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Affect & Audience in the Digital Age

Year of Funding: 
Affect and Audience image

Symposium date: October 18, 2013

Affect & Audience in the Digital Age is a one-day symposium exploring emergent modes of creative public scholarship. Specifically, we are interested in scholarly, pedagogical, curatorial, and creative practices that attend to the digitally mediated character of contemporary poetry. While poets have long enjoyed a position as public intellectuals, teaching readers through carefully constructed emotional appeals, much poetic work is now written through impersonal digital methodologies such as crowd sourcing and data mining. Nevertheless, digitally mediated poetics have a particular affective density: even appropriated text from the internet conveys the “powerful feelings” that Wordsworth described as the ideal for poetry. Given the new realities of digital composition and distribution, how has the position of the poet changed? Can digital mediation impact the direction in which knowledge and expertise flow? Where is creativity located now?

Because these changes have had a major impact on the publication and distribution of writing, this event will open with a hands-on examination of artists' books and works of conceptual writing that take advantage of appropriation, crowd-sourcing, digital archives, or other methodologies that interlink the work's concept and form. We will consider: How has print on demand publishing facilitated the creation of artists' books that might once have been thought unpublishable? How do such works align with unique and hand-made artists' books that take advantage of similar techniques?

This session will be followed by a roundtable discussion with our invited participants that will address the institutional, curatorial, and pedagogical implications of emergent modes of digitally mediated poetry, and the ways in which digitally mediated works make use of affect in their public appeals.

We will close with an evening of performances by invited poet-scholars and artists, who consider the communities addressed by digitally mediated poetry and the means through which such artistic-intellectual products reach them.

Primary contacts

Brian Reed (English)

Sarah Dowling (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)

Gregory Laynor (English)

Amaranth Borsuk (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)


Invited Presenters

Kate Durbin, author of The Ravenous Audience, and founder of the journal Gaga Stigmata and the tumblr Women as Objects.

Craig Dworkin, author of No Medium and Reading the Illegible, and co-editor with Kenneth Goldsmith of Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing.

Adam Frank, scholar of media and affect, and founder of Radio Free Stein, a project rendering the writings of Gertrude Stein into musical form.

Ray Hsu, author of Anthropy and Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon, and co-founder of Art Song Lab, an interdisciplinary platform for fusions across poetry, music, and performance.

Rachel Zolf, author of Human Resources and Neighbor Procedure, and founder of The Tolerance Project, a collaborative MFA produced from poetic DNA donated by eighty writers, artists, and thinkers.


UW Participants

Sandra Kroupa is Curator of Book Arts & Rare Books at the UW Libraries. Her experience includes a bookbinding apprenticeship, producing handmade paper, and printing on her own letterpresses.

Aeron Bergman (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)

Alejandra Salinas (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)



9:00am - 4:30pm: morning and afternoon symposium sessions, including a roundtable discussion at the Simpson Center and an exhibition at the UW Book Arts Collection. Registration is requested. Lunch will be provided for those who register by Oct. 10.

6:00pm - 8:00pm: performance event at the Henry Art Gallery Auditorium.