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Probing the gaps between datasets and interfaces in electronic literature

Lightning Talk
Part of:
1:30 PM, Friday 17 Aug 2018 (8 minutes)
The contrast between the conceptual and material realities of data harvesting and of digital interfaces is a captivating subject matter I will tap into to make visible the physicality of the internet and to subvert destructive dominant, colonial narratives with respect to the natural environment and climate.

This intervention will use poetry and photography/video as electronic literature to shed light on the conceptual language used online (e.g., on social media, corporate websites, online magazines, etc.) to discuss datasets in relationship to digital interfaces. Furthermore, it will address an identifiable gap within this language, which can be viewed in the production of massive amounts of electronic waste.

A recent report by Greenpeace illustrates that companies like Amazon, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo use cloud computing (Cook and Pomerantz) to provide data and e-mail storage, file transfer sites, audio and video streaming, video games, and the “internet of things.” Individuals are encouraged to replace devices often. Built-in obsolescence and the production of e-waste “is mostly produced in the developed West and disposed of in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, India, Southeast Asia, and China (Mosco).

The marketing language related to data harvesting and online surveillance masks physical realities of cloud computing and of the internet, which is rooted in a global network of hardware and cables and requires substantial physical infrastructure and energy in service to giant computer server farms. Despite notions of the internet reflecting a “world wide” web, the internet represents the flow of capital and the interests of developed nations (Starosielski.)
Concordia University & Atwater Poetry Project
MA student & curator