Disciplinary Sculpture

Via information aesthetics,
I came across this

on "email
  An enclosure houses a block of biodegradable foam subject to
sprays of water triggered by a stream of discourse–emails sent to bots in this
case.  As I understand it, the email-analyzing algorithm activates the bots
that patrol each side of the container; under certain conditions, the bots let
loose with the water and the block of foam dissolves.

"At the end of the show, the remaining foam, if any, is a
finished sculpture."

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A Comp-landia Itinerary

Encouraged by

C.’s comment at cgbvb
and entries by
Jeff and

, I’m in on the carnival; flipped through Fulkerson’s essay in the
latest CCC (56.4) this afternoon.  My general impression is that it’s an
interesting overview of the discipline–engaging for the divisions he suggests
and for the grim note that caps the essay.  Good carnival entries
(jus’ sharpening the axiology), I think, keep it to a few points, raise
questions or pull on knots, puzzles and so on. Right?  So, on:

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Genre Theory II

For yesterday’s genre theory session we looked at the first chapter from Amy
Devitt’s book,

Writing Genres
, and the first and third chapters from Paul Prior’s book,

(both of which have searchable copy at
Google Print). 
Devitt gracefully works genre into an interactive model between individuals (at
a basic level); social structures, genre, and groups (at an intermediary level)
and context of culture, context of genre and context of situation (at an
ultimate level).  It’s meant to simplify a complex set of relationships, I
think, and as a model it does well to give a graphic alternative to some fairly
heady stuff.  But I’m still a bit murky on the role genre plays in scaling
between the lived, everyday activity (often communicative, often recurrent–as
in, not another grocery list) and the higher/broader orders.  Genre,
given to patterns of activity, would ask of us to point to evidence of the
relationship between the broader abstract levels and the more ornate,
idiosyncratic actions of individuals.  Forgive me though; I’m the one who’s
murky (shall I explain in a supplem-entry?).  Better to read Devitt
first-hand than to take this as a solid handle on her project.

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E Pluribus Trivium

I wrapped up Scholes’ Rise
and Fall
on Monday morning while I was waiting in the auto shop. 
Since then, I’ve been reconsidering it from a distance–the full displacement
brought on by a hearty paper load, full-time work, and other important
stuff-o-life.  I keep coming back to a few basic ideas set up by Scholes in
chapter four, "A Flock of Cultures."  Throughout, Scholes uses a
split chapter system, so, for example, chapter four has a postlude called
"assignment four" in which he details–in practical terms–an
application of much of the theorizing he summons in the early portion of the
chapter.  Before the "assignment" section, he proposes a
design  for a general education curriculum parsed into grammar,
and rhetoric. Scholes introduces this threesome under the
heading, "A Trivial Proposal."  He’s having fun with the
connotations of "trivial,"
enlisting it as something of lesser consequence (than the Western Civilization
and Great Books canonical approaches) and also as a modern resurrection of the
medieval model for foundational education–the basis preceding advanced
scholarship in "arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music." He
explains the subtle differences between each of the course-types.  For grammar,
a course called "Language and Human Subjectivity" would comb over
pronoun usage and alienation in language structures.  A second grammar
course would concern "Representation and Objectivity." 
Anthropological perspective, ethnography, the objective discourses pervasive in
the observational sciences: these would be done up in this second grammar
course.  For rhetoric, he suggests a course on "Persuasion and
Mediation," which "would obviously include the traditional arts of
manipulation of audiences but would also point toward the capacities and limits
of the newer media, especially those that mix verbal and visual textuality to
generate effects of unprecedented power" (125).  To round this one
out–and because Scholes spends relatively little time on it–I would toss in technology

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