Writing with the Australian Archive: Digital Posthuman Approaches to Australian Literature


  • David Wright Nagoya University


Non-Traditional Research Output (NTRO) Statement of Intent

Research Background
This practice-led research was written as part of a broader project into digital literary creative practice. This project explores the process of creating digital-born literature, i.e. works that depend on a computer to exist. It uses Italo Calvino’s Six memos for the Next Millennium as a means to produce digital literary works that renegotiate text and images through recombinant poetics.

Research Contribution
Building upon Natalie Harkin’s concept of archival-poetics, this work employs digital literary techniques to interrogate and navigate the Australian archive. The ‘icastic’ image of the camel is used to lighten and quickly navigate the posthuman weight of the archive. Following text-image practitioners such as W.G. Sebald and Ross Gibson, the initial ‘static’ work is reimagined using curatorial software, augmented reality, and recombinant poetics. This makes a contribution to both Australian archival studies and Australia digital literary practice.

Research Significance
The significance of this work is its use of the icastic image as a prismatic symbol to navigate the posthuman weight of the archive. If the archive is both problematic and posthuman, then such creative research techniques are requisite. Traditional scholarly approaches are limited, so the implementation of creative practice that employs Calvino’s values and digital technologies are necessary to interrogate the archive and address the ‘grave consequences’ (Derrida’s proviso) that result from challenging the processes by which the archive has been established.

Author Biography

David Wright, Nagoya University

David Thomas Henry Wright is an author, poet, digital artist, and academic. He won the 2018 Queensland Literary Awards’ Digital Literature Prize, 2019 Robert Coover Award (2nd prize), and 2021 Carmel Bird Literary Award. He has been shortlisted for multiple other prizes, published in various journals, and received various research grants and fellowships. He has a PhD from Murdoch University and a Masters from The University of Edinburgh, and taught Creative Writing at China’s top university, Tsinghua. He is co-editor of The Digital Review, narrative consultant for Stanford’s Smart Primer project, and Associate Professor at Nagoya University.