**DUE TO PLANNED UCU STRIKE ACTION THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE**
The Aesthetics of Metadata in Contemporary Fiction: Reference, Redaction, and the Archive
Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck)
What are metadata? Usually described as “data about data” or “second-order data”, most people have encountered the term with respect to government surveillance programmes. As the Prime Minister of Australia once remarked that it was important to “be clear about what this so-called metadata is. It's not the content of the letter, it's what is on the envelope”.
In this talk, Martin Paul Eve will explore how various aesthetic qualities of metadata seep into our reading practices around contemporary fiction. Ranging from redaction in Mark Blacklock’s I’m Jack through to analeptic reference in Emily St Mandel’s Station Eleven up to the inter-textual presentation of the archive in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, the ways in which readers are conditioned by various metadata-like structures, this talk will argue, are legion. Indeed, as Eve will show, the deductions that readers can make, in our data- and metadata- structured present, from “what is on the envelope” are far more than we might usually imagine.
Professor Martin Paul Eve is Chair of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London. In addition to many journal articles, he is the author of four books – Pynchon and Philosophy (Palgrave, 2014), Open Access and the Humanities (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Password [a cultural history] (Bloomsbury, 2016), and Literature Against Criticism (Open Book Publishers, 2016). Martin is also heavily involved in policy debates around open-access to research work and is a founder and co-director of the Open Library of Humanities.