Panel Theories and Philosophies of Transcodification/2
Session 3 – July 2, 11:00 – 13:00
Transcodification Between Electracy And Performance. An Insight Into Gregory Ulmer’s “Applied Grammatology”
This paper aims to put the conference theme in relation to Ulmer’s thinking on what he has called “applied grammatology” and electracy. Gregory Ulmer is Professor Emeritus of English and Media Studies at the University of Florida; author of books such as Applied Grammatology (1985), Internet Invention (2003), Electronic Monuments (2006). Continuously nurturing a pedagogical interest, Ulmer devoted his research to explore the shift in the apparatus from orality to literacy, and from literacy to electracy. According to him, new media were affecting our moment the way print affected Renaissance Europe, or the way the alphabet affected Ancient Greece. Grammatology -‐ the history and theory of writing – «shows that one of the first uses of a new technology of memory is the recording of the extant works of culture: Homeric epics inscripted in Ancient Greece; Bible printed in Renaissance Europe; novel filmed in modern America. The content of the new media, McLuhan observed, is the old media» (Ulmer 2003: 4). Here, an overlapping of transcodification and re-‐mediation can be easily singled out. Nevertheless, we continue to reproduce Aristotelian categories (which is fine for literacy), when what our civilization needed was the equivalent of literacy for what is now called new media: they were becoming a predominant site of cultural life, and people needed not just to consume media, but become “literate” in media. So Ulmer introduced the term electracy to describe the kind of “literacy” or skill and facility necessary to exploit the full communicative potential of new electronic media. Moreover, he suggests that «performance may be to electracy what definition was to literacy» (38). If this sentence makes any sense, we should take for serious the Biopetics/Literary Darwinism assumption that the basic forms of experience which narratives always expose us to are re-‐enactment, repetition, and re-‐writing – namely, kinds of performance behaviors (Cometa 2017).
(Ph.D., “Sapienza” -‐ University of Rome, Italy). Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Teramo, Italy. Member of the Board of the Ph.D. Programme in “Music and Performing Arts”, “Sapienza” -‐ University of Rome. Main fields of interest: Performance Studies; actors and acting in 2oth and 21st Centuries theatre, film and audiovisual media. Author of five books (among them: Gian MariaVolonté.Illavorod’attore, 1997; Performático. Teoria delle arti dinamiche, 2012; Mediologia della performance, 2013); and several essays in peer-‐ reviewed journals and/or edited collections; editor and translator for Italian collections of essays by Richard Schechner (Magnitudini della performance, 1999) and Diana Taylor (Performance, politica e memoria culturale, Artemide, 2019). Papers presented in various national and international conferences. Member of the Scientific Committee of “La Valigia dell’Attore” (Theatre&Film Festival dedicated to Italian Actors) where he acts as assistant in acting workshops.