[Humanist] 28.310 pubs cfp: aesthetics of erasure; materiality of formats

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Sep 4 07:32:41 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 310.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Charles Baldwin <Charles.Baldwin at mail.wvu.edu>            (16)
        Subject: unknown format (call for papers)

  [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>          (46)
        Subject: cfp: The Aesthetics of Erasure

        Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2014 23:12:55 +0000
        From: Charles Baldwin <Charles.Baldwin at mail.wvu.edu>
        Subject: unknown format (call for papers)
        In-Reply-To: <1409785796735.61612 at mail.wvu.edu>

 I encourage anyone interested to submit. Feel free to send questions.

MATLIT Vol. 2.2 (2014) http://iduc.uc.pt/matlit

Unknown Format

Editors: Sandy Baldwin (West Virginia University) and Dibs Roy (West Virginia University)

Files and directories, characters and pixels. There are others: mp3, docx, RFID. What is the materiality of these curious and ubiquitous objects? Or rather, of these formats - what is the materiality of formats? Formats cannot be understood in the Kittlerian terms of a readable trace of withdrawn yet mediating a priori. To explain a "file" as current differentials in a silicon substrate only demonstrates the failure of explanation. They may be closer to Michel Foucault's understanding of discourse as possessing "repeatable materiality" that is "of the order of the institution rather than of spatio-temporal location" (103). Through its materiality, a "statement circulates, is used, disappears, allows or prevents the realization of a desire, serves or resists various interests, participates in challenge and struggle, and becomes a theme of appropriation or rivalry" (105). Yet formats are physical in ways that statements are not. A graphical character on a computer screen is precisely determined in its appearance - its display is part of its materiality.

Some questions are necessary.

Firstly, what is the intersection of rights and formats? How is the status of files and directories, characters and pixels, inseparable from questions of agency and interiority? Whether we consider the Wikileaks or NSA or DMCA, the right to copy and delete formats is precisely formatted.

Secondly, what of the contingency of formats? Pixels are refreshed every few milliseconds. Formats materialize through flows that are subject to breakdowns and viruses. Formats are dispersions, scatterings and emissions as much as containers and processes.

Finally, what interventions are possible in formats? The form of the format determines rewriting and transcription - again, in Foucault's sense of "repeatability" - but what procedures are open to us to intervene in this form?

The etymology of format is in the Latin phrase formatus liber, meaning "the shape of the book." For this issue of MATLIT, we welcome submissions that address these questions as the site of "the literary" today: the materiality of formats as literature. Furthermore, we welcome submissions that take formats and test their materiality in other domains outside of the computer. What about MLA format, Robert's Rules of Order, Braille, or barcodes in passports? How far can we understand subjectivity as a file in a directory, or as a character on a screen? And how can the repetition of formats in this way be understood as part of their "literariness"?

DEADLINE: Articles of approximately 5000 words must be submitted by September 30, 2014. Authors will be contacted with decisions by November 30, 2014. Authors must register with the journal's online system and submit articles in this manner. The "About" section of the journal website has information on the journal's scope and submission guidelines (http://iduc.uc.pt/index.php/matlit/about). Feel free to contact

the issue editors with questions: sbaldwin66 at gmail.com and dibyadyutir at gmail.com?

Sandy Baldwin
West Virginia University
Associate Professor of English
Director of the Center for Literary Computing

        Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 06:21:26 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: cfp: The Aesthetics of Erasure
        In-Reply-To: <1409785796735.61612 at mail.wvu.edu>

Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, is pleased to announce a Call 
for Proposals for the spring 2015 edition: Vol. 11 – 01


The Aesthetics of Erasure


Paul Benzon, Temple University

Sarah Sweeney, Skidmore College

Pat Badani



In an era in which state surveillance is capable of capturing, storing, 
and analyzing all personal communications, and in which even the 
much-heralded ephemerality of photographic sharing applications such as 
Snapchat is revealed to be just another instance of deferred, secreted 
permanence, erasure seems all but impossible. Yet this is precisely what 
makes erasure a vitally necessary artistic, technological, and social 
practice. Erasure provides a point of departure from network culture, 
from the constraints of big data, the archive, and the cloud; through 
erasure, forgetting and disappearance become radical, profoundly 
productive acts.

This special issue of Media-N seeks to describe the aesthetics of 
erasure across various media, platforms, and contexts in the digital 
era. What does it mean to consider erasure as an artistÂ’s mark, and how 
does it reshape the relations between making and unmaking? How do acts 
of erasure allow artists to harness and resist the possibilities and 
problems of the archive, of (self-) surveillance, of public and private, 
and of datafication? What are the aesthetic and political relations 
between erasure and analogous processes such as anonymization and 
redaction? What antecedents of digital erasure might we see in earlier 
moments of media history, and how might they help us to see digital 
erasure in new ways? What do practices of digital erasure, and the 
absences they produce, tell us about the materiality of digital 
activity? What relations do they reveal among artistry, audience, 
memory, temporality, and the market? How might erasure help us to see 
questions of reproduction, remix, appropriation, and intellectual 
property in new ways?

The editors invite submissions in all formats and media, and from all 
disciplines, including but not limited to artwork, artistÂ’s statements, 
manifestos, interviews, and historical, critical, and theoretical essays.

[For instructions on submission and other information see 

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
Group, University of Western Sydney

More information about the Humanist mailing list