Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reading, Thinking, and Reflecting #3

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, chapters 11-15:I am going to wait to comment on this novel for my next post when we have finished reading it all ... Today instead I would like to explore our next text ...

Lingua Fracta, chapters 1-4
I somehow reached my place in life as an English major and teacher without taking classical rhetoric. However, I am lucky because I am married to a Latin teacher who pulled right out of his files this when I asked him about the classical rhetoric canons. I hope you find it helpful too -- I keep mine in my Lingua Fracta book as my reference. My husband says the picture is of him at a younger age ...

I was struck by Brooke saying he was not going to wade into the debate over the definition of new media (xiii). I found this a bold move for someone writing about new media, and his explanation hooked me right in: a look at this definition would take away from what he really cares about, "the practices that these technologies enable and assist" (xiii). This focus on practice spoke right to me as a teacher because I could not imagine teaching without laptops in my classroom. Brooke captures my very thoughts: "Too often our discussions of technology center around 'making room' in our courses for it, at a time when the idea of writing is being transformed all around us. Rebuilding our discipline not just to cope but to contribute to such change seems to me the least of our obligations as writing teachers and researchers" (xix).

So I read these chapters very carefully because I knew the classical terms were new to me, and thus his new media replacements would be equally new. I have started to make a list of terms in my notes, but I do not want to repeat them here. Instead let's explore the idea of proairesis and end with a few more quotes that made me say, "Yes, that's it."
Proairesis -- yes, I looked this up too. The idea of action-driven suspense versus closure-seeking suspense can be seen in Star Trek:

Star Trek TNG, "Cause and Effect"

While you might want to watch the whole show (because of its hermeneutic effect!), just the first few minutes is enough to get you hooked wanting to know how the mystery is solved. Yet, Professor Felluga says something even more interesting -- because we know the main characters are not going to die, we actually are more driven by the action and wanting to see what comes than the mystery involving the lesser characters. Proairesis.

hermeneutics solve the mystery of the closed doorBecause of hermeneutics, I want to know what is behind this closed door so I can satisfy the suspense. The object of the door (the text) is my goal.

Image from Pistaye Blog

proairesis imagines what more can happenBecause of proairesis, I think about what more can happen as the day stretches to the sunshine horizon. The options within and created by the image (the practice of new media) is my goal.

Image from Computers.org

And now some quotes that I am still pondering:

  • "As we turn to the production of interfaces, of digital writing, we require a model capable of taking account of not simply the process leading up to a release, but the activity that follows as well" (38).
  • "I would argue that the technological, as a site of distribution within an ecology of invention, is important for moving from actual to virtual in our inventional practice" (81).
  • "To continue Quintilian's metaphor, we might argue that, just because there is more than one way to walk through a building, this does not make its arrangement (architecture) irrelevant ... The mistakes that each of these writers [Quintilian and Manovich] make is to presume that arrangement must be an all-or-nothing affair: Either a text is painstakingly ordered by its producer and passively consumed or new media is the 'confused heap' that Quintilian warns of ... the issue is not whether arrangement predates our textual encounters, but rather what practices we might develop with new media to make sense of them" (91-92).practice of pattern
I now continue to walk my path through the ideas of Lingua Fracta, employing the practice of pattern between Brooke the author and myself the reader.

I have added alt-text to all of my images in the only way Blogger explains how to do it ... but it is not coming up for me. can you let me know if it comes up for you?


Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. New Dimensions in Computers and Composition. Ed. Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, In., 2009. Print.

Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? New York: Del Rey, 1968. Print.

Felluga, Dino. "Lesson Plans for Narratology: Citizen Kane." Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. [31 Jan. 2011]. Purdue U. [24 Jan. 2012]. .


  1. So why are you still pondering these quotes; what "grips" you about them?
    PS...I didn't see the alt-text as pop-up, java script; however, it was in the page code. :-)

  2. Your image of the labyrinth is so appropriate! Within new media there is usually more than one way to achieve any given outcome. Plus, the image echoes beautifully ideas regarding user experiences. As hypertext and navigation bars offer a non-linear path, this leads users to myriad experiences and progressions. The order of these progressions can impact each of us in different ways.
    As the cover of Peter Morville's Ambient Findability says, "What we find changes what we become."

    Of course because postmodern thought likes to put more of the onus of meaning-making on users/readers/viewers, often arrangement sometimes does end up looking like a "confused heap." I agree, arrangement considerations shouldn't be all-or-nothing.

    BTW-- I didn't see any ALT tags display. I looked at the code and didn't see them where I would have expected. You might want to go back into the code where it says ALT='' or ALT="" and put your descriptions in between them. Hope that helps.

  3. I personally had the same experience with the five rhetorical canons, as I've not taken (& don't intend to take) a Classical rhetoric course. Although I must agree I got a well-rounded sense of these as soon as I started reading Lingua Fracta. I had to keep repeatedly reminding myself Performance is delivery, Persistence is memory, and so on..
    Proairesis is something I had to look up too considering I've never heard the word before. All I found on google was about "Proharesis" with an h in it, I know they probably have the same meaning, but I was stumped that I couldn't find the exact word that I spelt out.