Cherchez le texte: Proceedings of the ELO 2013 Conference

Tierra de Extracción: Aesthetics and Politics in Latin American Electronic Literature

by Carolina Gainza

In this paper I propose that, in the field of electronic literature, transgressions can be observed mainly in relation to the function of the author and the reader, the materiality of literature and intellectual property. Regarding that, I aim to discuss the electronic novel Tierra de Extracción by Doménico Chiappe and Andreas Meier in relation to the possibility of aesthetic-political practices derived from the process of appropriation of new technologies in the space of literary creation in Latin America. Created with Macromedia Director, this polyphonic novel, written in Spanish, was presented to the public for the first time in 2000 and has been available online since 2007. It was included in the 2010 second volume of Electronic Literature prepared by the Electronic Literature Organization, in the category of multilingual or non-English narratives. Through the analysis of Chiappe and Meier’s electronic novel, I propose a definition of a mode of literary production characterized by the uses of new digital technologies that develops into practices of creation and reception, related to forms of appropriation of these technologies, all of which create cultural meanings and social relationships in the context of informational capitalism.

Tierra de Extracción: Traditions, Re-significations and New Creative Forces

Tierra de Extracción is a hypermedia created by the Peruvian-Venezuelan writer Doménico Chiappe, and Andreas Meier who was in charge of the multimedia production and graphic design. Chiappe is a well-known author in the field of Latin American digital production. He currently lives in Madrid, where he is a researcher of culture and technology at the Universidad Carlos III, directs workshops on literary journalism and hypermedia and coordinates a publisher called ‘La Fábrica’. He has published three hypermedia novels: the collective novel La Huella de Cosmos [1] (2005), Tierra de Extracción (2007) and Basta con Abrir las Puertas de un Hotel (2013).

Tierra is an experiment in a long process of creation and transformation, in concordance with the vertiginous changes that have occurred in the field of digital technology. It dates back to 1996, but its public presentation was at the symposium ‘El desafío de la escritura multimedia’ (‘The Challenges of Multimedia Writing’) organized by the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas in 2000. Macromedia Director was the software used to produce this first version of the novel and its two subsequent versions: the one exhibited in 2002 at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas, and the online publication in 2007 in PC and Mac versions.

The materiality of digital technologies allows creators to combine different textualities in a single work: image, video, sound and the written word. As all the information is codified as 1s and 0s, digital art works – music, video or literature – become more manipulated and immaterial in the sense that they do not need a physical or material ‘representation’, like books or CDs, but they can exist as coded information easily transformed into different formats to be used, read, watched, etc., on a variety of devices. At the same time, this digital materiality permits the construction of hypertexts and hypermedia, where different media and types of art interact with literature.

In this sense, Tierra can be defined as a polyphonic novel, where interconnected networks of written texts, images, video and audio can be observed, each one interacting and transmitting its own narrative. The level of the written word is composed of multiple micro-narratives, each one with its own protagonists and plots. All these fragmented storylines and characters interact with the main plot of the novel, related to petroleum exploitation in Venezuela, specifically in the basin of Lake Maracaibo in the Menegandre Area. Music constitutes another narrative level that creates an atmosphere related to, but not depending on, the micro- narratives contained in Tierra. Images and animations belong to the level of the visual narrative, where we can connect the visual text to the oral and written levels. Thus, each level contributes to creating a puzzle narrative, formed by these different texts, which acquire significance through their interaction with each other. All of these fragments must be connected by the readers/gamers to create a coherent narrative. The dialogue between the different arts, levels and textualities produced in the connections made by the reader form a unity composed of different voices (Evans 2008). This network is reflected in the very structure of Tierra: ‘Each conforms to a series of rules which govern the multimedia package. The novel should have a rizhomatic structure of interlinking chapters, in the manner of Guilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus.’ (Chiappe 2007, 218).

