:: program This research project aims at analysing the ongoing changes of literary
communication in programmable and networked media, particularly on the
Internet. It is still highly controversial if such networks are only
providing a new – so-called ‘digital’ – archive for all kinds of literary
texts or if new literary forms are emerging whose aesthetic qualities can
only be realised in this medium.
Therefore we heuristically differentiate between “literature on the net” –
i.e. texts which have only been transferred from their original storage
devices such as books or manuscripts to computer servers – and innovative
forms of “net literature”. The main categories of previous approaches such
as digitalisation, collaborative working or interactivity may be used for
describing all sorts of men-machine-communication in computer networks. We,
however, regard the semiotic difference between strings and nets of
signifiers as the foundation of a theory of “net literature” which calls
basic concepts such as “author”, “work” and “reader” into question. In this
context, we regard “net literature” as a test case for media upheavals and
social change in the broader sense.

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