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Workshop | Doing Things with Code - Electronic Literature and Critical Making

Jun 24, 2021 - Jun 25, 2021

Organised by Anna Sophie Luhn, Nina Tolksdorf, and Paul Wolff, Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies".

The workshop will be held online via Cisco Webex Meetings. In order to join the meeting, please register with Luise von Berenberg-Gossler (l.von.berenberg-gossler@fu-berlin.de).

»Making things is one of the most effective ways of learning how to think critically«. This statement by Allison Parrish, fellow at the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities, underpins one of her classes on writing electronic text. Bridging the gap between critical thinking and physical making, critical making has shaped both academic discourses and artistic practices over the past decade. The workshop Doing Things with Code will explore this trend in the field of electronic literature.

Critical Making has gained an increased significance in the age of internet platforms, ›user-friendly‹ interfaces, and large-scale data processing. Popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have produced a large number of users, but not necessarily independent makers. Users are simultaneously treated as suppliers of data and as customers who are supposed to work with the platform only in accordance with its affordances and restrictions. Tinkering with code, by contrast, can function as a strategy of engaging with the materiality of the digital and its underlying algorithms. Examples can be found in custom-made DIY-interfaces, but also in subversions of pre-existing interfaces, techniques, and spaces that were originally meant to be used only in very specific and (provider-)intended ways. Artistic Twitter bots are but one example of such subversive performances.

The workshop will open the discussion with the following questions: How do literature and code function as critical tools? How does electronic text intervene in its own mediality and publication contexts? What are the processes of translation that occur between different (programming) languages? How does literary criticism change when it blends with the production of literature? Contributions to the workshop include theoretical reflections, case studies, and presentations of own works. By bringing together critical thinkers as well as critical makers, we wish to unfold the scope of critical making in electronic literature and to make a case both for a theory of making and for the practice of critique.


Thursday, June 24

2:00—2:30 p.m.

Introduction by Paul Wolff

2:30—3:30 p.m.

The Future of Language Model Poetics

Allison Parrish

4:00—5:00 p.m.

Exercises in Style

Jörg Piringer

5:00—6:00 p.m.


Julia Nakotte


Friday, June 25

2:00—3:00 p.m.

Bot Taxidermy: How to Create Ephemeral Art Without Being Instantly Forgotten (Spoiler: It’s a Lot Easier if You Create Something Else Instead)

Kathrin Passig

3:15—4:15 p.m.

Sequence and Connection:
Two Paradigms of Digital Literature

Hannes Bajohr

4:15 p.m.

Closing remarks

7:30 p.m.

Evening Event (in German): Wer macht hier was / Was macht hier wen? Neue Kollektive in der Literatur.

Talk and performance with Berit Glanz, Miedya Mahmod, Philipp Schönthaler, and Nora Zapf.
Moderation: Nina Tolksdorf