In some sense, these interconnected networks of different textualities reflect the way in which artists create in the digital era. Writers, artists, computer programmers, musicians – and in some cases readers – work collaboratively to produce the text, forming creative networks. It is a new mode of organizing the artistic production, although experimented with before – for example by the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ in the avant-garde tradition – that is currently being extended and radicalized. In a quantitative study conducted by Ernesto Piedras et al. (2013) in Mexico City to explore how young artists direct, finance, administer, organize and circulate their artistic production, researchers discovered that new technologies promote collaborative work among young people, changing the traditional chains of production.
Continuing with the novel, the main interface (Figure 1) shows a variety of visual stimuli. If the reader moves the mouse over the tree in the centre of the interface, an oral narrative is activated concerning the nights on Menegrande. If the reader moves the mouse to the images on the right, an oral narrative and music are activated. For every word in the left corner of the main interface, the cursor opens a text box. The text in the box appears blurred and is revealed when the mouse is moved over the text. This action required by the reader implies that the narrative is only activated when readers activate the codes that allow the story to appear. However, the activation mentioned does not refer merely to moving the cursor, but more importantly to how readers affects the materiality of the text by arranging the text structure in different ways depending on the choices they make while reading [2]. The hypermedia is, in this sense, an artefact that must be activated, interacted with, and played by the reader, not only interpreted as when one reads a book.

Figure 1. Interface Tierra de extracción

When clicking on the text box, a list of words is displayed in a new interface (Figure 2) and the reader can choose any of the words to begin exploring the different plots. Upon clicking on a word, a new interface is opened. Most of the interfaces at this level contain animated texts, images, music and/or oral narratives. There are four arrows that present the options to the reader to explore the narratives: up, down, left or right. The up and down arrows present plots to the reader randomly, which means that reading goes from plot to plot in a non-sequential order and without necessarily finishing a plot before changing to another. The right arrow produces a linear reading, so that the reader goes from plot to plot in a sequence. However, the reading is still disorganized because the order depends on which word the reader selected to start the reading and the word chosen does not necessarily represent the beginning of a plot. The left arrow allows the reader to go back through the sequence read. Each block of words is a plot, as seen in Figure 2. These word blocks challenge the reader to find the most coherent way of reading them. There is a possibility of reading these blocks in multiple ways: each time readers enter Tierra their choices can be different.

Figure 2. Index of words and plots in Tierra de extracción

For me, as a reader, the experience of trying to find a coherent narrative was like playing a game. I explored different ways of reading before establishing a reading network that allowed me to follow a coherent narrative. It was like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, trying several times before finding the pieces that fit together. When you get to the word ‘tristeza’, where the story ended for me, the reader has to choose between two doors in order to begin exploring other ways of reading.

This gives the reader the sense of a circular narrative where he/she is going back and forth throughout the story. This circularity connects symbolically to the situation of exploitation in Venezuela, expressed in the plot concerning the extraction of petroleum. The exploitation is expressed in the fact that the actors may change but the vices of exploitation remain the same. At the same time, the stories continuously repeated in Menegrande concern issues not only found in Venezuela, but also in the whole of Latin America: the exploitation of natural resources, poverty and the precariousness of life, and the dependence on transnational conglomerates, among others. As Thea Pitman posits: ‘This is a novel that talks about Venezuela, the National State and its insertion in the global economy through the petroleum industry’ [3] (2010, 223). This critical position allows us to include this hypermedia novel in the Latin American literary and cultural tradition regarding aesthetic-political practices that denounce exploitation, the abuse of power, domination and exclusion. This can be summed up by the following quote that is linked in the text to the word ‘fácil’: ‘Land extraction not only offers the wealth of its soil to the looters, but also allows for the robbing of its people. Not only is gold extracted, but also life; along with petroleum, social and cultural values; with the cars stolen, morality; with biodiversity, love; with money, reason. In order to extract, souls must be bought. Nothing is easier than that.’ [4] (Tierra)

Many of the elements in this narrative could bring us to magical realism, a concept used to describe certain works of Latin American literature in relation to their magical and exotic elements. This is the analysis that Thea Pitman develops in relation to Tierra (2010). For example, the story about the Fuentealba sisters in the novel is reminiscent of Gabriel García Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. One of the sisters, Miriam Fuentealba, leaves Menegrande to break from the tradition of locking up the women in the town and she only returns to prove that she is free to leave and come back whenever she wishes. Her two sisters, Cecilia and Cristina, are mute. Cecilia became mute because talking bored her as much as watching movies. Cristina is physically paralyzed and is also mute. The three sisters can only communicate using a kind of guttural-intuitive language.
Another element that connects to magical realism, according to Pitman, is the sexual exploitation of women as a metaphor for the extraction of petroleum. The men who arrive at the Mene (which is also an indigenous word that means petroleum) extract the natural resources and leave. However, they not only extract petroleum, but also the lives of the inhabitants, especially women. There is an analogy between land and women, where ‘She cannot be owned by anyone who does not humiliate her’. (Tierra de Extracción, ‘Vuelta’). With regard to this, Pitman proposes that ‘(…) the prophetic and baroque tones both coincide in the narrative, as do travel and prodigious sexuality, the cultural and sexual encounters, and the resulting heterogeneity and coexistence of radically different worlds that constitute Latin America’[5] (2010, 225). Nonetheless, for Pitman, it is much more important that Chiappe ‘(...) has the capability to transfer García Marquez’s world into the digital medium and he has explored the additional different facets of this new medium with great results, particularly, his ability to manipulate complex temporalities’ [6] (2010, 225). However, beyond the possible relation that Tierra could have to magical realism, Chiappe inserts Latin American conflicts in this digital production, which are transferred and re-signified in cyberspace and digital culture, where forms of colonization persist not only in their traditional form, but also in the content and language that circulates trough the World Wide Web.

