Eloquent Images III

Barta-Smith and DiMarco – "Same Difference: Evolving Conclusions about
Textuality and New Media," 159-178
In "Same Difference," Barta-Smith and DiMarco argue for an evolutionary view of
new media (precedent rich) rather than a revolutionary view (precedent creating
or precedent exploding).  Beginning with "what is a visual
revolution?" and concerns about discussions of new media that "suppress
continuity" (161), they apply a sophisticated reading of Maurice Merlau-Ponty as
a way to "celebrate imitation as combination and succession" (163).  An
evolutionary frame tacks new media to certain historical trajectories (there’s
been visuality ever since the first eyeball!).  The article rings solidly
with a developmental view (in fact, it reminded me of Emig’s "The Origins of
Rhetoric: A Developmental View," speaking of evolution) and there are frequent
references to perspectives from cognitive science.  Visual evolution is
distinct from imitation (which emphasizes the causality connecting visual
assimilation to sensorimotor activity) in that it recombines and leads to
"structural integration" (173) and reorganizes existing cognitive patterns. 
Theirs is a nuanced argument, and it’s interesting to me because I haven’t read
much about on new media and cognitive science. 

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