(n) - the actual words of an author; any form in which a written work exists; the principal matter on a printed page; any topic or subject

To what extent and in what ways do computer networks and electronic spaces reconfigure both the nature of the text and the relationship between textual body and human body?

Writing constantly refers to writing, and no writing can ever claim to be 'free' of other writings.
- Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other

In regards to the print text - human body interaction, French feminists Helene Cixous, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray seek to achieve a uniquely feminine language that breaks through or exceeds the culturally imposed bounds of patriarchy.

Yet many of the tenets which they associate with a masculine, patriarchal language (hierarchy, fixity, and linearity) are counter-posed not only in their own feminine writings (which strive for fluidity, connectivity, and cyclical non-linearity) but also in much of the writing which occurs in electronic environments - or electronic hypertext. We must likewise view electronic environments as a space in which individual authorship, as well as authenticity and originality, have become increasingly untraceable.

A number of theorists hold fears concerning the fate of the Internet and electronic textual spaces in relation to individuals. Howard Besser foresees a future of passive, non-interactive consumerism as the transportation metaphor for communication develops in such a fashion that the "Information Superhighway" becomes overloaded with "lanes" traveling into individual computer terminals and under-loaded with those traveling outward. And Fredric Jameson feels that the ease with which images and text can now be reproduced and recontextualized has resulted in an ahistorical superficiality and flatness, or the postmodern pastiche and fragmentation of self in the electronic era.

In Dictee Theresa Cha says of her own print text that "This document is transmitted through, by the same means, the same channel, without distinction the content is delivered in the same style: the word," and in doing so calls into question the very method by which she has chosen to deliver her own message: the word. The word which will always succeed only in revealing a lack, the word which acts as a homogenizing force "To appeal to the masses to congeal the information to make bland, mundane . . . The response is precoded to perform predictably . . . Neutralized to achieve the no-response, to make absorb, to submit to the uni-directional correspondence." Yet for Cha, the lack which she reveals in her very deliverance through the word is a necessary part of an eternally fragmentary, ever-shifting, and continually developing message.

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(Image from The Washington Post: Fast Forward Magazine, May 1996)


Web page written and constructed by Laralynn Weiss, Georgetown University