From The Long Now blog, an entry today about the end of typewriter manufacturing. What will it be next? VCRs? Film cameras?
I never got much use out of the typewriter as a writing machine. I used them to fill out forms in that dimly lit pre-PDF-dawn when fax machines were hot. I used typewriter impersonators (compact dot matrix word processors, essentially), although I can’t think of a single document whose production depended on it such that it couldn’t by then have been more sleekly crafted on a computer. I read Click, Clack, Moo to Is. twenty or thirty times when she was younger, so that’s something. But this isn’t the sort of discontinuation that I would think gives anyone much pause, except perhaps to wonder which commonplace technologies of today will surrender to obsolescence in the next 25 years.
Friedrich. Discourse Networks, 1800/1900. Trans. Michael Metteer.
Palo Alto, CA: Stanford UP, 1990.
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In "Technology & Ethos" (1971), Amiri Baraka writes
A typewriter?–why shd it only make use of the tips of the fingers as
contact points of flowing multidirectional creativity. If I invented a
word placing machine, an ‘"expression-scriber," if you will, then I
would have a kind of instrument into which I could step & sit or sprawl or
hand & use not only my fingers to make words express feelings but elbows,
feet, head, behind and all the sounds I wanted, screams, grunts, taps, itches,
I’d have magnetically recorded, at the same time, & translated into word–or
perhaps even the final xpressed though/feeling wd now be merely word or sheet,
but itself, the xpression, three dimensional–able to be touched, or
tasted or felt, or entered, or heard or carried like a speaking singing
constantly communicating charm. A typewriter is corny!!
The passage streamed into our first meeting of Afrofuturism last night,
framed some of our early thinking about innovation and technological promise.
We’re leading things off with the special issue of Social Text on
Afrofuturism (Summer ’02); and I’m volunteer no. 1 for leading the discussion, so I’ve got to
wrap up Thomas Masters’ Practicing Writing for 712 and get moving with
how to frame this thing. I don’t know when I’ll return to this xcerpt from
Baraka, but I wanted to set it aside, share it. The "entered" bit reminds me of
Lanham’s at/through, although Baraka is pushing toward something more bodily
than the perceptual oscillations Lanham gives us. And I can think of ways this
could connect with Hansen, particularly on point with the "body’s framing
function," even if the machine proper is "a kind of instrument."