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Brian Kim Stefans, “Privileging Language: The Text in Electronic Writing” (2005)

Essay arguing against the perceived tendency in new-media art/literaryworks to reduce language to just an element in a larger, multimedia field:

“The word is not valued in a hierarchy over other media elements…. It doesn’t appear to be of great import to new media writers, especially those involved in interactivity, 3D spaces and multimedia, that they might actually utilize the technology to magnify the impact and specificity of language as we have come to know it through the centuries. Rather, the tendency has been to reduce or evaporate this impact for the sake of something else—experience of language in space or time, for example, or of language as some sort of ambient experience, or, in this case, of language as a participant in a recombinant universe jointly occupied by sounds, images, videos and the user’s interactions…. However, I’d like to argue that one cannot simply say that the word is another element to be treated like a sound or a color if one is to do justice to the notion of language as a very specific ability that humans possess, one that has been shaped by the sediments of conventions and conversations layered over several centuries.” (from section 1 of essay)

Starter Links: Essay in Electronic Book Review, 5 November 2005

  tl, 01.12.06

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