The Poetics of Information Overload: From Gertrude Stein to Conceptual Writing

By Paul Stephens

Information overload is a topic of significant, ubiquitous main issue in our time. The Poetics of knowledge Overload unearths a desirable family tree of data saturation throughout the literary lens of yank modernism.

Although know-how has normally been considered as antagonistic or international to poetry, Paul Stephens outlines a countertradition inside 20th- and twenty-first-century literature within which avant-garde poets are centrally concerned with applied sciences of communique, facts garage, and bureaucratic regulate. starting with Gertrude Stein and Bob Brown, Stephens explores how writers were preoccupied with the consequences of latest media because the creation of modernism. He maintains with the postwar writing of Charles Olson, John Cage, Bern Porter, Hannah Weiner, Bernadette Mayer, Lyn Hejinian, and Bruce Andrews, and concludes with a dialogue of conceptual writing produced some time past decade.

By analyzing those works within the context of data structures, Stephens indicates how the poetry of the previous century has had, as a first-rate concentration, the function of information in human life.

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The Google Books Ngram Viewer continues to be within the beta degree of improvement and continues to be unreliable when it comes to generating specified effects. I reproduce this chart generally to illustrate greatly the post-­1960 proliferation of the time period “information overload. ” 8 Introduction both out of elitist worry of mass tradition, or out of confusion the character of knowledge and its dissemination. utilizing the time period “information overflow” to explain artistic endeavors that contain databases, Victoria Vesna has urged one other method in her Database Aesthetics. whereas i locate her substitution of “overflow” for “overload” suggestive in that it indicates the reaction of artists and writers to details saturation to not be an completely adverse one, I preserve the terminology of “overload,” partially since it describes stipulations of exhaustion universal to “knowledge staff” (a time period first coined by way of the administration guru Peter Drucker in 1959). one of the so much constantly articulated issues of these who've written at the topic has been the experience that employees, readers, and laptop clients adventure fatigue. in contrast to the extra common “overflow,” “overload” extra forcefully takes account of ways frequently the phenomenon is associated with questions of “infostress” or “information nervousness. ”22 either “overload” and “overflow” show a robust experience of the restrictions of the human potential to soak up information, yet “overflow” could positioned a extra favorable spin at the phenomenon via eliding the feel of agitation implicit in “overload. ” “Overflow,” rather within the context of poetry, connotes the elegant, a huge aesthetic analogue of knowledge abundance. contemporary critics have variously used the phrases “digital sublime,” “information sublime,” and “bureaucratic chic” to explain twentieth-­and twenty-­first-­century stipulations of data abundance. 23 Wordsworth famously noted poetry because the “spontaneous overflow of robust feelings,” yet insisted that it's present in “tranquility. ” A key point of the chic, in line with Kant, is that “the feeling of the elegant consists of with it, as its personality, a psychological agitation. ”24 Drawing on Kant (and with direct connection with Stein), Sianne Ngai has coined the time period “stuplimity” to explain the damaging impacts, or “ugly feelings,” linked to the chic. 25 the various significant aesthetic debates of the 20th century—­over, for example, conception, kind, technological reproducibility, cultural reminiscence, and canonicity—­take on new valences within the context of data overload. basically following the lead of media theorists and paintings historians, this booklet rereads the avant-­garde poetic culture throughout the lens of its engagement with info overload. Sven Spieker is going as far as to “view early-­twentieth-­century modernism as a response formation to the garage main issue that got here within the wake of Beniger’s [control] revolution, a massive paper jam in accordance with the exponential raise in Introduction 9 saved facts, either within the realm of public management and in huge businesses whose records have been quickly bursting on the seams.

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