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Imaginative within bounds (Concluding Reading Matters)

martes, 3 de septiembre de 2013

Imaginative within bounds (Concluding Reading Matters)

Aún me estoy leyendo a ratos perdidos, en exámenes y demás, Reading Matters: Narratives in the New Media Ecology (ed. Joseph Tabbi y Michael Wutz, 1997). De hecho me lo voy leyendo y releyendo, picoteando y olvidando. Es curioso pensar cómo en un ensayo vanguardista sobre el hipertexto en 1997 la Red aparecía aún como un experimento interesante y prometedor, nada específico ni destacado. Así especulaba Stuart Moulthrop sobre la ecología del enlace:

"Consider a generation for whom "words that yield" are a regular occurence, not a discursive anomaly. Consider readers and writers for whom jumps out of the system are commonplace, and who regularly articulate both hypertextual and hypotextual structures. Though this generation would still undeniably linked by tradition and cultural continuity to our own, would they not have a fundamentally different understanding of texts and textual enterprises?" (291)

Lejos estaban aún (de la mente) los blogs y la hipertextualización de todo el texto. Que en cierto modo la trajo Google, al hacer la información usable e inmediatamente accesible. En 1997 aún estábamos en la ecología Yahoo. Y viendo el futuro con Stuart Moulthrop.

Así concluye su ensayo "No War Machine", y el libro, Stuart Moulthrop—con una esperanza de que el Hipertexto nos llevará más allá del Libro:

"In such anxious contexts, the nostalgia for exact replications and authoritative, cybernetic command of information may be understandable. But this devotion can lead to cultural stagnation, to a conservatism that locks us into deadened orthodoxy, the unquestioned logic of the Line. To be 'imaginative beyond bounds' may be terrible, but what does it mean to be imaginative within bounds? Who determines the boundary or border lines? Which practices of discourse are ordained as safe, and which are condemned as hazards to the Book of Life? Play the metaphor out: if the viral potential of cybernetic language represents the 'cancerous and dangerous proliferation of significations,' in Foucault's phrase ('What Is an Author?' 159), then we might see in the new Deuternomy the familiar conservative nostrums: abstinence and monogamy. That would leave hypertext the only remaining way ofrelative liberty, a form of 'safe' intercourse whose object is to preserve possibilities of contact without jeopardizing public health. In a wold caufht in the pincers of virus on the one hand and askesis on the other, hypertext may provide a therapy, if not a cure. It may not represent a war machine, or a true cultural revolution; but it could be our only option if we do not wish to have the Book thrown at us yet again." (291-2).

El Libro, o el Libro Electrónico. La web, y sus formas más informes, la búsqueda, el correo electrónico, las redes sociales y los blogs son la mejor manera de esquivar ese Libro, o de tenerlo en movimiento. Los libros acelerados y dispersos por la Red ya pasan a otra dimensión mediática—como intuían Benjamin o McLuhan, están cogidos en una transición intermedial, y vemos que buscaban expresar cosas más allá de sus medios.

De un bonito ensayo de Geoffrey Winthrop-Young sobre Thomas Mann ("Magic Media Mountain: Technology and the Umbildungsroman") cojo estas citas intermediáticas para un ensayo sobre la narratividad del fotoblog—otra de esas formas acumulativas y secuenciadas que sólo la red hace posibles:

"from Plato's look back in philosophic anger at the Athenian shift from body-based orality to text-based literacy all the way to William Gibson's uneasy anticipation of the bodiless exultations of cyberspace, writing—that peculiar activity promoted by storage media—has paid special attention to its technological makeup as well as to other, 'competing' technologies. These concerns are especially present in times of media change, when societies undergo information revolutions that promote new media technologies and demote others. New technologies, however, are not just simply added to the existing stock like logs stacked up in a shed; media form an ecology in which arrivals and departures change the entire system. Furthermore, our information processing capabilities are not strictly compartmentalized. There is no clear division of data labor with photography focusing exclusively on domain A, writing on B, movies on C, computers on D, and so on. Of course a photo of a tree is not the same as a description or a painting of a tree, but all three deal with trees and, more important, the fact that we can photograph trees has influenced the way we describe and paint them. Finally, the ways in which we used to read and write about trees may have contained something that pointed ahead to photography. Painting mimicking photography, writing co-opting phonography, movies imitating or debunking books...: these are intermedial boundary conflicts, and of such stuff great art is made." (31)

—No es gran arte el blog, o al menos aún no podemos verlo así. Pero qué potencial tiene, allí donde se encuentran todas las tecnologías de representación, gráficas, sonoras, musicales, lenguaje hablado y escrito, vídeo... toda una semiosfera comprimida; hay que señalar en este ensayo sobre el fotoblog la relación entre la semiosfera y la multimedialidad, que a Lotman se le escapaba en parte al vivir en la era Gutenberg.

Para Winthrop-Young es La Montaña Mágica una novela de la medialidad, del impacto de las nuevas formas de representación e información en la experiencia, el pensamiento y en la vida cotidiana. Tanto como William Gibson y sus transhumanidades cibernéticas:

"There is more than a passing resemblance between Thomas Mann's Castorp and William Gibson's Case: both are medianauts intent on relishing up-to-date media experiences. Both demonstrate that who we are is defined by what we can experience; that what we can experience depends, in turn, on our media (including our body); and that literary representations of what our experiences have made of us will therefore have to be mindful of changing technological standards." (51)

En ello estamos todos, en realidad—aquí, por ejemplo, sumergidos en medio de este medio.


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