In another dimension, the play-oriented nature of Tierra, which can be extrapolated to most hypermedia, indicates a change in the way of reading. The narrative is conceived as a game that the reader has to explore, making decisions and participating in a narrative that must be activated to appear on the computer screen. Therefore, the reader can be defined as an operator, defined by Galloway as: ‘the player or operator is an individual agent who communicates with the software and hardware of the machine, sending codified messages via output devices’ (2006, 2).

One could argue that interaction is not something exclusive to electronic literature, because readers of print novels interact with the text through interpretation. Furthermore, there were experiments with hypertext before the digital era: the readers of Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Julio Cortázar (2006) can interact with the novel, having the option to read it in two different ways, as indicated by the author at the beginning of the novel. However, hypermedia introduces other levels of interaction in literature, radicalizing experiments undertaken in print literature and extending the possibilities of hypertext. In this sense, hypermedia behaves like videogames, where different levels of interaction are available. As Galloway (2006) proposes, the digital medium is one based on action, where readers cannot ‘read’ a game like they read a text, or ‘listen’ to it as they listen to music. Readers become players, because participants must play, must create, construct, activate and discover. The reader must activate the codes that contain the information of the narrative game in order to make the novel display and act.

Thenceforward, in Tierra the reader not only reads and interprets, but behaves as if playing a videogame: as Galloway puts it, ‘people move their hands, bodies, eyes and mouths when they play videogames’ (2006, 4). Together with this – and related to the actor network theory developed by B. Latour (2005) or the cyborg theory of D. Haraway (1991)– Galloway posits that machines perform an action as a reply to the stimuli introduced by reader-gamers when they activate codes. From that point on, the codes activated by readers simultaneously activate narratives, links, characters, music, animations, and so on. In this sense, Tierra works as an algorithmic cultural object (Galloway 2006, 6) because it mediates between the reader and the machine, both actors that perform actions. In this context, the reader is invited to adapt to a new form of reading and interaction with narratives, which certainly modifies their modes of perception. Such a change can be compared with Benjamin’s (2007) analysis of the modifications in human perception introduced by the increasing access to books, cinema and photography that occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century.

What Tierra demonstrates is that hypermedia literature goes beyond the introduction of a labyrinthine text structure, by adding visual, audio and animated resources, each of these having its own narrative. This is one of the characteristics of electronic literature: it is a literature created to be read on an electronic device that radicalizes the hypertextual experience seen in some print texts by multiplying the links and adding other textualities to that structure. It is interactive in the sense that it requires a reader who activates a language of codes in order to unfold narratives, where the digital medium mediates between the reader-player, the machine and the author. The significance of electronic literature is strongly related to the materiality of digital technologies because it transforms the ways in which literature is produced, reproduced, created, appropriated, read and distributed, almost in the same way print technologies and books transformed literature several centuries ago.

Thus, readers create their own narratives by making connections among the different narratives and activating the codes programmed by the author(s). Literature becomes a game, in which readers, machines and authors enter into a process of mutual affect and feedback. The action happens at different levels: technology affects subjectivities through the production of cognitive changes and the activation of new modes of perception; readers and authors affect the meanings of technology and its uses when they create, appropriate, connect, and produce networks and ways of life.

It is worth clarifying at this point that I depart from the idea that readers do not take the place of authors in electronic literature. There is an extended bibliography in which we can observe a controversy around this topic, from George Landow (2006), Espen Aarseth (1997), Lev Manovich (2005), and Katherine Hayles (1998), among others. My position is that the author in electronic literature does not lose control over the creation process, even when talking about collective authorship. Interacting and following links does not transform readers into authors. It would be the same as asserting that when readers interpret a novel they become authors of that same novel. Accepting such a statement would be a false interpretation of what Barthes or Foucault [7] proposed concerning the “death of the author” regarding the process of interpretation. However, interpretation and, currently, the multiple connections that readers can make in electronic texts, allow them to create beyond author’s control. In this sense, the text acquires its own life, beyond the control of the author. It can be seen in the viral (re)production of copies, remixes and samples of different kind of texts, music and videos on Internet. I will come back to this later, to analyse the viral practices mentioned and its political consequences.

