Monday, March 9, 2009

Reduce, Reuse Recycle

We can see how different cultural products have undergone changes in response to our growing reliance on technology. In a digital society cultural productions have to rework themselves to remain not only competitive but to simply remain in existence. What I want to make clear here is how cultural productions today use ‘framing’ as a means to alter the contexts of things and make them into new cultural productions. In essence these productions come from pre-existing ideas and are variations…they are recycled, reused and reclaimed. Here we see how culture is used differently today.
My discussion about these notions of ‘digital culture’ and ‘cultural objects’ stems from a recent presentation by guest lecturer Dr. Darren Wershler who emphasized his involvement in contemporary representations of poetry. He illustrated how print based notions of literature such as poetry have needed to adapt to change in order to stay current and competitive. Poetry has transcended by becoming what he calls ‘digital poetics’. As a type of literature that has never been particularly successful in terms of selling power Wershler saw a need for a change in form. It could be said that poetry had a bleak future before the creation of digital poetics and a s a cultural object poetry in turn brings to light notions of framing and copyright.
Dr. Wershler posed the questions: Who really owns what? What is really yours? The truth is that you cannot copyright an idea if no one technically owns it. An example of changing the context of things or altering a cultural product is that of art. New interpretations are being created from old concepts in the contemporary art world. ‘Digital poetics’ is an example of using culture differently today and involving the notion of the ‘collective’ whereby this cultural production is now widely accessible and available for anyone to access…so long as they have an internet connection. As Nancy Miller points out in her article “Minifesto for a New Age” as a culture today we are fixated on this notion of sampling and consuming popular culture in “…the same way we enjoy candy and chips-in conveniently packaged bite-size nuggets made to be munched easily with increased frequency and maximum speed. This is a snack culture” (Wired Magazine, Miller 2007). This is an important point to recognize, we are a culture that thrives on immediacy, simplicity and ease of availability. I feel that digital poetics clearly exemplifies these notions. As a new form of poetry that involves internet coding to produce poems through random fabrication of sentences it puts poetry on common grounds for us all.
The most important point to take away from all of this I feel is what digital poetics reveals about our culture. We ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ ideas and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing…in fact maybe we can change our mindset to think of this new form of cultural production as a ‘greener’ approach. Reduce, reuse, recycle involves more than just the physical state of our environment but the state of our intellectual culture.

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