Entanglements: an exploration of the digital literary work FISHNETSTOCKINGS

Aesthetics of Hybridity = Collage


Collage disrupts. It is an artistic practice that refuses linearity, stability, or hierarchy. It repurposes and rearranges pieces of (often) different media formats into the same visual frame, but it does so by calling attention to the fact that these pieces/elements had previous embodiments.  Collage is thus about transformation and hybridity.

If we understand that collage is a cut and paste practice, collage is also central to computing. As Lev Manovich claimed (back in 2001, in his seminal The Language of New Media), “The avant-garde strategy of collage reemerged as the ‘cut-and-paste’ command, the most basic operation one can perform on digital data” (xxxi). In other words, collage is part of computational culture and artistic creation. Its role in FISHNETSTOCKINGS , then, invites consideration of collage as code practice.

FISHNETSTOCKINGS contains imagery of sea creatures and monsters that suggest an indigenous history of mermaids rather than just a white, Victorian one aligned with Hans Christian Andersen’s tale and time.  The imagery of monsters, jumbies, and powerful deities mixes with the imagery of textiles— an art form of folk and craft that has been largely marginalized by white, Western culture. FISHNETSTOCKINGS uses digital technologies, and the collage practice central to these technologies, to layer visual references in ways that remind us that history—and mermaid history in particular-- has a long tail and deserves careful attention and excavation.

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