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Intermediation: The Pursuit of a Vision

From: New Literary History
Volume 38, Number 1, Winter 2007
pp. 99-125 | 10.1353/nlh.2007.0021

Abstract

Twenty-first century literature is computational, from electronic works to print books created as digital files and printed by digital presses. To create an appropriate theoretical framework, the concept of intermediation is proposed, in which recursive feedback loops join human and digital cognizers to create emergent complexity. To illustrate, Michael Joyce's afternoon is compared and contrasted with his later Web work, Twelve Blue. Whereas afternoon has an aesthetic and interface that recall print practices, Twelve Blue takes its inspiration from the fluid exchanges of the Web. Twelve Blue instantiates intermediation by creating coherence not through linear sequences but by recursively cycling between associated images. Intermediation is further explored through Maria Mencia's digital art work and Judd Morrissey's The Jew's Daughter and its successor piece, The Error Engine, by Morrissey, Lori Talley, and Lutz Hamel.