Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 146.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002 08:42:20 +0100
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Francois Lachance)
Subject: Re: 16.142 visualizing and knowing
A twist of reversal helps me construct a useful blindfold.
> this problem? The performative dimension, of knowing-in-engagement,
> suggests the possibility of alliance with work in multimedia, not in its
> application e.g. to teaching but as a means of thinking.
I'm tempted to develop an alter ego (MW = Mirror Willard) so that I can
contemplate the pairings doubled by the redoubtless*** WM
Teaching is a mode of thinking, no?
Heidegger in the second part of What is Called Thinking? plays with an
etymological twist on a saying of Parmenides to arrive at and depart from
Useful is the letting-lie-before us also (the) taking-to-heart
too... (trans. J. Glenn Gray)
Now I ask if objects invite contemplation, is contemplation always already
a slide towards the visual? Is it possible that appeals to the primacy of
vision (or conversely a rhetoric "deeveeing"** the visual mode) spring
from the defense politics and reaction formations to those defense
politics which underpin the history of cybernetics? I ask because c3i
(command, control, communicate, intelligence) may lie at the edge of the
hesitancy of calls to invoke the performative. There is an economy here
which the very term "visual language" can undercut. If language is a
virus, as William Burroughs writes and Laurie Anderson rewrites, then as
with any language, thinking, that taking to heart what is allowed to lie
before us can be infectious. The vectorness of the viral is mutable (it
can change direction and speed). The modularity of language challenges
attempts to totally control the effects induced by users playing with its
granularity and combinatorial powers. The visual may be imbued with
neither the mobility of the viral nor the modularity of language. One can
imagine such a visual. Can what is in the objects that we may shape that
can neither be controlled nor communicated be commanded? The sentence may
appear contorted upon first reading. It deserves perhaps less a second
reading (with eyes) or even a sounding aloud as an ammendation in the form
of a further question: is Humanities Computing a site where scholars
create and command through a set of performances that could be mapped to a
control lost communication regained
communication lost control regained
This becomes remarkable when the possible paths are envisioned less as a
two-player game and more as a community dynamic.
And so can provide in their being allowed to lie-there for the
taking-heart for a kind of two step digital imagination:
not language not visual
** See John Brunner's 1975 novel _Shockwave Rider_
*** Yes, I meant "redoubtless" and not "redoubtable".
Hoping to be redoubtable in redoubtlessness as WM someday: my initials do
not however form such nice symmetries, though FL does tend to sonorous
I wonder if the Romans made visual puns on the numbers 4 and 6.
-- Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/ivt.htm per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality
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