Literary writing is thought in forms. Poems, sonnets, lyric verse, drama, essays, novels-- all are conceived according to various assumptions and each instantiation of an aesthetic work is, whether explicitly or implicitly, an argument for or about its form. In the digital environment, as intellectual work migrates across platforms and media, one approach to making content easy to transfer has been to create platform agnostic "logical structures" that are independent of these allegiances to traditional forms. The question posed in this talk is whether fundamental conceptions of writing as a literary practice are changing in the process. How are the relations between form and format able to be articulated productively while attending to the historical lineage within which aesthetic works, in particular, are created and understood?
This talk will be preceded by a reception starting at 5:30.
Johanna Drucker is the inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She has published and lectured widely on topics related to digital humanities and aesthetics, visual forms of knowledge production, book history and future designs, graphic design, historiography of the alphabet and writing, and contemporary art. She has held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Dallas, Columbia University, Yale University, and the University of Virginia, as well as visiting positions at Harvard University, and SUNY Purchase. Her most recent titles include the jointly authored Digital_Humanities (MIT, 2012) with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp (just released in Italian translation, 2014); Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide (Pearson Prentice Hall) with Emily McVarish, and SpecLab: Projects in Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing (Chicago, 2009). A collection of her essays, What Is? was published by Cuneiform Press in 2013 and Graphesis:Visual Forms of Knowledge Production appeared in 2014 as one of the three first volumes in the new series that Harvard University Press launched in their new MetaLab series on the impact of digital humanities and design. In addition to her academic work, Drucker has produced artist’s books and projects that are the subject of a retrospective, Druckworks: 40 years of books and projects, that began at Columbia College in Chicago and has been travelling. Her artist’s books are represented in museum and library collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2014 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.