Site Unscene


Medial Ideology and the Literary Interface

Cambridge, MA


2nd Annual Humanities & New Media Lecture

Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies at UCLA

Monday, March 23, 5pm

CGIS South, Tsai Auditorium

Site Unscene: Medial Ideology and the Literary Interface

Who speaks in an interface? How do we understand the work done by the graphical, tactile, audio and spatial features of on-screen and ambient works of literary production? The many aspects of language–subject positions and performative dimensions–do not map neatly onto the structuring features of literary work in on-screen and networked media. This paper explores some of the ways the conventions in literary interface produce a range of subject positions that pass as neutral user experience—and how these participate in the larger phenomenon of what Matt Kirschenbaum calls “medial ideology”. In addition, it asks how the contemporary category of “the literary” is identified and produced within its own ideological conceptions and their longer traditions.

Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies at UCLA, is internationally known for her work in the history of graphic design, typography, experimental poetry, fine art, and digital humanities. Recent publications include What Is? (Cuneiform Press, 2013), Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press, 2014), and Digital_Humanities, co-authored with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, (MIT Press, 2012). In 2012, Drucker’s creative work was the subject of a retrospective, Druckworks: 40 years of books and projects. Recent projects include Diagrammatic Writing (Onomatopée, 2014), Stochastic Poetics (Granary, 2012), and Fabulas Feminae (Litmus Press, 2015). In 2014 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and awarded an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts by the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017. DownDrift: An Eco-Fiction (Three Rooms Press, NY) and The General Theory of Social Relativity (The Elephants, Vancouver) were published in April 2018. Her forthcoming work includes Visualizing Interpretation (MIT, 2020) and Encountering Iliazd: Memoir of a Biographical Project (Johns Hopkins, 2020).

The 2nd Annual Humanities & New Media Lecture is free and open to the public. Presented by the Division of Arts & Humanities and the History Design Studio.