Kashtan, Aaron: Writing Yourself into the World. Fantasies of Handwriting and Computer Graphics. Diss. (PhD), University of Florida, Graduate School 2011 (468 S.).
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|Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
BibTeX citation key: Kashtan2011a
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Keywords: "Scott Pilgrim", Animation, Authorship, Canada, Game, Huizenga. Kevin, O’Malley. Bryan Lee, USA, Writing
Publisher: University of Florida (Gainesville)
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This dissertation argues that within contemporary North American culture, fantasies of handwriting function as an important means of negotiating the transition from digital to print culture.Traditionally, handwriting is understood as a privileged means of access to the essential ―self‖ or ―identity‖ of the writer: when we write by hand, we write ourselves into the world. The apotheosis of this view of handwriting is the fantasy of handwriting, a magical scenario in which handwritten letters or drawings take on independent existence and interact with the world. This scenario is a fantasy both because of its unrealistic nature – it does not correspond to the way in which handwriting actually works – and because it expresses a desire: the desire to have a stable, idiosyncratic self, and to write that self into the world.
The fantasy of handwriting takes on particular importance at times – such as the present cultural moment -- when handwriting is threatened with supplantation by newer writing technologies, raising the additional threat that the model of self that underlies handwriting might also disappear. At such times, the fantasy of handwriting is deployed in two ways. Restorative fantasies of handwriting imagine new writing technologies (e.g. digital animation or the Nintendo DS) in terms of handwriting and claim that these newer technologies can still be used to write oneself into the world, despite differing from traditional handwriting. Such fantasies ignore that writing oneself into the world was never possible in the first place, and erase the differences between traditional handwriting and its remediated versions. Reflective fantasies of handwriting facilitate a more mature response to technological transitions. Such fantasies acknowledge their own fantastic nature, recognizing that writing oneself into the world is impossible and that gaps always exist between handwriting and newer writing technologies. However, reflective fantasies of handwriting also acknowledge the desire for handwriting and its associated model of the self.
The first body chapter of this dissertation defines fantasies of handwriting through an analysis of silent animation. Subsequent chapters explore the operation of fantasies of handwriting in four contemporary media: interactive fiction video games, alternative comics, digital animation, and handwriting-interface video games.
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