2017, May 31: PANEL at ACCUTE 2017: "Trans forming the Machine: Feminist Digital Poetics"

Lai-Tze Fan edited this page Oct 12, 2017 · 1 revision

Co-chaired by Drs. Dani Spinosa and Kate Siklosi (York University)


Lai-Tze Fan -- "The Politics and Poetics of Materiality in Women’s Digital Writing"


Julia Polyck-O'Neill -- "Feminist Digital Media Poetics and Non-Dualistic Thought: Conceptualism, Electronic Literature, and Language as Affective Object"

  • shows Adrian Piper's MERGE: adrianpiper.com

  • 1988 Adrian Piper wrote essay that considered the ways we can think about representing abstract concepts in e-lit language

  • e-lit as a category and genre of digital media vs. language as a non-specific medium

  • feminist experimental modes promote non-dualistic thought

  • compares Piper in art sphere vs. e-lit work of Liechman (sp?)

  • e-lit as a category as contentious

    • contestation about subfield and chronology, though the field is generally inclusive
    • Hayles thinks of it as work that is digital-born, usually meant to be read on a com
  • post-digital poetics defined by DIY media

  • maintaining categorical openness allows for greater interdisciplinary approach

    • allows for questioning of what literature is and does
  • Eve Sedgwick: opening up of categories for related reasons

    • there are things that transcend structured and structural categories
    • how about accounting for means of lived experience, as through affect?
  • Sedgwick proposes non-dualistic thought (Butlerian, Derridean), as experience/thought and agency/affect are combined through modes of embodiment

    • texture in particular allows for human embodied experience
    • asking new questions about phenomenology and affect
  • how do Sedgwick's notes apply to subtextual and linguistic meaning?

  • examines MERGE: proto-literary form with unique affective textures that shape engagement


Kaitlin Tremblay -- "I Am Okay: Feminist Poetics of Self-Dismemberment in Video Games and Mental Health Activism"

  • game development helps her address her vulnerability

    • vulnerability as empowering and emboldening her
  • used to think about "monstrous feminine" in work in horror, feminism, and mental illness

  • has lost her academic language, but hasn't lost her way to talk through the theories

  • focuses on creating spaces for feminists in game development

  • video games suck with feminism and mental health

    • video games don't know how to talk about mental health
    • but mental health activism--esp re: eating disorders--tends to erase women's lived experiences and are more interested in how their bodies present
  • focus not on what eating orders look like, but how they feel, what it's like to experience

    • too hung up on bodies
    • for her, only possible through talking about horror
  • there's a huge female audience for horror. We are familiar with it, "we know fear intimately"

    • even the fear of being a transwomen going to the bathroom
    • the peril of being disbelieved
  • horror could be mobilized as the most feminist genre

    • to disbelieve women can result in a lot of bloodshed
    • in Scream, if you just listened to women, you wouldn't die
  • deliberate ugliness of her game, Stop me if you've Heard this One Before

  • Twine feels feminist bc it's about accessibility and inclusivity through accessibility

  • used by Others to tell the stories that are not shown in video games

  • article: "Twine: The Video Game Platform for All"

  • Twine in liminal stage where it's perceived of as not enough: not real video games, not real literature

    • but that doesn't matter bc it still changes the space, offering space
  • dismemberment of bodies and her own body, rebuilding through vulnerability

  • no other choice: be vulnerable and heal, or be silent and never heal

  • "We cannot survive if we are alone, and we are alone if we are silenced."


Q & A

  • Claire: tradition of female avant-gardists vs. attention of male a-gs

      1. women's poetry that's not visible in academy, how do we situate that tradition
      1. materiality through digital space; sense of working through mat and alternative publishing ventures (handmade book and zines); move to e-lit as question of materiality or accessibility
      • finding alternatives
  • Ryan for Julia: tension in text and texture

    • what about De Landa's reading of Deleuze on expression (like coding but also genetics)
    • are text and texture one to one?
  • A: all texts about how visual doesn't translate to text

    • what else is happening other than engaging with the text, what is our body doing, how is there a form of thinking that isn't accounted for in literary criticism?
  • Q for Kaitlin: practice is still theoretically informed; what major thinkers are informing your work, what informs your practice

  • A: thinking about the disgusting as inspiration when looking at theory (like Bakhtin on Rabelais), and now it's community and other people

  • Q: Dani: underneath all papers is not one woman but a lot of women, collaboratively working together

    • what is it about that collaboration that is feminist and does feminist things?
  • Kaitlin: myth of the one girl but there was a community of other girls teaching them, their mother

    • how you disempower is to stay together
    • working together is necessarily political

Note to self: SEE:

  • Jennifer Chan in Toronto (before: Chicago)
  • Western Front's first digital art residency
  • explores masculine narrative of geocities era
  • feminist approach towards paper giving and paper receiving
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