Even though the function of the author still exists in electronic literature, the reader has greater liberty regarding where to start, links to follow or putting the puzzle together. In summary, we can observe a change in the function of the reader when approaching electronic literature, where what is demanded from them is more than interpretation. Secondly, a modification of the relationship between the reader and the author is established with regard to the digital medium, both participating in an imaginary realm provided by the literature where networks have a central role mediating their relation, the interchange of ideas and their interactions with technologies. In this sense, electronic literature contributes to a collective imagination where social relationships are produced, or “ways of life” as described in the relational aesthetics analysed by Nicolas Bourriaud (2009), which are strongly related to the social changes introduced by new technologies in different aspects of our social life.

Hypermedia as Rhizomatic Textualities

Hypermedia are like rhizomes, using the term in Deleuze and Guattari’s (2009) sense. In Tierra, we have seen how music, oral narration, the written word, animations and visuals work as nodes connected to each other, but at the same time keeping their singularity. Hypermedia becomes a radicalization of the previous experimentation with hypertext in print. Therefore, hypermedia narratives are comparable with a labyrinth: Jorge Luis Borges would have called them ‘labyrinths of symbols’ (2007, 25). In The Garden of Forking Paths, the author describes a book composed of semantic labyrinths as follows: ‘Ts’ui Pen must have said once: I am withdrawing to write a book. And another time: I am withdrawing to construct a labyrinth. Every one imagined two works; to no one did it occur that the book and the maze were one and the same thing’ (2007, 25). Borges was describing a non-linear structure, a network of interconnected words and texts. Each reading is a new experience, a different reading, where characters acquire different dimensions. The central idea points to the fact that each time we read, the story will never be the same.

Julio Cortázar (2006) experimented with this labyrinthine structure in Rayuela, the first Latin American hypertext. What if Cortázar had had access to the current technologies when writing Rayuela? The novel faced the limits of print: it does not permit the existence of multiple combinations because of the static condition of the printed page. Consequently, the reading paths could not be infinite. However, Rayuela set a precedent. Now, the infinite text imagined by Borges, or the “two options” narrative written by Cortázar, have multiplied and have been brought to life through electronic literature.

Thus, the print format establishes a different kind of textual network, one that requires a different action from the reader and that is displayed in a different time-space: going from one page to another, consulting the referenced texts in a concrete space known as a library, and dialoguing interpretatively with the text. As we can infer from Tierra de Extracción, a digital hypertext copy that models and simultaneously moves the model to other places and experiences. It is structured as a network, in which each block of text functions as a node connected to another, allowing multiple combinations, in a time-space known as virtual. In this immaterial place, different from a physical library for example, connections and references happen immediately in front of the reader’s eyes, just with one click.
In this sense, as mentioned at the beginning of this section of the paper, Tierra is closer to the concept of a rhizome developed by G. Deleuze and F. Guattari (2009), where there is no centre that manages the connections, but the links between texts, people, codes and machines exist on a plane of immanence that produces multiple relations. We can also mention M. Bakhtin (2008) and his theories concerning utterance, heteroglossia, polyphony and dialogism, all of them referring to a chain formed by words, dialogues, conversations, texts, novels, poetry and many other forms of communication founded in cultural production. There is also a related concept in the work done by F. Jameson (1991), who called attention to the necessity of positioning particular historic facts in the contextual chain of social relations in which they happen. All these proposals somehow become palpable and visible in electronic literature: they happen in front of our eyes and we can also manipulate the connections. In Tierra, intertextuality becomes hypermedia, even more so because of the manipulability of the digital medium; the intertextuality of print becomes sampling and remixes in electronic literature.

The Politics of Sharing in Electronic Culture

As we have seen, electronic literature re-signifies or remediates – using Bolter and Grusin’s (1999) terminology – print literature. Several non-linear practices facilitated by electronic literature have been already experimented with in print, even in oral literature, such as hypertextuality, active interpretation, interaction and intertextuality. The difference is that electronic literature integrates into its structure an immediate operability of the non-linear that impacts qualitatively in all the textual experience. From Chiappe and Meier’s hypermedia novel, we can observe how some aspects of print literature are re-created and re-formulated, displaying features that in print only appeared as potential. The materiality of the digital medium not only makes hypermedia possible, but also transforms the practice of intertextuality into something viral, represented by the remixes, samples, assemblages, pastiches and mutations that we can observe in electronic culture. All these phenomena necessarily transform cultural production, its circulation and reception. Electronic literature is part of what I call cultural hacking, which consists of the re-signification of cultural practices that allow us to think in alternative modes of production and creation.

