This is Not Writing- But is it Literature?

A few months ago I had the pleasure of giving a demonstration of Brown’s CAVE-VR environment to Arielle Stambler, a student from Yale. She’s written a really lovely article on her personal discovery of electronic literature and makes a couple of interesting points, one of which is that electronic literature- screen-based as it is- is materially an experience of light. The piece also does a very good job of illustrating the CAVE- the way it functions, the works read within it- which is not terribly easy to do.

Pulling some quotes:

“There are problems with the accessibility of e-literature as well. Since the field is still a niche one, efforts have not been made on a grand scale to preserve older works of e-literature that were created using now-obsolete software. Berens says that ELO’s preservation strategy is to videotape sessions where people are interacting with a work of e-literature so that the various performances (“traversals”) of that work can be archived. At the moment, there is no conceivable way for ELO to provide people with access to every piece of e-lit that was created using outdated technology. A work’s lifespan is as long as that of the computing software it runs on, and software lifespans decrease by the year.”

“My generation is a liminal one, Berens says. As millennials, we are both immersed in the print world that academia still promotes and drawn into the cyberspace world of our peers. We could swing either way, cowering inside a fort of print books or embracing the sounds, swipes, and Flash of electronic literature. We are the ones who will decide how to manage the limitless possibilities of the medium.”

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One thought on “This is Not Writing- But is it Literature?

  1. This is a good article, Kathleen. Is there any chance you could bring our class to the CAVE? I know there would be a big size challenge.

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