Class Thread on Locative Texts (Week 12)

This week’s prompt is provided by Joe:

Many types of e­literature pieces require technology or know­how that wasn’t available until quite recently. Locative texts are no exception and they rely on technology to aid both writer and reader in fully experiencing the literature. It is worth noting, that prior to electronic literature, most forms of literary work were able to be replicated in one way or another without the technological constraints presented by this specific genre. In light of that, what sorts of literary experiences are now available to us that weren’t in the past? In what way does the use of GPS, smart phones and global connections augment our experience in literature? What would we miss out on, if we didn’t have such technology available to us? Specifically, I’m curious about your responses to these questions as they pertain to locative text in particular.



Add yours →

  1. I think locative texts have this ability to make a text seem more real. I think specifically of Senghor on the Rocks in which the cursor is moving through the streets for you. While I was viewing this piece, I kept thinking to myself, “These are real streets, real places, etc.” which brings a sense of realness/truthfulness/reality to the text, even though Senghor is obviously written in another language. Last week, I noticed something similar with “A Silent History,” where the surroundings actually influence the text itself. In contrast, photographs or illustrations in other physical texts seem to be a fixed moment in time.

    To sum it up, GPS and its subsequent use of satellite imagery augments our text in ways that make it seem more real to me. The necessity of suspension of disbelief seems to be shrinking for me with locative texts.


  2. Locative texts have the ability to bring the text, in a sense, to life; however, similar to what I said for the week on augmented reality, it has to be done well. Locative texts strive to have the reader interact more with their surroundings, but this inherently prevents some people from accessing the text and experiencing it fully. Because the reader truly has to be there to experience it, this limits the audience to only those that are close to the specific location.

    “The LA Flood” and “in absentia” are two examples where I thought that the piece simply looked like a map with text that was overlaid with it. It might be classified as locative, but it can still be experienced without GPS capabilities, as can “benda senghor,” which I was fascinated by. However, I can’t conclude that GPS capabilities are superfluous to enhancing the experience of some texts because I have not yet personally experienced geo-locative text. The only piece that I have encountered where that seemed to play a large role is “Silent History” and I’m curious as to how, and even if, the field report enhances the experience. In conclusion, as poorly worded and random as this sounds, I have no idea. But I’ve never really read locative texts before this class, and I still love literature.


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