16.368 stand to deviate - deviate to stand

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Dec 05 2002 - 02:03:18 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 368.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2002 06:43:17 +0000
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: stand to deviate - deviate to stand


       Not quite sure how the three categories I identity at work in your
       reading of Goodman on the languages of art interact

              notation interpretation


       and how they could map onto "deviations" created by the productive acts of
       either digital imaging (preservation) or editing (transcription) OR how
       the notation-interpretation-reproduction trio could map onto the
       performative acts involved in the consumption of cultural artefacts.

       In any case would not this dynamic also be at work in any viewing of the
       "orginal" whether it resulted in the production of an image, a
       transcription or a reading? And does this not almost make your question:

    > So, then, if I am right, the digital less can be more than imaging is able
    > to provide. Could this be what it means to reimagine a work in the new


       Do not such questions revolve not only around the materiality of the
       artefact that serves as a notation, interpretation or reproduction but
       also around and through the skill and knowledge of the observers,
       interpretants and performers? The judgement on the felicity of any
       deviance is social.

       If one were to consider the phenomenology of the genesis of a cultural
       artefact and apply it to a trans-media context, one could supplement
       (supplant?) the deviance question by analogy with the verbal being
       composable of the auditive and the visual and assume that the objects of
       one medium (digital image) and another (transciption) can be so housed in
       the mind of a human being so that a complex decomposable object comes into
       being. I know that this is a convoluted way to suggest that "multimedia"
       events are at work/play even in the simplest encounter between a human
       being and an artefact or rather that resident in such objects are
       themselves the traces of previous events.

       Cage reminds us of the irreducible singularities (accidents of time and
       place) that make each human body an individual sensing machine with its
       own tolerances for deviation. What Goodman does is remind us of the human
       body as self-and-other observing --- we communicate about our sensing
       through our senses. What allows us to circumvent some difficulties in
       logical typing that such an arrangement could produce is the
       "multi-sensory" nature of the human sensorium. We can parse with the ear,
       the eye and touch at different rates. And the memory of those parsings is
       comparable. What we compare are memories not sensations. By now I've
       substantially deviated from your propos. Allow me to conclude by
       indicatiting that a notation, an interpretation, a reproduction, all bring
       us into the ambit of the question "what does it mean to compare" for all
       three are objects in themselves as well as tools to indicate relations
       between objects. Let me emphasize the last point: reproductions,
       interpretations and notations are "tools". And tools have contexts of use.

       That may be a felicitously devious turn of phrase that complicates a
       reading of Goodman but it does try to point towards the anthropological
       literature that contextualizes the aesthetic in the social. Readers of
       Margaret Mead or Gregory Bateson will recognize a pattern as a
       technology for living. Non-readers of the anthropological literature will
       also recognize that a pattern is a technology for living. It is a
       recognition that is not always forgrounded -- it brings intimations of
       mortality in its wake... disintegration like deviance is patterned.

       I probably have failed to reproduce your interpretation which in my
       case is not that queer.

       tending to query

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large,
    knows no "no exit" in a hypertext
    every cul-de-sac is an invitation to turn

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