Wandering Bodies: Ambient Literature, Entanglements, and Embodied Cognition

Ambient Literature

Visiting Digital Studio Research Fellow English and Theatre Studies seminar

Held in The Lab, Level 2 of the Digital Studio, West Wing of Arts West (Building 148) (access via the rear lift).

In this special session of the English and Theatre Studies seminar series, Dr Matt Hayler - visiting Research Fellow from University of Birmingham based in the Digital Studio - will introduce the idea of "ambient literature," a term drawn from a two-year AHRC-funded research project of the same name which has seen the production of three new digital literary works and a range of academic responses aimed at asking "what is ambient literature?" Matt takes the term to describe experimental literary works which respond to the particular kinds of information which encircle us and locate us, as readers, citizens, humans, and particularly their intensification in a digital age. He will introduce two of the works from the project and explore some of the theoretical questions texts like this can pose: what role do artefacts play in reading? How does this kind of reading experience reveal how we already think and read? What might be some of the political questions raised by revealing the stories in the air around us? And what new and old sources of meaning-making can digital literature draw upon?

If you'd like to try one of the works of Ambient Literature before the session then please see the Breathe web page on your smartphone or Google "Kate Pullinger Breathe". For more on the Ambient Literature project please see the Ambient Literature website.

Dr Matt Hayler is a lecturer in post-1945 Literature in the Department of English Literature at the University of Birmingham. His research interests focus on e-reading, materially experimental writing, digital humanities, critical theory, technology, and embodiment. He is particularly interested in how the materiality of our artefacts impacts upon our culture, daily practice, and cognition. His most recent research has been into the relationship between the ethics and artistic representation of transhuman modification of the body with technology. Beyond English Studies, his research draws on cognitive science, post- and classical phenomenology, philosophy of technology, and object-oriented ontology.

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