Date of Award

4-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

Program

English

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Lisa Eckert

Second Advisor

Dr. Russell Prather

Abstract

ABSTRACT

SHIFTING SPACES IN DIGITAL RHETORIC: EPHEMERA IN THE AGE OF INFINITE MEMORY

By

Geoffrey Gimse

The storage capacity of digital systems has expanded at an incredible rate over the past decade. This new and growing space and the rapidly evolving technologies that surround it have become an intrinsic component of the digital creative process, and yet they remain relatively unexamined. The methods by which creative works are offloaded from the human mind, abstracted into data objects, and ultimately placed into an external storage medium are an excellent starting point for this type of critical analysis. This paper seeks to set the groundwork for such an examination by outlining the relationship between storage, memory, and the data algorithms that shape today’s digital systems. By examining digital memory and the storage of text and image from both a software and hardware perspective, it becomes apparent that as storage capacity increases, the relative impermanence and malleability of the objects created within that system also increases. Thus arises an interesting paradox: our ever-growing capacity to store and recall texts ultimately results in the works themselves becoming more ephemeral in nature.

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