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<eyebeam><blast> Recombinant Poetics

On 2/11/98, Bill Seaman wrote,

'My research explores computer-mediated, re-embodied "intelligence" in
the context of a new form of poetic construction and navigation that I
call "Recombinant Poetics". . . re-embodied intelligence can be defined
as the translation of media elements and/or processes to become part
ofan operative computer-mediated system.'

I like very much your idea of "re-embodied 'intelligence,' because it
emphasizes the important role that embodied interfaces and technologies
play in determining the nature of the human experience with new media
art and practices.  

In this regard, I have a question for you.  When I read a traditional
print text by someone who writes well (let's say, Vladimir Nabokov's
"Lolita"), I am willing to put the time and effort into noticing and
correlating all the tiny details of description, juxtaposition of
literary elements, etc., because there is a very high probability they
will be in some way significant.  However, when I read a hypertext
fiction (let's say, Shelley Jackson's "Patchwork Girl") I am not quite
willing to put in the same amount of effort, because I expect that many
of the juxtapositions that I as a reader can create will not be
particularly significant, at least in ways that I can find meaningful.
In a "recombinant" art work, what pleasures will reward the reader for
what may be random and low-correlation connections?  (My students ask me
this all this time when I ask them to read electronic literary works.
Moreover, when I can find signficance in the correlations, they are more
suspicious than they are with print texts that I have "cheated" and
either drawn on esoteric knowledge or simply made something up because
it sounds good).  Does randomness have pleasures of its own?  (I admit
to finding many of Cage's poems *conceptually* interesting but for my
tastes, they quickly become boring when I try to read them closely for
any length of time.)

Katherine Hayles
English Department
UCLA  LA 90095-1530

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