Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Plurality Plus

Over at the original video blog (i.e. the first one I ever heard of), text carries the day. The Theorist quotes Barthes saying:
The Text is plural. Which is not simply to say that it has several meanings, but that it accomplishes the very plural of meaning: an irreducible (and not merely an acceptable) plural. The Text is not a co-existence of meanings but a passage, an overcrossing; thus it answers not to an interpretation, even a liberal one, but to an explosion, a dissemination. The plural of the Text depends, that is, not on the ambiguity of its contents but on what might be called the stereographic plurality of its weave of signifiers (etymologically, the text is a tissue, a woven fabric). (p. 159.) Barthes, Roland. “From Work to Text.” Trans. Stephen Heath. Image–Music–Text. London: Flamingo, 1977. 155–64.
This, of course, explodes the idea of Text as is and points back to the polyvocal discourse or "polyphonic dialogue" of the Russian formalists like Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin and Viktor Shklovsky whom early hypertext theorists were quick to glom on to to help nurture their research excursions into the possiblilities of what I am now calling intersubjective jamming. It ends up that these hypertextualists, those who came before all of the hype (like Benjamin, Bakhtin, and Barthes) and those who came after (like Bolter, Landow, and the author of Hypertextual Consciousness) were right: the Text that has an excess, that leaks into the fluid discourse of the compositional playing field, is a writerly text, one that
is a perpetual present, upon which no consequent language (which would inevitably make it past) can be superimposed; the writerly text is ourselves writing, before the infinite play of the world (the world as function) is traversed, intersected, stopped, plasticized by some singular system (Ideology, Genus, Criticism) which reduces the plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages. (Barthes, again, this time in S/Z)
The key word in the Barthes quote above is, once again, before, as it signals the state of mind the artist-writer must be in in order to create their best unconscious work.

This relates to other posts here and here.

(And this entry gets nominated for the award for Most Italicized Words In A Single Posting...)

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