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Send: Act: Perform

Klich, Rosemary E. (2013) Send: Act: Perform. Performance Research, 18 (5). pp. 101-107. ISSN 1352-8165. (doi:10.1080/13528165.2013.828935) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:45378)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
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The process of composing and editing emails, sms texts, tweets, blogs and Facebook messages, rehearses the digital text in an often non-linear dance of ‘cut’, ‘paste’ and ‘delete’. Digital writing is inherently unfinished; it has no instantiation but exists only as pattern that can be reshaped and rewritten. Right up until the moment we press ‘send’. Sending cannot be undone; it ends the process and produces a final product for consumption. Pressing send instantiates the digital text, bringing it to completion and into the world. The act of sending performs the writing, transferring it from author to audience.

This article explores digital writing as inherently ‘unfinished’, in constant flux and potentially disappearing. It exists this way until it is sent or posted as a message; the act of sending brings something into being that was not previously accessible, and this article will examine the explicit performativity of this act through the lens of Speech Act Theory. The act of pressing send is both performative and a performance. Unlike many performatives that can, as Eve Sedgewick explains, be undone or revoked (taking back a promise, having a marriage annulled) sending or posting text into the cyber-sphere is nigh impossible to erase.

The act of sending also provides an example of the unification of user and machine, of fingertip and keyboard, and this article will further explore the ‘grafting’ (Anna Munster) of human and machine in the specific example of sending information, questioning where and when exactly the performance takes place. While this is an example of user-to-user interaction via media, with the interplay between user and machine typically involving command and response, the example of pressing send appears to complicate this simplicity; sending is accomplished collaboratively.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13528165.2013.828935
Additional information: Special Issue: On Writing and Digital Media
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P87 Communication. Mass Media
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The theatre
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: R. Klich
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2014 09:37 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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