ELO 2023

11 Jul, 2023

ELO 2023

Join us this summer for four days of digital art and scholarship at the ELO 2023 Conference and Media Arts Show in beautiful Coimbra, Portugal, the 12th to the 15th of July.

The 2023 conference, “Overcoming Divides: Electronic Literature and Social Change,” advocates the dismantlement of economic, political, linguistic, and cultural barriers, focusing on the relation between art and society, as well as on the subversive potential of electronic literature.

Art and literature compulsively respond to undergoing socio-political transformations. Whether overtly committed to social causes or inevitably engulfed by waves of change, writers and artists are influenced by dramatic shifts motivated by local or global issues such as climate change, economic crisis, military conflicts, and repressive or coercive government policies. The field of electronic literature, whose continuous reconfiguration is deeply intertwined with technological advancements, is no exception to this pattern. Equipped with the pervasiveness of network technology, as well as with software that can analyze and portray reality with the utmost detail, electronic literature is harnessed with adequate tools to voice environmental and social concerns and to expose oppressive and corrupt regimes. Highly experimental and focused on an introspective journey that aims to explore the creative amplitude of emerging technologies, electronic literature’s self-reflexive nature is also frequently mobilized to defy normative perspectives over literature and art, as well as to challenge deep-rooted cultural misconceptions.

During this conference, we aim to explore how electronic literature uses its critical media approach, as well as its close affinity with computation, to assume a socially engaged stance. In a time when walls are being raised once again, this conference examines electronic literature’s role in the dismantlement of new and old barriers between people.

ELO23 will be held in a national monument (Convento São Francisco), overlooking the University of Coimbra as well as Coimbra’s Uptown and Downtown areas, both designated World Heritage by UNESCO in 2013. Challenging the social asymmetry represented by the uptown/downtown divide, ELO23 will be extended from the university to the entire city center. Performances will be opened to the public, and exhibitions will take place at different locations in the city, thus integrating ELO Conference into Coimbra’s rich cultural life. Remote (online) participation will be limited to the scholarly dimension of the conference.

We welcome scholarly and artistic proposals that explore a connection between electronic literature and the following themes, among others:

  • the role of literature in social change;
  • collaborative platforms and activist software;
  • digital humanities and memory preservation (archive);
  • environmental damage caused by digital technologies;
  • the impact of climate change;
  • language barriers, translation and linguistic diversity;
  • disabilities and accessibility;
  • mental health, trauma and cognitive diversity;
  • social and economic inequality;
  • digital literacy and societal transformation;
  • gender divide and identity diversity;
  • migrations and border enforcement;
  • hybridity, recombination and multilinearity as aesthetics of subversion;
  • documentary forms and nonfiction narrative.

Electronic Literature Organization (ELO)
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Coimbra (FLUC)

Partners and Sponsors
Center for Portuguese Literature (CLP)
Instituto de Comunicação da NOVA (ICNOVA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Programa de Doutoramento em Materialidades da Literatura, Universidade de Coimbra
Universidade Fernando Pessoa (UFP)
Câmara Municipal de Coimbra
Exploratório – Centro Ciência Viva de Coimbra
Museu da Ciência da Universidade de Coimbra
Berkeley Center for New Media

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