Provocation

The past several years have seen an explosive growth of different kinds of outlets for cultural, artistic, and political expressions, all due to the formal and aesthetic possibilities of digital technology. At a time when a site devoted to personal web-log-in (blog) has become so influential as to be transformed into a journal of opinion, in turn compelling enough to be acquired by a major newspaper corporation, traditional ideas of publishing, quality control, censorship, and ownership can hardly apply any longer. This workshop will focus on the relationships between digital technology, creative and scholarly works encompassing literary, sonic, and visual media, and access. The following questions are designed to serve as the elastic frame for participants’ reflections on the topic.

  • Does the notion of digital divide still matter when the vocal contributions to social media belie the size of broadband available in an African country? Does such a divide, if it matters, relate in any way to the standard one between inside and outside, in the orientation of artistic works?
  • How feasible are paper-formatted literary magazines in an age of pervasive digital transmission of artistic, cultural or political value? How do we measure the success of online literary and scholarly publications?
  • What are the connections, if any, between the increasing availability of vast amount of useable information through the character of digital technology, and the tightening of laws governing the circulation of intellectual work in different formats? What are the implications of this?
  • How do we understand blogs, Tweets, and other low-byte forms of writing in relation to long-form, highly conventionalized modes of literary/scholarly composition?
  • Is the question of the ultimate ownership of information available in blogs or on Twitter accounts material, or is the concept of “digital feudalism” overinflated?

 

This paper is circulated by the author under the terms of a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license. For details, see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

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