Digital Landscapes

Hej!  My name is Lisa Swanstrom, and I am delighted to be a new postdoctoral research fellow here at HUMlab. I have a background in literary studies (I earned my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2008), and while I am at HUMlab I will be working on a project that considers digital simulations of natural spaces in light of literary and artistic tradition.    Some of the artworks that I will be exploring in this project include Keith Armstrong’s Intimate Transactions, Char Davies’ Ephémère, and Jeffrey Shaw’s ConFIGURING the Cave.  I am interested in the way such installations are coded, as well as the way code participates in the aesthetic experience they engender.

still, Intimate Transactions

Still shot from /ConFIGURING the Cave/

still, ConFIGURING the Cave

Still shot from /Ephemere/

still, Ephémère

It seems to me that such works both emerge and depart from the Romantic tradition of constructing and expressing the self in relation to nature, as well as Romantic discourse about nature, imagination, selfhood, and the sublime. In Romantic expression, the subject’s sense of self is tightly coupled with the experience and expression of nature, and I am eager to test to what extent digital simulations and experiences of natural spaces participate similarly  in the construction of selfhood.  I am particularly interested in the way that code offers the reader-user-player a way to attach him or herself to the artwork in a process of “digital suture.”   Right now I am calling this project “Digital Landscapes,” but I am hoping to settle on a sexier title before too long.

I am also currently revising a book project entitled “,” which traces the way that the emergence of network technology influenced expressions of subjectivity during the dot-com-boom-and-bust of the mid nineties to the turn of the century.

My larger research interests include twentieth-century literature, digital culture, the literature of the fantastic, (new) media theory, and science-fiction.  I would welcome the opportunity to discuss any of the above and am excited to learn more about projects going on here at HUMlab and UU.  You can contact me at

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