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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

Latin American Electronic Literature and Its Own Ends

Claudia Kozak (Universidad de Buenos Aires / CONICET)

Panel: Global Electronic Literature and Historical Memory
Thursday, August 6 • 09:00 - 10:30 (Sydneshaugen skole: Auditorium B)

Framed by the theme of the 2015 ELO conference, the paper will examine several interwoven kinds of ends concerning Latin American electronic literature. In this case, the theme is particularly appealing when we consider specific aesthetic/political ends frequently pursued in Latin American contexts and when we situate this thought from “the end of the world”. In fact, being at one of the edges of the world, metaphorically and/or literally, drives one to specific aesthetic/political responses that take position in relation to hegemonic global imaginaries of technological modernisation. We could even establish as a hypothesis that in this respect, and because its location in terms of economic underdevelopment, interculturalism and glocalisation, Latin American electronic literature tautens an imaginary string called “technological modernization” whose ends are, on the one side, experimentation as a form of non critic technological fascination and, on the other side, experimentation as a form of posing new meanings of utopian intercultural community, which works within digital culture in order not to fascinate or to be fascinated, but to open imagination to a change – though mediated – of sensitivity and materiality, the latter meaning the material conditions of life of millions of people to whom global technological developments don’t necessarily imply an improvement.

To illustrate this metaphoric and even literal position of the “end of the world”, we can recall that, for instance, the Argentinean city of Ushuaia is the most southern city of the world, and the place chosen for the first three editions of the “Biennial of The End of the World” to take place. This is a nomadic biennial of contemporary arts in the South Cone of America, whose motto says: “To think in the end of the world, that another world is possible”. In the context of the 1st Biennial in 2007, the installation of electronic literature IP Poetry, by Gustavo Romano with programming by Milton Läufer, was exhibited. As IP Poetry has been exhibited in different places around the world –namely Buenos Aires, Beijing, New York, Badajoz or Ushuaia, among others – we will analyse to what extent the work changes due to these different contexts and what aesthectic/political ends it could convey.

This will be the point of departure for a more expanded interrogation on Latin American electronic literature and its own ends, of course not a “secret agenda” but a particular way of grasping the mere idea of producing/reading electronic literature in contexts of third world glocalisation. In that sense, the ultimate aim of the paper will be to present a summarised map of contemporary Latin American electronic literature, based on its aesthetic/political search.

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