Tech(s) K(no)w Poetics
Inspired by Daniel Anderson and Erin Smith’s CW2K presentation, "Toward a Web Poetics: From Creative Practice to Theory," this roundtable session extends and complicates the concept of technopoetics by exploring its many absorbing tangles. Must the pursuits and projects typically labeled techne be rescued and redeemed by poesis in order to be acknowledged as worthy realms for academic theory and practice? Does techne alone automatically suggest skilled but non-intellectual labor, or have strands of poesis always been deeply woven into that which is too often dismissed as "merely" practical? To what extent does the aesthetic appeal of online creations or environments in fact depend on hiding or deferring knowledge of layers of woven code? Further, what might our shifting lexicon of terms for our still relatively new and constantly emerging technopoetic labors reveal about the evolution of the ways we conceptualize both our field and our roles within it? This session’s ultimate goal is to invite even wider participation in what we hope will be productive ongoing debate about these issues, which the members of this roundtable have been exploring online since the moment the session that sparked their discussion ended.
Susan Antlitz: The Ties that Bind: The (Techno)Poetics of Connection
Investigates the cognitive dimensions of technopoetics. Perhaps more that any other act of making, a technological one inevitably draws on poesis whether or not it is recognized as something aesthetic. Recall all the old debates about "found art": what makes the difference between something created as art, and something made for any other purpose—or even something found in nature—that is deemed art through some interpretive act? To what extent is "design" a necessary element of aesthetics? How much of poesis is an act of interpretation (by the non-creator/artist/writer), and how much is deliberate, intended?
Bruce Leland: It’s All in the Wrist: Reclaiming Techne
Proposes "technics" as an alternative to both the rhetorical and the poetic as a way of theorizing the web. Thick, intricate tapestries hanging in drafty old castles may strike us as mostly artistic—mostly meant for our aesthetic pleasure—but they were clearly designed to fulfill a most practical purpose, as well: protecting the castle’s occupants from those prosaic drafts. As the term "Technics" suggests, the tools and procedures of techne have always woven the practical with the aesthetic.
Michael Day: Toward Native Dwellings in Cyberspace
Focuses on a common split made in composition theory, that between audience addressed and audience implied, and uses poesis as the term for a kind of making in language (or webbing) that, instead of merely attempting to meet the expectations of readers, forges further to try to create a role for that reader. This would be especially important with new, native forms of hypertext and CMC, where because the limits of the media have not been fully explored, there is still much potential for creating new hybrids, new forms of collaboration and communication, and even new standards for beauty/elegance/ eloquence online. Whereas functional hypertexts may meet print-based expectations of readers, there may be value in asking our students to investigate and try out more "artistic" or "creative" forms that may move us from the "amphibious" stages of inhabiting cyberspace to more native dwellings online.
Kathy Fitch: Raveling Techne and Poesis: The Art of (Dis)Entanglement
Drawing upon poetry, mythology, and magic, "Raveling" examines the productive tension between the desire to approach online teaching, learning, and composing spaces theoretically and the need to reveal the secrets of their "practical magic" in an inviting, demystifying way, so that they can become truly become spaces in which a "poetry of the people" might emerge (Something there is that doesn't love a technopoetic wall.)
Kathy A. Fitch
Assistant Professor of English · Liberal Arts Division · College of DuPage
FitchK@cdnet.cod.edu · Kafkaz@kwom.com