Sex Dolls, Mice, and Mother’s Suitcase

  • Derek Owens


Two events in the 1990s changed how I think about possibilities for student writing. Most conspicuous was the arrival of the World Wide Web, creating practically overnight composition’s most significant and promising working space. Because text, image, and sound collaborate in this virtual landscape, composing for the web requires not just an aesthetics of juxtaposition but a poetics of information environments (or environments of information poetics) the implications of which we’ve yet to fully appreciate. Before the web it was easier to think of writing as a more self-contained phenomenon; since then, to think of writing as removed from graphics, photography, video, WAV files, and animation seems almost fetishistic. While it will take some time (if ever) for English Departments and fields such as composition studies to recognize that writing now implies working in sound, image, and movement as well, the World Wide Web and its attendant technologies have caused writing to mutate into something more and other than what it was.


English Department Student Writing Assigned Reading Hybrid Project Aesthetic Response 
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Copyright information

© Joan Retallack and Juliana Spahr 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Owens

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