Literature and Digital Form

My work crosses boundaries between literature and emerging media forms. Literary theory and digital studies (at its best) have in common a deep interest in communicating knowledge and in exploring experimental form. Literary studies is attentive to the materiality of texts, the cultural context of words and ideas, and the ways that narrative form influences meaning. Likewise, new media studies is interested in the interplay between form, content, and medium. While in some cases digital media research can grossly simplify complex information and events, it also has a radical potential to present ideas in innovative ways. For example, social and political theory, historically, have been concerned with the radical potential of form for creating meaning and undermining so-called progressive economies. One of these experiments, Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project sought to discover this potential by experimenting with ways that materiality interacts with artistic strategy to create a “flash” of recognition (Thesis V, 255). Though flashes such as these are subjective and perhaps illusive, experimenting with radical literary forms pushes the way I engage with texts–both as a critic and as a producer.

TJM_668-Benjamin_F002-Arcades-cropA Paris arcade: Galerie Vivienne, 1916. Photograph by Charles Lansiaux. (© Charles Lansiaux/DHAAP, Courtesy The Image Works)