E-Lit in Spanish: Voices of Oppression and Dissent from the Spanish Speaking World

10:00 AM, Wednesday 15 Aug 2018 (1 hour)
E-lit narratives in Spanish have demonstrated a special interest in denouncing some of the historical, social and political events which are commonplace in the Spanish speaking world. Their origins can be traced back to iconic works such as Extreme Conditions (1996) and The Wright Brothers’ First Flight (1996) by Juan B. Gutiérrez. Whereas the first e-lit work immerses the reader in a science fiction narrative which portrays the effects of capitalism, the second literary piece takes place in an isolated Latin American town deeply affected by corruption and the typical idiosyncrasies of a small Latin American town. As a follow up to this declamatory gesture portrayed by these narratives, Gabriella Infinita (2000) by Colombian writer Jaime Alejandro Rodríguez Ruiz brings to the fore topics that are common in many Spanish speaking countries, such as a civil war, censorship, repression, fear and exile. In turn, Golpe de gracia (2006) also by Jaime Alejandro Rodríguez Ruiz discusses discusses the role of authoritarianism in society, as represented by one of its main characters. But it is the Peruvian-Venezuelan writer Doménico Chiappe who has transformed his e-lit pieces in declamatory narratives which entice the reader to reflect and act upon historical, political, social and technologically driven events which have drastically altered a region and/or a globalized society in general. In the polyphonic multimedia novel Tierra de extracción (1996-2007) Chiappe incisively depicts the enduring hardship of a small Venezuelan town and its people who have lived under the shadows of exploitation by the oil companies, whereas in Hotel Minotauro (2014), his latest and most declamatory piece, Chiappe addresses issues such as the financial crisis, human trafficking, the role of economic, social and political power as well as the role of social media. In this paper I will address the historical, social and political aspects that are subtlety addressed via sound, image, text and the kinetic images and readers’ navigation tools in Hotel Minotauro. Chiappe’s evocative references to authoritarian regimes and abuse of power in Latin America permeate throughout this immersive literary piece that resembles a first-person perspective video game. The voices of the subaltern can be read and heard throughout this piece inciting reflection not only on the value of this literary work but also on its message to foster social and political transformation.

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