to-do list: lost form of Greek comedy?

As an EM-Journal collective (minus one member), presented at MASAL (Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters) at Alma College. It was nice to see what rhetoric and composition folks are doing around the state and was good practice for our (rapidly) upcoming CCCC presentation. I think we were quite hip, as we were the only (and I believe first ever) poster presentation, that also incorporated QR codes, Internet memes, and using YouTube as an audio (not video) hosting platform. And while I enjoyed the experience, it was not priceless; in fact, it had a $75 price tag. A little unreasonable for a student. Perhaps we should have shown those Alma folks what a free (un)conference can do (see WIDE-EMU).

Spring Break is coming to an end, except for me, it never really began in the first place. Of course I had an un-doable to-do list that I didn’t begin to make a dent in. In the car this week, probably while I was thinking about how little time I have, I heard an interview with writer Laura Vanderkam on Talk of the Nation on how to find free time in a day. While her points weren’t anything new, they did serve as reminder enough that I, like many, seem to get my kicks dwelling on how busy I am and how little time I have, including how little I sleep. So, instead of saying I don’t have time to do __________, I’m going to do ___________. While this isn’t terribly innovative, it is discipline enough for me. Since I started grad school, I’ve heard from a couple of my professors that as a student with a life outside of school, one has to make very structured time for themselves. This is something I haven’t been very good at it, or even very consistent/persistent at. What comes with this more structured to-do list is variances in depth. Instead of reading a book I want to get through for research ideas, perhaps just skim it. Instead of allowing reading stacks of articles for class to span an entire day, assign a time for each piece with an hour built in the end to take notes/reflect. Instead of pushing off sewing projects, don’t try to create something in its entirety in one sitting; start something, work on it for an hour and put it away. You get the idea.

Lest I keep this book my professor lent me for another six months (oops) or return yet another stack of books to the library unopened, I am going to read/reflect on three books in an hour’s time because it’s all I have.

Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy, Gregory L. Ulmer; The Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music, Art, and Representation, Roland Barthes; Laws of Media, Marshall and Eric McLuhan.

Roland Barthes

  • Want to get my hands on  a copy of Camera Lucida
  • Who cites Barthes in scholarship?
  • What can I use for him to inform my reserach on visual rhetoric?
  • I. Writing the Visible (II. Music’s body). I am interested in “Image” which is broken down into three pieces: The Photographic Message, Rhetoric of the Image, and The Third Meaning.
  • He is dealing with the press photograph – which is never without text. Barthes is interested in a structural analysis of the photographic message (5)
  • Connotation procedures – trick effects, pose, objects, photogeny, aestheticism, syntax. Connotation is the “imposition of a second meaning upon the photographic message proper” (9).
  • Text and Image: text constitutes a parasitical message intended to connote the image (the image no longer illustrates the words); the connotation efefct differs according to the mode of presenting the words (placement); it is impossible for the words to duplicate the image (14-15)
  • Rhetoric of the Image: he is interested in sign systems (semiotics). He questions, “How does meaning come to the image? Where does the meaning end? And if it ends, what is there beyond?” (22)
  • The image has three messages: the first, linguistic; then a coded iconic message and a non-coded iconic message. He mentions pure image.
  • Erte, or A la Lettre: I believe I saw “a la lettre” used by Geoffrey Sirc. Erte was the psedonym for Romain de Tirtoff, the French artist. Is a la lettre of the letter (alphabetic text)? Barthes writes
  • In order to be known, artists must suffer a minor mythological purgatory: we must be able to associate them quite mechanically with an object, a school, a fashion, a period of which we call them precursors, the founders, the witnesses, or the symbols; in a word, we must be able to classify them easily, to subject them to a label, like a species to a genus (103)
  • No glossary or bibliography. No connections.

Marshall and Eric McLuhan

  • A revision of Understanding Media
  • The pre-atomist multisensory void was an animate, pulsating, and moving vibrant interval, neither container nor contained – acosutic space penetrated by tactility (Proteus Unbound 34)
  • Quoting Harald Hoffding’s The Problems of Philosophy, … discontinuity…more than anything lese brings new content, releases locked powers, and opens up the greatest tasks in the realm of life no less than in the realm of science (39)
  • The paradox today is that the ground of the latest Western technologies is electronic and simultaneous, and thus is structurall right-hemisphere and ‘Oriental’ and oral in its nature and effects. This situation began with the telegraph more than a century ago. Still, the overwhelming apttern of procedures in the Western world remains lineal, sequential, and connected in political and legal isntitutions, and also in education and commerece, but not in enetrainment or art. A formula for complete chaos! (80)
  • Interface, of the resonant interval as ‘where the action is’ in all structures, whether chemical, psychic, or social, involves touch (102)
  • All words, in every language, are metaphors (120)
  • The rest of the book is various “tetrads”, from simple; to more complex; to alternate versions; and finally chains and clusters on topics like “crowd”, “kinetic space”, and “Xerox” (130-131) in “appositional, poetic form” (129).


enhances        reverses into

retrieves         obsolesces

each with a gloss stemming from its respective corner.

  • New media are new languages, their grammar and syntax yet unknown (229)
  • new science vs. old science

Gregory L. Ulmer

  • mentor (?) of Jeff Rice; can see influence on his Rhetoric of Cool in excerpts of Ulmer that deal with funk and thing to thang
  • (deserves a complete reading; especially before any teaching)
  • starts introduction with Basho quote Not to follow in the footsteps of the masters, but to seek what they sought. This fits quite well with fluxus and the anti-art movement I am drawn to that I see as fitting my attitudes and ideas of composition
  • the Internet as a medium of learning (1)
  • EmerAgency, electracy (Ulmer coined ideas)
  • of particular interest, Ulmer’s heuretics as the logic of invention (countering hermeneutics)
  • heuretics: use of theory to invent forms and practices vs. hermeneutics: uses theory to interpret existing works (4)
  • interested in Ulmer and Shipka (and Sirc and Wysocki and Rice) books because they have worked with these invention, these new media, the remakes, remixes, and remediations and thoughtful straying and recombinations with students. This type of teaching/curriculum/doing is possible. And it has structure.
  • On Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, The readymade is the prototype of all procedures of ‘appropriation’, in which an object, image, text, is selected, decontextualized, recontextualized in combination with other selections to form an assemblage…the readymade is a generalization of the photographic principle, a hybrid of photography and writing. In electracy it is possible to write not only with recordings of the spoken word (the alphabet) but with recordings of the look and actions of the whole human body (including the interaction of the body with the world). Conduction is a logic for authoring with readymades. (252-53)

Hour’s up.

One thought on “to-do list: lost form of Greek comedy?

  1. An hour well spent!

    Glad to see your comments about MASAL, too. I fully agree–as you already know–that their pricing structure was, well, curious considering what we actually got from the conference. The facilities must have been free or cheap. They didn’t provide much food, if any (what, coffee and bagels?). So what the registration fees actually paid for is beyond me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s