Do the Domains of Literature and New Media Art Intersect? The Cases of Sonnetoid web projects by Vuk Ćosić and Teo Spiller
Franco Moretti's notion of “distant reading” as a complementary concept to the “close reading”, which emerged alongside the computer based analysis and manipulation of texts, finds its mirror image in a sort of “distant” production of literary works – of a specific kind, of course. The paper considers the field, where literature and new media creativity intersect. Is there such a thing as literariness in “new media objects” (Manovich)? Next, by focusing on the three web sites that generate texts resembling and referring to sonnet form the paper asks the question about the new media sonnet and, a more general one, about the new media poetry. A mere negative answer to the two questions doesn't suffice, because it only postpones the unavoidable answer to the questions posed by existing new media artworks and other communication systems. Teo Spiller's Spam.sonnets can be viewed as an innovative solution to the question, how to find a viable balance between the author's control over the text and the text's openness to the reader-user's intervention. In conclusion two concrete reconfigurations of the experience of (new media) literature – and through it the world that surrounds us – will be considered: the experience of time in Spiller's News Sonnets and the spatial dimension as implied in his project SMS Sonnets. News Sonnets use current news obtained via RSS feeds from various sources, which makes the “messages” contained in the lines of the sonnet a potential incitement for the reader's immediate action. The SMS Sonnet spreads the territory, where the communication takes place, beyond the text-reader confrontation and into the community of participants of an interactive (non-artistic) communication system.