This cultural hacking, where electronic literature belongs, refers to a process of simultaneous mimesis and critique of the dominant informational paradigm present in the current context of informational capitalism. Alan Liu’s description of what he calls ‘destructive creation’ can be used to describe the logics of cultural hacking:
(…) we can call this sublime ‘destructive creation’, the critical inverse of the mainstream ideology of creative destruction (…) In the age of corporatized ‘creativity’, the modernist and originally Romantic premise that critique goes hand in hand with ‘renovation’, which is to say ‘innovation’ and ‘originality’, is now dysfunctional as an overarching aesthetic, no matter how functional creativity may be at lower levels of ideology (…) (2004, 325)
The aesthetics that we can see in Tierra refer, to some extent, to the logics of the informational-capitalist mode of production: decentralization, continuous innovation, flexibility and the reproduction of networks. However, literature is not a pure reflection or representation of reality. Literature is a cultural practice that relates contradictorily to the context that informs the creation process. On the one hand, it is affected by the historical contexts in which it is created, incorporating symbolically and in the literary imagination the forms of power and domination, its discourses, structures and social meanings. However, on the other hand, literature opens up ways of transgression in defiance of those dominant forms which are present today in the commodification of culture and the privatization of information and knowledge.

This transgression is strongly related to the relational aesthetics that we can find in electronic literature. Nicolas Bourriaud defines these aesthetics as the interactivity that occurs in some art pieces and the relationship created with the audience, where the role of the artworks ‘[are] no longer form imaginary and utopian realities, but actually represent ways of living and models of action between the existing real’ (2009, 13). The interactivity in game narratives allows readers to re-signify networks by experimenting with the creative possibilities contained in digital networks.

Consequently, it is not a surprise that Tierra is freely available on the Internet, like most electronic narratives and poetry produced in Spanish. The viral reproduction of social networks – mainly the result of sharing practices on the internet that affect the circulation of software, music, films, books, knowledge, scientific papers, among others, and that are often criminalized under the name of piracy – can also be found in the creative processes and practices of electronic literature. Hence, the multiple networks that we call hypertext and hypermedia are not only aesthetic forms, but also ways of life. Networks are not only a way to organize capital flows and transnational powers, but also refer to how people relate to others, how they organize, and how they create and transmit knowledge.

The fact that Tierra is easily accessible on the internet and does not use traditional property rights inserts electronic literature into one of the main conflicts currently concerning intellectual property. In fact, contrary to the idea that there will be a decrease in innovation as a result of the weakening of property rights because of piracy practices on the Internet, Ernesto Piedras et al.’s (2013) research shows that artists, writers, musicians and cinema producers consider ICT an opportunity for creativity and collaborative work, rather than viewing it as a risk to intellectual property.

The last is a transgression in defiance of the dominant process of the appropriation of intellectual production through patents and copyrights that affect different areas, such as biology, agronomy, genetics, pharmaceutical products, cinema, software, music and literature, among others. The Internet has become the locus of the conflict, being the platform where viral reproduction and the exchange of a variety of information and knowledge happen. This explains the strong reaction of the cultural industry against the sharing practices derived from the digitalization of books, music and films, which are then freely circulated through internet networks. In the current context, these practices have been criminalized as piracy and there have been attempts to stop such practices through the reinforcement of intellectual property rights by such legal initiatives as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and TPP. [8]

