Electracy and Transmedia Studies
Series Editors: Jan Rune Holmevik and Cynthia Haynes
A motto guiding Gregory L. Ulmer's career is from the poet Basho: not to follow in the footsteps of the masters, but to seek what they sought. The responsibility of humanities disciplines today is to do for the digital apparatus (social machine) what the classical Greeks did for alphabetic writing. Ulmer frames online learning as a mode of invention (heuretics), beginning with the invention of konsult itself. Konsult: Theopraxesis describes the invention of a genre of learning that is to digital media what Plato's dialogue was to alphabetic writing.
The Greeks invented the practices of writing (rhetoric and logic) native to the new institution of school (the Academy), fostering a new behavior of selfhood (Socrates). Ulmer adopts this historical precedent as a relay, an inventory for what must be invented again today: a genre of learning, an educational institution, identity behavior. The insight of electracy is that each apparatus augments and institutionalizes one of the primary faculties of human intelligence: theoria in literacy; praxis in orality; poiesis in electracy.
Needed today are not practices of writing, but "theopraxesis" of media. The analytical information economy of literacy required separation and isolation (siloing) of institutionalized intelligence. The multimodality of electracy enables syncretism of faculties into holistic performance: thinking-doing-making; knowledge-purpose-affect. The interface metaphor of Plato's dialogue was an oral conversation during which the illiterate interlocutor is introduced to dialectical reason as Idea. The interface metaphor of konsult is scientific consulting during which anelectrate students encounter plasmatic desire as simulacrum. This new learning is organized around an updating of Justice native to electracy.
Gregory L. Ulmer is Professor Emeritus, English and Media Studies, University of Florida. He is Coordinator of the Florida Research Ensemble, and Joseph Beuys Chair of the European Graduate School. His recent books include Electracy (2015), Avatar Emergency (2012), and Miami Virtue (2012). His current project is Konsult Experiment (www.konsultexperiment.com) a blog affiliated with the Electracy and Transmedia Studies series, edited by Jan Holmevik and Cynthia Haynes for Parlor Press.