My research focuses on the interplay between different types of media, especially virtual spaces (such as Second Life) and cyberpunk literature, and addresses several main questions:
-What happens to categories such as reader, author, fictional, virtual, and real when media interact?
-Why do virtual spaces look so much like the fictional spaces described in cyberpunk?
-How did cyberpunk fiction influence the development of the Web and the Net?
-Do we “read” virtual spaces the same way that we read fictional texts?
-How does “the fictional” interact with “the real” and “the virtual”?
-How does literature make our world?
Although rooted in cyberpunk texts such as William Gibson‘s Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson‘s Snow Crash, and Douglas Rushkoff‘s open-source novel Exit Strategy, my dissertation is largley a work of literary theory. Many Digital Humanities scholars are building (more or less) interesting DH tools, but few scholars are working to theorize the changing impact of literature or to describe the influence of literary texts on digital spaces. Wolfgang Iser‘s Reader Response Theory, N. Katherine Hayles‘s theory of Intermediation, and Speech-Act Theory, as developed by John Austin and Jacques Derrida, provide the methodological foundation for my project. Many other scholars have influenced my critical perspective, including: Judith Butler, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, J. Hillis Miller, Donna Harroway, Johanna Drucker, Lev Manovich, and Jean Baudrillard.
The focus of my dissertation grows out of my general interest in literature, science, theory, and technology. I find that the world is a strange place, and it is made stranger by literature and the Internet. This project is a simple attempt to figure out what is going on.
My work is motivated by the conviction that art and literature are generative forces in the world, not simply reflections of more powerful economic, political, or technological changes.
Art as contagion, not symptom.