One of the most important results of the proliferation of digital media has been a relative increase in studies of the history of the book. As new forms have challenged the primacy of the book, interest has been piqued in the form and history of the book as an object of intellectual communication. I believe that this is because the new modes of communication and presentation that digital media offer have defamiliarized the designed formats of traditional publishing. The design makeup of texts, which is normally virtually invisible because of the ubiquity of the codex, has had a light shown on it by the newness of digital formats, reminding us specifically of the oldness of books and that there was a time before the codex. From this point of defamiliarization we can begin to see that argument, discourse, and scholarly communication can happen in formats other than the book, article, or research paper. As such, we are provided with an opportunity to in effect start anew and explore the virtually infinite possibilities that digital media provide us in designing compositional experiences.
I would like to propose a session where we work to deconstruct those structures of writing that are assumed to be givens purely due to the design history of different forms of material texts, while actively attempt to experiment with different toolsets (Prezi, wikis, blogs, Tumblrs) to find creative ways of doing new types of digital composition. Think of it as a praxis session where we are actively considering the conceptual impulses behind why we choose to write in a certain way while actually composing new forms of expression to convey a narrative/story/argument that we normally would assume to be conveyed in traditional formats. This session will be conversational, playful, and experimental and hopefully will bring forward new tools, methods, and approaches to writing/composition.
A great place to read about how to handcraft visual argumentation such as this is Edward Tufte’s chapter in Visual Explanations about Visual Confections:
- Edward R. Tufte. “Visual Confections: Juxtapositions from the Ocean of the Streams of Story.” Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press, 1997. 121–51.