29 Jun 2022 – 30 Jun 2022

Wie postdigital schreiben? Verfahren der Gegenwartsliteratur

Venue: Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Aufgang B, 3. Et.

Digitalization changes the literary scene, but also writing styles and texts. This is proven by the so-called ‘digital literature’ which is produced in social media networks or actively incorporates algorithms into literary production. Under post-digital preconditions, a writing that remains untouched by the changing medial and technical conditions is no longer imaginable. This development brings forth poetologies that claim and experiment with new techniques in describing our present. This includes ‘glitches,’ small errors that indicated constructions of reality, or ‘hyper-irony’ as a utopian attitude that is supposed to enact a self-conscious exuberance. At the same time, both the techniques as well as their analytical and critical definition—as ‘leveling,’ ‘flattening,’ ‘superficiality’—tie in with aesthetic traditions of literature from the last centuries, especially from pop literature. This is true for the algorithmic list that continues a typical technique of pop literature, the arrangement and selection, in order to negotiate the in- and exclusion of the archive as well as for the over-affirmation that comes as a continuation of the established pop gesture to not criticize but empathetically welcome system logics.

The presentations in this workshop introduce and problematize singular techniques, especially with regards to possible historical (dis)continuities and innovations. As in the case of the list, their precursors may date past ‘contemporary literature’ and far back into past centuries of literary-epistemic ordering. In addition to the historical development and return of literary procedures, the exchange with other (medial) techniques and their overlapping with theoretical and scientific text production will also be discussed.

The workshop aims at two things: on the one hand, it aims at bringing together the two literary-scientific fields of pop and digitalization studies to study transformations within contemporary literature from a micro-perspective on the basis of the previously introduced techniques and to make palpable the changes within post-digital aesthetics. On the other hand, it aims at contextualizing current techniques with those that have a long historical tradition (Romanticism, Classical Modernity). Also, the workshop will confront the analysis of historical writing practices with studies in contemporary literature.

The workshop asks the following guiding questions, among others:

  • Do digital forms of publication/the public change the aesthetic techniques in pop literature?
  • (How) Are the new techniques that already bear an overcoming in their name (hyper-irony, power-Dada) different from their predecessors?
  • Are there innovations in the way post-digital writing practices question large literary-historical categories such as ‘work’ or ‘authorship’?
  • How do pop techniques and digital techniques respectively position themselves within the broader context of ‘contemporary literature,’ and how do they relate to literary-critical conventions?

The event is part of the series Spielräume der Gegenwartsliteratur organized by the research project Neighborhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature at the ZfL, which is held between April and June in cooperation with various partners in Berlin.