e-Lit Resource

Aurature. linguistic work valued for lasting artistic merit that has been expressed in the support media of aurality.

Aurality may be understood either as the entirety of distinguishable, culturally implicated sonic phenomena or, more narrowly and with specific regard to aurature, as the entirety of linguistically implicated sonic phenomena.

Aurature must be distinguished from oral literature (in orality or oral culture), for at least two reasons. In the first place, to emphasize that aurature comes to exist more on the basis of its being heard and interpreted rather than on the circumstances of its production (by a mouth or speaking instrument) and secondly, for historical reasons, because contemporary digital audio recording, automatic speech recognition and automatic speech synthesis technologies fundamentally reconfigure – in their amalgamation – the relationship between linguistic objects in aurality and the archive of cultural practice. Whereas, during the literally pre-historic period before writing (linguistic objects in visuality), essential affordances of the archive were denied to oral culture, in principle, the digitalization of the archive allows aurature to be both created and appreciated with all the historical affordances and the cultural potentialities of literature.

This is the currently proposed definition of aurature that most concerns us, but it would be quite appropriate for the term to be applied to the entirety of recordable linguistic practices in aurality, including documentary as opposed to artistic practices, for example – by analogy with literature as it is applied with respect to visually supported linguistic cultural practices.

*Aurature is the established practice of civilizing language that will emerge from our evolving material cultural circumstances.*

This definition can be found at the start of Cayley's essay for the Handbook for Electronic Literature (Bloomsbury, 2018)