addressing a particular responsive image of the interpretant throughout the text; the implied respondent.

* A comparison between the implied respondent of the preface/s and of the figure located in the story/ies. This combines the material properties of the texts with the content such as addressivity, spatial navigation, visual rhetoric and the politics of access to the text.

* Remix as being a serious form of literary creation. Remix in digital texts is conducted along numerous interlocking spheres. I look at the remixing

- Genres
- Media channels in the multimodal text
- Reception (e.g. using the text as a musical instrument)
- Other texts in assemblage

* The remixing of language in dissident and creative ways.

The first two years of my PhD research (2004-06) were funded by a scholarship from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Fund. I was appointed to the staff of the Department of Modern Languages at Umeå University in June 2006 as a doctoral candidate. Much of my work is conducted in HUMlab, an interdisciplinary humanist-lead digital laboratory and studio, where I began working as a Masters student in the northern spring term of 2003.

No comments: