Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Writing, copying, assembling

'Writing is an act of poaching: stealing phrases, words, scenes, and experiences from the world around oneself, rearranging them, and in so doing, claiming selected bits for oneself as an author. The performance of writing makes concept into material - in the materiality of process, if no longer in the materiality of print. The act of reading is writing's second material moment. Partial, arbitrary, strategic, writing is translation: it is a struggle for meaning, not necessarily the "correct" meaning, but rather the will to be meaningful and communicate with recognized authority.' This is how Kien introduces his chapter on ANT Phillip Vannini's collection called 'Material Culture and Technology in Everyday Life', and it certainly is a wonderful description. It extends and repositions the idea of writing as copying or remixing; a subject that I've posted about before. The Vannini book is pretty good reading. I've been a fan of Vannini's since coming across his work on the social semiotic of the tanned body, and this diverse collection (recommended by Tetra) is certainly no disappointment. I particuarly enjoyed Noy's account of the domestication of the family car, and Richardson and Third on mobile media. If you're interested, you'll find a more exacting critique of the book here.

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