WRITING (DIRTY) NEW MEDIA: TECHNORHETORICAL OPACITY, CHIMERAS, AND DIRTY ONTOLOGY
There is little doubt that emerging technologies are changing the way we act, interact, create, and consume. Yet despite increased access to these technologies, consumers of technology too seldom interrogate the politics, subjectivities, and limitations of these technologies and their interfaces. Instead, many consumers approach emerging technologies as objective tools to be consumed, and engage in creative processes uncritically. This disquisition, following the work of Hawisher, Selfe, and Selfe, seeks ways to approach the problem of a “rhetoric of technology” that uncritically praises new technologies by drawing on avant-garde art traditions and object-oriented ontology. I argue that, by following the philosophies and practices of glitch, dirty new media, zaum, dada, circuit-bending, and others, we might approach writing technologies with the intention of critically misusing, manipulating, and revealing to ourselves and audiences the materiality of the media and technologies in use.
In combination with these avant-garde practices and philosophies, I draw from object-oriented ontology to argue that we, as new media composers, never simply write on or through our technologies, but that we write in collaboration with them, for they are active and agential coauthors even (and especially) despite their status as nonhuman. I argue for an model that not only levels the ontological playing field between humans and nonhumans, but also one that embraces irregularities and “glitches” as essential features of systems and the actors within those systems. Finally, I provide examples of how to perform these models and philosophies, which I callobject-oriented art.