Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 368.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2002 06:43:17 +0000
From: email@example.com (Francois Lachance)
Subject: stand to deviate - deviate to stand
Not quite sure how the three categories I identity at work in your
reading of Goodman on the languages of art interact
and how they could map onto "deviations" created by the productive acts of
either digital imaging (preservation) or editing (transcription) OR how
the notation-interpretation-reproduction trio could map onto the
performative acts involved in the consumption of cultural artefacts.
In any case would not this dynamic also be at work in any viewing of the
"orginal" whether it resulted in the production of an image, a
transcription or a reading? And does this not almost make your question:
> So, then, if I am right, the digital less can be more than imaging is able
> to provide. Could this be what it means to reimagine a work in the new
Do not such questions revolve not only around the materiality of the
artefact that serves as a notation, interpretation or reproduction but
also around and through the skill and knowledge of the observers,
interpretants and performers? The judgement on the felicity of any
deviance is social.
If one were to consider the phenomenology of the genesis of a cultural
artefact and apply it to a trans-media context, one could supplement
(supplant?) the deviance question by analogy with the verbal being
composable of the auditive and the visual and assume that the objects of
one medium (digital image) and another (transciption) can be so housed in
the mind of a human being so that a complex decomposable object comes into
being. I know that this is a convoluted way to suggest that "multimedia"
events are at work/play even in the simplest encounter between a human
being and an artefact or rather that resident in such objects are
themselves the traces of previous events.
Cage reminds us of the irreducible singularities (accidents of time and
place) that make each human body an individual sensing machine with its
own tolerances for deviation. What Goodman does is remind us of the human
body as self-and-other observing --- we communicate about our sensing
through our senses. What allows us to circumvent some difficulties in
logical typing that such an arrangement could produce is the
"multi-sensory" nature of the human sensorium. We can parse with the ear,
the eye and touch at different rates. And the memory of those parsings is
comparable. What we compare are memories not sensations. By now I've
substantially deviated from your propos. Allow me to conclude by
indicatiting that a notation, an interpretation, a reproduction, all bring
us into the ambit of the question "what does it mean to compare" for all
three are objects in themselves as well as tools to indicate relations
between objects. Let me emphasize the last point: reproductions,
interpretations and notations are "tools". And tools have contexts of use.
That may be a felicitously devious turn of phrase that complicates a
reading of Goodman but it does try to point towards the anthropological
literature that contextualizes the aesthetic in the social. Readers of
Margaret Mead or Gregory Bateson will recognize a pattern as a
technology for living. Non-readers of the anthropological literature will
also recognize that a pattern is a technology for living. It is a
recognition that is not always forgrounded -- it brings intimations of
mortality in its wake... disintegration like deviance is patterned.
I probably have failed to reproduce your interpretation which in my
case is not that queer.
tending to query
Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large,
knows no "no exit" in a hypertext
every cul-de-sac is an invitation to turn
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