The Literature of Exclusion: Dada, Data, and the Threshold of Electronic Literature (Hardcover)
Email or call for price.
In the early twentieth century, the Dadaists protested against art, nationalism, the individual subject, and technologized war. With their automatic anti-art and cultural disruptiveness, Dadaists sought to "signify no thing." Today, data also operates autonomously. However, rather than dismantling tradition, data organizes, selects, combines, quantifies, and simplifies the complexity of actuality. Like Dada, data also signifies nothing. While Dadaists protest with purpose, data proceeds without intention. The individual in the early twentieth century agonizes over the alienation from daily life and the fear of being converted into a cog in a machine. Today, however, the individual in twenty-first-century supermodernity merges, not with large industrial machinery, but with the processual and procedural logic of programming with innocuous ease. Both exclude human agency from self-narration but to differing degrees of abstraction. Examining the work of B.R. Yeager, Samuel Beckett, Jeff Noon, Kenji Siratori, Mike Bonsall, Allison Parrish, and narratives written by artificial intelligence, Wenaus considers the threshold of sensible narration and the effects that the shift from a culture of language to a culture of digital code has on lived experience. While data offers a closed system, Dadaist literature of exclusion, he suggests, promises a future of open, hyper-contingent, unprescribed alternatives for self-narration.
About the Author
Andrew C. Wenaus is assistant professor in the department of English and writing studies at the University of Western Ontario.