The Inexorable Speed of Pop - Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries' Dakota: a contemporary landscape?

In this presentation I discuss Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ flash poem Dakota (2004) from three angles: control of speed, re-appropriation and remediation, and literariness.

Dakota uses simple effects, such as moving text and music. It controls its reading speed and time ruthlessly: the only option for the reader is to start the poem and try to keep up with the fluctuating speed – or not read at all. Since starting the poem, there is no controlling its presentation. Thus, one aspect of digital literature, interaction, is totally absent.

How does this control affect the reading experience? Dakota emphasizes some parts by slowing them down and/or increasing the size of letters, and de-emphasizes other parts by moving the text at an almost illegible speed. The poem takes control away from the hands of the reader. Lack of control and the poem's speed are central to experiencing Dakota.

Dakota’s intertexts and its use of them makes it an especially interesting case. The poem is based on a curious close-reading of Ezra Pound’s Canto I&II insomuch as it re-appropriates the two cantos into contemporary scenery to the minutest detail. Furthermore, Cantos I&II famously re-appropriate Homer’s Odyssey Book XI. Thus in Dakota we have a re-appropriation of a re-appropriation that is also remediated. Dakota also has numerous references to popular culture and its icons.

I will discuss how the elements mentioned above affect the poem’s meaning through a close-reading that takes the intertextual connections into consideration. What kind of a landscape does Dakota paint?

Due to its high-modernist and classical intertexts, Dakota is also an excellent platform for a discussion of literariness in digital literature.