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Aware of the impossibility for the individual to truly control the economy of data, the écranvain1 attempts to identify these data and to manipulate them outside of their original frame

Gilles Bonnet, 2017

What is this “écranvain” presented by Literature professor Gilles Bonnet in his book Pour une poétique numérique [In Favor of Digital Poetics] (2017)?

In short: a writer who understands the digital medium, both its potentials and its limits. As the power held by tech giants (or deus ex machina) is concentrated in unprecedented ways, the écranvain is a figure of resistance equipped with lucidty and know-how:

Surely it is their responsibility [the screenwriter] to play the role of vigilant sentinel, whistleblower in the name of a singularity of expression of the world, when this singularity is threatened by a confirmist mercantile horizon which comes from a universal interoperability, which “aggregates information of all kinds reduced to a ‘common’ idiom” with reeks of a “data esperanto” [Éric Sadin, 2015].

Gilles Bonnet, 2017

(See also: literature as field which cannot be reduced to/as data.)

In a world increasingly shaped by technical power2 (where corporations play on the same field as states, with conflicting interests), the écranvain is also a political figure.


  1. In French, Gilles Bonnet’s neologism “écranvain” is a fun contraction between “writer” (écrivain) and ”screen” (écran). ↩︎

  2. Technique enabling operationalization of thought, to put it to execution, why leave the responsibility of writing and manipulating computer code to just the technologists? ↩︎