ECO Communique: What is Electronic Literature
1. The ECO asks: What is literature? Literature is already a matter of the
archive, expanding genres, mutable canons. Literature is neither necessar-
ily intended nor produced by particular species. Literature is either a
moment of speculation which has been released, or a curtailment of loose
and fluent ontologies. The epistemology of literature has traditionally
been the diegetic, the gaze, not the glance. Literature perseveres now
within the glance.
2. Organisms are electronic, quantum; the digital is slurry; inscription
is always interactive. Games are literature and electronic, films are
literature and electronic, intentionality entangles with literature when
and where inscription is. Inscription and culture are entangled; culture
and literature are entangled.
3. The label of literature is useless because it's extended to the
breaking-point; the extension attempts conformal mappings from past to
future. The label of electronic is useless because it's immanent; virtual
particles fall under the aegis of electronic literature, even if
uncharged. Just as the Higgs field draws out mass, inscription draws out
the categoric and literature dies and exists on local terrains, drawing
out the _field_ of literature. To inscribe is to augment and divide; to
inscribe is to simultaneously negate and assert.
4. Any definition falls by the wayside as fast-forward culture clutters
the imaginary with manifestos and definitions as so many uncanny ghosts.
The real question (if questions, suspensions, are real in the sense that
the answer is captured prey) is how to observe, absorb, without limitation
and with a situational criticality that offers, as if Vaihinger's as-if,
meandering with expectation under erasure.
5. Beyond literature and electronics, there are bodies. Beneath literature
and electronics, there are bodies. Above literature and electronics, there
are bodies. Most of the bodies are dead, most of the archives are vacant,
most of the caretakers have disappeared, most of the inscriptions have
never been read, most of the literature will never have been read.
6. The ECO states: The electronic literature of slime molds, of dinosaurs,
of hemiptera, of prions; the electronic literature of cuttlefish, of
starlings, of bacteriophages; the electronic literature of DNA, RNA,
7. At the limit, the analogic body is digital; at the limit, the digital
body is analogic. At the limit, the electronic body is abject; at the
limit, the abject body is electronic. At the limit, inscription _may be_ a
gathering; at the limit, a gathering _may be_ inscription.
8. The ECO insists: A literature without limits is a literature, not
degree zero, but degree infinite. What is _not_ literature is already
circumscribed, prescribed, a writing. Fast-forward culture: what is _not_
literature, _is,_ and what _is_ literature, _is not._
9. Special America is electronic literature, arduino is electronic
literature, choreography is electronic literature, the body is electronic
literature, makerbot is electronic literature; sex is electronic
literature. Fastforward IRC, Fidonet, BBS, and newsgroups are literature;
should they be archived?. Should the archive be archived? Should _a
literature_ be _the literature_ be preserved? Does _a literature_ exist?
10. THE ECO RECOGNIZES THE CRISIS.
11. Within the ECO - Electro-Cultural Organization, the Crisis is central.
The Crisis is the literature of the becoming-extinguished, of the extinct,
of information glut and universal controlled-transparency; of the tyranny
of Fundamental Corporations: Google, Facebook, Apple, [...] of the tyranny
of colonialism and neocolonialism; of the tyranny of the One Percent: of
the Drifting Tyranny we confront on a daily basis. The ECO is the shadow
organization of the ELO and is political to the core. The ECO acts ON
Literature and THROUGH the Electronic. The ECO DOES NOT EXIST. LITERATURE
DOES NOT EXIST.