Friday, November 11, 2016
Julia Gillen has teased me about this in private, but I suspect that she might agree that somehow online first is a bit of a shadow - more correctly a foreshadow, of the real thing. Or perhaps real is the wrong word altogether, it's maybe just that we live in a world of different kinds of objects, and that print forms have their own place in this order of things. This is a key point in the book Literacy, Media, Technology that I'm referring to. The book is an edited collection, and the subtitle: Past, Present and Future presented an opportunity for Becky Parry, Cathy Burnett and myself to interrogate that linearity, the slow and inexorable passage of time or the mad dash into the future - or whatever version of the progressive modernist narrative that you might subscribe to. Things can only get better? Maybe. But actually things co-exist, they resonate back and forth in interesting ways. And so, we take a stand against that popular phrase 'the future has arrived', opting instead for a view that it just hasn't happened yet. In a way we're more interested in the present and the way it is infused by the way things were and our ideas of what they might become. But apart from all of this, the excellent chapters, written by some of the finest academics in the field, are in conversation with one another, and in the final stages of the editing process it seemed as if they had something new to say about the inter-relationships between literacy, media and technology, at least to gesture towards a new conceptualisation of their interconnectedness, an interconnectedness that was always there but had to be found, and had never been fully articulated before. It feels good to hold on to that, and at least as good as holding the book itself, as a thing.