Writing Machines

Supplemental artifacts


And some notes

Hayles's project
To define a material based media based critical perspective from which to read and interpret and write texts. Which this book is an example of.

The humanities tradition is to see the book / lit as immaterial construct. Pure. To overlook the elements of materiality that guide and shape reading of something that guides meaning.

p 96 acts as a reminder that the novel or book is not a window or a magic carpet that takes readers to new places. It's inscription. That history is not history but historiography.

But the book is an interface.
Both physical - pages, reading order, closed unit - all of which shape reading. Taken together, these are inscription technologies.

Book is also a material metaphor. We can see this: to change the material artifact is to change the network structuring the relation of word to world.

Mediation and representation
There is no meaning w/o mediation. No im-mediate meaning. By the same token, what we take in, create, confront, is a representation of meaning. And mediation is material.

H's example is HOL. The novel is supposed to be an account and written description of a film: the film re-mediates the events, the book re-mediates the film, which places readers at two removes from the events. Then we discover - in the way the book unfolds - that a) there are events recounted in the book that could not be narrated, and b) that the film is lost and might never have been made. At this point, the book stands as a material re-re-mediataion of events that weren't recorded. Similar: 1001 Nights. Embedded narratives as maintaining one's life.

and Technotexts as an alternate term for the kind of text that brings the text's technology into play. Technotexts can be digital but don't have to be. The emphasis is that every text is a technology.

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