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. 

Continue reading →

Today’s Piaget Passage

One among many of the gripping passages from The Origins of Intelligence in Children by J.
Piaget, the patron saint of observing and reporting the minutiae of
early-childhood development:

Observation 91.–At 0;3 (11) Laurent is pulling toward himself sheets,
covers, etc., to suck them (he does this a part of each day since he has
learned how to grasp).  When I hold out directly in front of him a 
package of tobacco, he grasps it immediately, without looking at his hand. 
Same reaction with an eraser.  At 0;3 (12) under the same conditions he
grasps my watch chain which is on his left and outside the trajectory of the
joining hands.  That evening, same reaction with this chain and with a
roll of cardboard.  At 0;3 (13) he immediately grasps a case which I hold
out to him.  He does not look at his hands or attempt to join them but at
once directs the right hand toward the case.  When he has grasped it, he
does not suck, but examines it. (118)

And so the observations go with slight distinctions over the course of
several months/pages/stages.  After much of my own accommodating,
(taken together: adapting) and organizing, I’ve crawled
to p. 152, which is as far as we’re going for tomorrow morning’s session. 
Since I’m already feeling infantile over the whole plot, I flipped through the
Piaget Primer and found this zany cartoon:

To round out my prep for class, I’m going to catch the last few
minutes of Super Nanny.  Some poor brat is battling with his parents over
bedtime. "Don’t you pinch!"