Textual Machines: A Spring Symposium & Exhibit

April 17, 2015 – April 18, 2015 all-day America/New York Timezone
UGA Library, 3rd floor
University of Georgia Library
The University of Georgia, 320 South Jackson Street, Athens, GA 30602
Jonathan Baillehache

The Digital Arts Library in Collaboration with the Symposium on the Book Present “Textual Machines: A Spring Symposium & Exhibit” Friday and Saturday April 17-18, 2015, on the 3rd floor of the University of Georgia Main Library.

Textual Machines is an international symposium exploring literary objects that produce texts through the material interaction with mechanical devices or procedures. We define “textual machines” as a perspective on literature and book objects where text is “a mechanical device for the production and consumption of verbal signs” (Espen J. Aarseth). From the symposium’s perspective, textual machines are not limited to a specific media or epoch, and include literary objects ranging from early modern movable books, to modern pop-up books, artist’s books, game books, concrete poetry, combinatory literature, electronic literature and interactive fictions. A distinctive feature of textual machines is that they invite readers to traverse text through the non-trivial manipulation of mechanistic devices or procedures: by navigating through hyperlinks, footnotes, marginalia or other semiotic cues, or by answering to configurational, exploratory or writing prompts.

Plenary speakers will be Gwen LeCor of University of Paris 8, Serge Bouchardon, Professor at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne, and Janet Murray, Ivan College Dean’s Professor in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at Georgia Tech.

Murray’s keynote address for the Symposium on the Book will take place on April 18 at 10:45 a.m., and is titled: “The Disappearing Book: Media Innovation and the Future of Shared Attention.”

“Printed paper-based books seem to be disappearing as we increasingly rely on digital forms of knowledge transmission and long-form storytelling. And yet the core cultural purpose of the book persists, and can be defined independent of the inscription technologies of ink and paper. Books are valuable because they organize human knowledge and experience, making use of media conventions to focus our sustained, shared attention. This talk will consider how emerging digital media formats, from simulation games to ebooks to binge-ready fictional TV series, can serve and expand the core traditions of print culture.”

In parallel to the symposium, the Willson Center Digital Humanities Lab at the University of Georgia will host the Textual Machines Exhibit, showcasing holdings from the Hargrett rare Book & Manuscript Library and the Digital Arts Library, including early modern movable books, modern artist’s books, and electronic literature.

The symposium will take place Friday, April 17 from 10:30–11:45 a.m. and Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. in the Graduate Reading Room on the third floor of the Main Library. The exhibit will be on display Friday and Saturday, April 17-18 from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. in the Willson Center Digital Humanities Lab on the third floor of the Main Library. Refreshment will be served at the exhibit opening on Friday April 17 at 10:00 am.

The Textual Machines symposium and exhibit are sponsored by the Willson Center, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute, the Department of Romance Languages, and the University of Georgia Libraries. For more information and for a full schedule, visit the UGA Digital Arts Library website here.