writing

allegory

For Northrop Frye, "a writer is being allegorical whenever it is clear that he is saying 'by this I also (allos ) mean that.' If this seems to be done continuously, we may say, cautiously, that what he is writing 'is' an allegory." (Anatomy of Criticism, p. 90) Frye points out that all commentary is allegorical interpretation, an attaching of ideas to poetic structure. It thus should come as no surprise that the commenting critic is often prejudiced against allegory without knowing the real reason, which is that continuous allegory prescribes the direction of his commentary, and so restricts its freedom.

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critical history

In The Critical Historians of Art, Michael Podro distinguishes questions that are "archaeological" from "critical" questions. The latter, which address the role and nature of concepts of art, "require us to see how the products of art sustain purposes and interests which are both irreducible to the conditions of their emergence as well as inextricable from them." (pxviii)

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discourse

In proposing to examine the general economy of discourses on sex, Michel Foucault states his objective of defining "the regime of power - knowledge - pleasure that sustains the discourse on human sexuality in our part of the world." (p.11) For Foucault, "the 'economy' of discourses -- their intrinsic technology, the necessities of their operation, the tactics they employ, the effects of power which underlie them and which they transmit -- this, and not a system of representations, is what determines the essential features of what they have to say." (p.69) 

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hermeneutics

Hermeneutically oriented philosophy aims at deciphering the meaning of Being, the meaning of Being-in-the-world, and its central concept if that of interpretation.

In it broadest sense hermeneutics means "interpretation", but in a more specialized sense, it usually refers to textual interpretation and to reading. Reflection on the practice of interpretation arose in modern European culture as the result of the attempt to understand what had been handed down within that culture from the past.

Interpretation (Auslegung ) is now seen as the explicit, conscious understanding of meanings under conditions where an understanding of those meanings can no longer be presumed to be a self-evident process but is viewed as intrinsically problematic; it is here assumed that misunderstandings about what we seek to interpret will arise not simply occasionally, but systematically. (Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember, p 95)

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hypertext

hypertext

In the July, 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Vannevar Bush, who had served as the first director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the agency established by Roosevelt to coordinate federally funded defense research, published an article entitled "As We May Think." In it, he pointed out the increasing gap between the growing mountain of research and the inadequacies of methods for transmitting and reviewing its results, which he blamed in part on the artificiality of systems of indexing. He suggested that the human mind operates by association. "With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain." He proposed "a mechanized, enlarged, and intimate supplement to an individual's memory, a future device" which he called a "memex" using electro-mechanical technology as a device for associative indexing, a reading and writing machine that would allow "wholly new forms of encyclopedias to appear, with a mesh of mesh of associative trails running through them." Users would create "endless trails" of links...exactly as if the physical items had been gathered together from widely separated sources and bound together to form a new book."

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intelligent building

The first thing an intelligent building will learn is your credit card number.
In the opening pages of Ubik, written in 1969 Phillip Dick brilliantly describes a battle between a down and out protagonist and his apartment building, called a conapt. Early one hungover morning, Joe Chip hears the knock of unexpected guests at the door. After verifying that they are not rent robots or creditors, he tries to clean up before letting them in.

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narrative

Why is narration so universal? What psychological or social functions do stories serve? Why is our need for stories never satisfied? And why do we need the "same" story over and over again? (J. Hillis Miller, in Critical Terms for Literary Study.) 

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playtime 1

playtime 1

I entitled this lecture "Playtime" long before I had any clear idea what I would talk about, and during the past few months the title has often seemed to have a life of its own, gently prodding me towards levity, cajoling me to stop attaching excessive importance to every thought, to every turn of phrase. But it is not so easy to think playfully, to escape the censorships, the policing of thought which we all-to-easily succumb to and collude with. (Why is it so hard to play?) In this lecture, I have not altogether resisted the academic urge to define play, to fix in place that which should escape definition, to close what should be open. But, I have tried to follow a path opened up by the idea of play, a path both made and found. I might describe it as a kind of autopoetic search for ways of talking about technology and architecture today, in ways mediated by concepts of both play and time. Thinking about play has also afforded me ways of talking about the formation of subjects, about relations between technology and nature, about the 1960's, and about the politics of liberation.

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playtime 2

playtime 2

Feminist interpretations of gender symbolism offer an important way of correlating the social self and technology. In societies where the nurture of children is gendered labor, the birth of the psychological self is necessarily defined in relation to a mother-world. (An interpretation fetishized by Linneaus when he devised the term mammals, meaning "of the breasts", to distinguish the class of animals embracing humans, apes, ungulates, sloths, sea-cows, elephants, bats, and all other organisms with hair, three ear-bones, and a four-chambered heart.) The difficult and painful social labor of the infant is marked by the contradictory desire to remain in, or return to, oneness with the mother-world, but also to become a separate person. But that world is different for male and female infants, for the mothering received by boys and girls is different. According to Nancy Chodorow, Jane Flax, and other feminist interpretors of "object theory", mothers tend to experience their daughters as more like and continuous with themselves and to experience a son as a masculine opposite. As a result, the identity of the male child entails a stronger sense of separation and control, of self-definition in relation to persons unlike himself, while the female child continues to experience herself in terms of merging and identification. The male child consequently establishes relatively rigid ego boundaries, while the female's remain more flexible, Masculinity comes to be defined through the achievement of separation, while feminity is defined through the maintenance of attachment. The limitations of Banham's relation to technology may well derive from technology's role as a transitional object in a decidedly masculine project of autonomy and mastery. The solution seems to me to lie less in rejecting technology or radically opposing it to architecture but in recognizing the greater complexity of our relations to gender, nature, and technology. (and learning to play) 

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printing

As Elizabeth Eisenstein points out in her study of Printing as an Agent of Social Change , the effect of printing on culture is generally ignored or considered to be so broad and self-evident that it is rarely studied, except by authors such as Marshall Macluhan, who she considers irresponsible. (see electronic media

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ruins of representation

ruins of representation

"Of Exactitude in Science" 
...In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigors of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography. 

From Travels of Praiseworthy Men (1958)
J. A. Suarez Miranda

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topos

The Greek word topos meant literally a place, and ancient rhetoric used the word to refer to commonplaces, conventional units, or methods of thought. For the Ancients, particularly for Aristotle, topoi were rubrics with a logical or rhetorical value from which the premisses of argument derive. In the Renaissance, topics became headings that could be used to organize any field of knowledge. 

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transclusion

The idea of quoting without copying was called transclusion by the designers of Ted Nelson's Xanadu operating system. The most innovative commercial feature of the hypertext system was a royalty and copyright scheme for use without copying. Whenever an author wished to quote, he or she would use transclusion to " virtually include" a passage by pointing to the original. (This function operates like the "make alias" command on the macintosh. It is a pointer rather than a copy.) Literal copying would be forbidden in the Xanadu system. A fee could be charged for transclusion, every time an individual work was being read or quoted. 

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