My research centers on the material and formal relations between contemporary literature and media technology. In my work, I am often drawn to texts and objects that foreground some sort of formal or material extremity—encyclopedism, mass replication and transcription, surplus and excess, error, and deletion. Taking these extremities as points of entry into the aesthetic and philosophical stakes of writing and technology, I work to trace a complex theory and history of textual production across various media in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.
In my current project, Archival Fictions: Materiality, Form, and Media History in Contemporary Literature, I trace a history of media technology through the practice of formal experimentation in contemporary literature. In Archival Fictions, I locate a place for literature as a critical and speculative voice within the emergent conversation regarding media history, attending to a series of crucial questions at the intersection of literary and media studies: how do forces such as ephemerality, obsolescence, and nostalgia shape our understanding of the history of modern media technology? How do print literary authors situate their works and practices in relation to these forces? What does it mean for contemporary authors to treat literary texts as media objects, and what role does literary form play in this treatment? How do authors of print and digital literature each represent their relationship to the archive in terms of issues such as storage, circulation, and deletion?
In addressing these issues, I read novels and poetic sequences by print authors such as Andy Warhol, Don DeLillo, Kevin Young, and Hari Kunzru alongside a range of technological phenomena. I argue that through formal strategies such as error, repetition, ekphrasis, and paratextuality, these authors imagine print literature as an archival technology defined by its capacity for recording, storing, reproducing, and circulating information. In doing so, they rethink the conceits and conventions of literary authorship within the context of modern and contemporary media. Moreover, they use print textuality and materiality to raise crucial questions of obsolescence, futurity, and the relations between media that shape how we understand the broader historical development of technology.
I have also begun working on a second project, Deletions: Absence, Obsolescence, and the Ends of Media. In this project, I trace a history of textual disappearance across a range of twentieth- and twenty-first-century media, from book burning, redaction, and the combustion of celluloid film in the post-World-War-II period to the global circulation of electronic waste and the imminent obsolescence of physical storage media amidst the twenty-first century rhetoric of the digital cloud. These absences, I argue, reveal a counterhistory of media inscription defined by erasure, material instability, and the profound contingency of the archive.