Friday, October 01, 2010

Are all texts virtual?

Looking at books on an e-reader certainly makes you question the nature of the text. Changing the font, adjusting the size and flipping across pages on a handheld device makes you realize that the text isn't the same thing as its material form. What's true for the e-reader is true for the book. The material form and the place of its appearance are the medium which carries the message but not the text itself. In a sense you could argue that the text is virtual and only becomes recognisable at its point of contact with the material world. Pixels on a screen, ink shapes on paper are the result of technological processes that convey textual meaning. To make-meaning we have to see through these processes. I've been arguing that a sort of believing has to take place. Something rather similar happens in dramatic and filmic texts: for most of the time we have to look beyond the artifice. If that's true, are all texts virtual?

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