• One Hundred Thousand Billion Processes: Oulipian Computation and the Composition of Digital Cybertexts

    Kevin Brock (see profile)
    Poetics and Poetry
    Composition, Critical code studies, Digital humanities, Digital rhetoric, Software studies
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    Scholars of, or interested in, rhetoric have an opportunity to build upon the emerging body of work from the fields of software studies and critical code studies in order to explore the potential for meaning-making made possible through code and its expression(s). Over the last decade, rhetoric has significantly expanded to incorporate image, sound, video, and game play into its domain, especially in regards to rhetorical acts facilitated by computers. However, there has been relatively little scrutiny of the rhetorical value and agency of the procedural structures on which these acts are constructed. In order to draw attention to how code works rhetorically, this article examines three Oulipian “cybertexts,” works that a) are more interested in the “potential” texts they can create than the importance of any particular outcomes, and b) demonstrate their underlying mechanisms as integral components of their expression. There are several key observations for rhetoricians to be gained from these examinations, and the most notable is the capacity for action made possible through their composition in code and through their expressive performances. Each cybertext conveys meaning through its potential to induce change in human and technological audiences through the code and natural languages that comprise it.
    This article was originally published (and is still available to view) online at http://tcjournal.org/vol2/brock
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    2 years ago
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