In recent years, the refinement of a plethora of visual technologies have made it possible to fabricate images and content – from posts on social media platforms like Instagram to hyperrealistic videogames and CGI – that are virtually indistinguishable from records of reality. In many ways, this development is being experienced as a moment of crisis, articulated in terms of a yearning for the real and the authentic, whatever that might mean.
Drawing on Catherine Gallagher’s seminal text “The Rise of Fictionality,” this talk argues that there is a precedent for such a moment of cultural crisis: the eighteenth century, when the novel rose to prominence. Emerging as it did, the novel offered representations of reality readers believed to be indistinguishable from factual accounts of it, forcing the rise of a new concept of fictionality.
Klimchynskaya argues that in the present moment, we must similarly rework our conceptual categories and usher in a new rise of fictionality by learning to evaluate meticulous representations of the world not through comparison to lived reality, but according to the metrics of fiction. Consequently, we can begin to recognize the infancy of new fictional forms that, like the novel, are predicated upon the affordances of new technologies.
Presentations in the Cultures and Knowledge Workshop Series range across historical and disciplinary boundaries, and provide a major component of SIFK's inquiry into the process of knowledge formation and transmittal from antiquity to present day. Research-in-progress is welcomed and will receive constructive feedback.