Most electronic literature produced in Spanish does not present intermediaries as it occurs in the traditional cultural industry. The majority of electronic works are freely accessible and most of them do not have an explicit copyright or they use Creative Commons licenses. In Chiappe and Meiers’ hypermedia, there are no explicit intellectual property rights involved, either copyright or Creative Commons licensing. In fact, in an interview with Chiappe in 2012, [9] he declared that Creative Commons licenses do not represent anything really new for literary practice, because plagiarism, remixes and intertextuality have persisted despite the attempted use of copyright. These practices are constitutive parts of literature. Thus, Creative Commons licensing is only a new form of regulation of cultural production, maybe freer than copyright, but a form of regulation of creativity nonetheless.
A matter of greater concern to Chiappe is the practice of control performed by the cultural industry. He is not against the moral protection of the author’s creation through copyright or copyleft. However, what seems to be highly suspicious to Chiappe is the current attitude of the cultural industry, which, using the argument of defending authors’ creations has the hidden goal of keeping control over the economic rights that intellectual property protects. In the last decade, movements that defend the free circulation of culture have spread the idea that the benefits of economic rights do not end in the hands of the author, adding that this creates more barriers to the access to culture; this has created a consciousness in artists and writers that has been growing in the field. In relation to this, the reception mechanisms of the new technologies have allowed authors of electronic literature (and also other arts) to critique the role of the cultural industry and the commodification of the literary work evident in modern literary production for several years by actually avoiding the dominant practices of distribution of culture.

Thus, Tierra belongs to a cultural movement that includes art, music and cinema, related to the appropriation and re-signification of the digital as part of a critique addressed at the control initiatives coming from cultural industries and their politics of intellectual property right reinforcement. Thus, experimentation in electronic literature not only happens at the level of creation and the use of digital technologies in the context of production. Beyond that, there is a practice of political aesthetics related to networks of creativity, communication and sharing.

Literary Experimentation as Cultural Transgression

As analysed in this paper, electronic literature is a cultural form that cannot be separated from the context in which it is produced, establishing a contradictory relation with that context. The networks of social relations and creative assemblages to which electronic literature belongs are possible because of the Internet and – at the moment – the failure of the efforts at control displayed by cultural industries and other actors within the dominant culture in capitalism. Tierra is only one example among many in cultural production of the changes introduced by the forms of reception of digital technologies in cultural creativity.

Understanding cultural creation processes in the current electronic culture means paying attention to not only to the aesthetics of the digital medium, but also its politics. The uses of new technologies in literature, the changes in the author’s subjectivity and the mechanisms of reading cannot be fully grasped without referring to the contexts that inform these practices. From the case analysed, we can infer that hypermedia and electronic literature experimentation in general are being affected by global networks and the power of cultural industry, as well as by free culture, piracy and sharing practices on the Internet. In this sense, literary experimentation preserves its transgressive character, not only with regard to the dominant aesthetics in literature, but also in relation to dominant practices in culture that are strongly linked to the capitalist mode of production.


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[1] Since 2015 La Huella de Cosmos is not available online anymore. Chiappe decided to re-design his personal webpage and he did not include this work in the new web. Currently it is possible to find references to “La Huella” in Biblioteca Virtual Cervantes and Electronic Literature Knowledge Base (ELMCIP).
[2] There are many authors that have highlighted this specific feature of digital hypertexts, such as Katherine Hayles (2008) and Espen Aarseth (1997). As a matter of fact, Aarseth proposes the following: “Trying to know a cybertext is an investment of personal improvisation that can result in either intimacy or failure. (…) The cybertext reader is a player, a gambler; the cybertext is a game- world or a world-game; it is possible to explore, get lost, and discover secret paths in these texts, not metaphorically, but through the topological structures of the textual machinery” (4)
[3] From the Spanish: ‘Esta es una novela que trata de Venezuela, el Estado Nación y su inserción en la economía global por medio de la industria del petróleo’. The translation is mine.
[4] From the Spanish: ‘La tierra de extracción no solo ofrece la riqueza de sus suelos a los saqueadores, también permite que se asalte a su gente. Se extrae el oro, pero también las vidas; junto al petróleo, los valores; a los autos robados, la moral; a la biodiversidad, el querer; al billete, la razón. Para extraer se compran las almas. Nada más fácil’. The translation is mine.
[5] From the Spanish: ‘(…) Los sobretonos proféticos y barrocos también coinciden, como lo hacen los temas de los viajes y de la sexualidad prodigiosa, de encuentros culturales o sexuales, y la resultante heterogeneidad y coexistencia de mundos radicalmente diferentes que constituyen Latinoamérica’. The translation is mine.
[6] From the Spanish: ‘(…) ha transferido exitosamente el mundo garcía-marquezano al medio digital y ha explotado las facetas adicionales del nuevo medio con buen resultado, en particular su habilidad para manipular temporalidades complejas’. The translation is mine.
[7] See M. Foucault, What is an Author? (1969), and R. Barthes, Death of the Author (1968).
[8] SOPA (Stop Online Piracy), ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), PIPA (Protect IP Act), TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
[9] Interview undertaken by email in the context of the research conducted for the Phd dissertation.

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