personal narratives, corporate templates
Here are the slides I’m speaking from today at the The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Art Practice here in Bergen today. There’s already video up from the performances and readings last night, and some ongoing discussion on the Twitter hashtag #network09. A short summary of my talk follows the slides.
Literary narrative genres develop from personal narrative practices. The first novels were based on letters and diaries, though the genre developed into something independent in time. This presentation discusses contemporary personal media and narrative practices, such as those we see in social media. Some of these practices are constrained by corporations such as Facebook or Twitter, which steer our expression in specific ways. Others appear free, yet are heavily influenced by cultural templates, copying and voluntary rules. Often, corporations or organisations provide systems to automate some of these voluntary rules. We’re also beginning to see some examples of social media sites that take our contributions and create their own visualisations and representations of an aspect of our life. For instance, Dopplr.com generates reports on your travel, Flickr.com shows you your photos on a map or as a calendar, Trixietracker.com graphs your baby’s sleep patterns and Google Web History visualises your search activity in time. What happens, then, when our personal narratives and self-documentations arenít hand-crafted as with diaries and scrapbooks, but are automatically generated? What would literary narratives following these personal but computationally assisted practices look like?
The talk builds upon and extends an essay to be published in the European Journal of Communications in December this year (Preprint available).