Summer Research Dispatch: Yairamaren Roman Maldonado on Caribbean Literary Portrayals of New Media

01 Oct, 2018

Summer Research Dispatch: Yairamaren Roman Maldonado on Caribbean Literary Portrayals of New Media

Each year, the Berkeley Center for New Media is thrilled to offer summer research awards to support our graduates in their cutting edge work. Below, Yairamaren Roman Maldonado describes how she used the funds to research Cuban and Dominican Republican literary content.

This summer I focused on writing chapters dedicated to Cuba and the Dominican Republic in my dissertation. I was able to visit Cuba for a second time to further explore new media practices in the island. After this, I focused on concluding the first chapter dedicated to the work of Cubanwriter Jorge E. Lage. In this part of the dissertation, I argue that Lage’s database aesthetic (Manovich) in his text Archivo dialogues with Cuba’s political and technological infrastructure. Furthermore, I explore how this aesthetic mediates subjectivities that have been erased from Cuban national discourse. Through these strategies, the writer proposes writing as a performative process that is closer to how we interact with new technologies and distances itself from more traditional literary frameworks.

A fragment of this chapter was published in Cuban cultural criticism journal Hypermedia Magazine—another project I was able to take on thanks to BCNM’s generous grant. I also began the second chapter of my dissertation titled “Afro-caribbean Subjectivities, New Technologies and Catastrophe in Rita Indiana’s La mucama de Omniculé”. In this chapter, which I will continue to develop throughout the fall, I explore how ocean catastrophe and its relationship to fiber optic networks is used as a metaphor to represent the materiality of marginal bodies in the Caribbean. More specifically, this text deals with the marginalization of black bodies in Dominican Republic and reconfigures power relations through a narrative that highly relies on new media. In both cases, these artists have chosen to represent new media through literary content and form in order to develop decolonized accounts of Caribbean history that bring alternative subjectivities to the fore.