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Electronic Monuments

2005
Author:

Gregory L. Ulmer

Electronic Monuments

An eclectic and surprising study documenting the diversification of witnessing

From a do-it-yourself Mount Rushmore, to an automated tribute to the annual toll of traffic deaths, Electronic Monuments describes commemoration as a fundamental experience, joining individual and collective identity. Gregory L. Ulmer proposes that the Internet makes it possible for monumentality to become a site of self-knowledge, one that holds the promise of bringing citizens back into the political equation.

Gregory Ulmer is a brilliant and inventive critic and Electronic Monuments makes many unexpected connections. An entertaining and enlightening take on American culture.

Paul Delany, Simon Fraser University

While corporations, governmental groups, and public relations firms debated the best way to memorialize the event of 9/11, sites of commemoration could be seen across the country and especially on the Internet. Greg Ulmer suggests that this reality points us to a new sense of monumentality, one that is collaborative in nature rather than iconic.

From a do-it-yourself Mount Rushmore, to an automated tribute to the devastating annual toll of traffic deaths in the United States, Electronic Monuments describes commemoration as a fundamental experience, joining individual and collective identity and adapting both to the emerging apparatus of “electracy,” or digital literacy. Concerns about the destruction of civic life caused by the society of the spectacle are refocused on the question of how a collectivity remembers who or what it is.

Ulmer proposes that the Internet makes it possible for monumentality to become a primary site of self-knowledge, one that supports a new politics, ethics, and dimension of education. The Internet thus holds the promise of bringing citizens back into the political equation as witnesses and monitors.

Electronic Monuments

Gregory L. Ulmer is professor of English and media studies at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Electronic Monuments

Gregory Ulmer is a brilliant and inventive critic and Electronic Monuments makes many unexpected connections. An entertaining and enlightening take on American culture.

Paul Delany, Simon Fraser University