A Digital Media Poetics

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A Digital Media Poetics
Carassai, Mauro
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (212 p.)

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Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
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University of Florida
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Committee Co-Chair:
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Subjects / Keywords:
Electronics ( jstor )
Language ( jstor )
Literary criticism ( jstor )
Literature ( jstor )
Mirroring ( jstor )
Poetics ( jstor )
Poetry ( jstor )
Tears ( jstor )
Wordplay ( jstor )
Words ( jstor )
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
algorithm -- american -- analytical -- cage -- cayley -- code -- codework -- contemporary -- coupland -- data -- dh -- digital -- e-literature -- e-poetry -- electracy -- electronic -- experimental -- florence -- foer -- game -- hayles -- humanities -- hypertext -- interactive -- joyce -- language -- literacy -- mark-up -- media -- mez -- morrissey -- new -- olp -- philosophy -- poetics -- programming -- software -- theory -- visualization -- wittgenstein
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
English thesis, Ph.D.


My doctoral dissertation establishes a correlation between the stylistic writing of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and a selected set of writing practices in the digital age. In Wittgenstein's late philosophy, language is no longer seen as a formal system but is characterized as a rule-guided activity. Such an activity is made of various linguistic and extra-linguistic phenomena multifariously connected in a texture of family resemblances. My investigation builds on the basic assumption that Wittgenstein as a philosopher of language and digital creators as contemporary producers of language art can be thought of as sharing the awareness that they are in a condition of doing something with a device already functioning according to a set of rules. My study develops a poetics for the digital age by showing how Wittgenstein's thematic nodes of "meaning as use," "language game," "rule following," and "aspect seeing" effectively fit the context of authoring practices in digital environments where words are increasingly written to be re-read, re-used, re-purposed, re-processed, algorithmically executed, and digitally manipulated. I use such thematic nodes to analyze the variegated set of practices encouraged by digital environments as speech acts within a grammar that is yet unexplored. The notions of meaning as use and language game open new perspectives on forms of contemporary American writing such as Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes in my second chapter. Rule-following reconfigures preassumptions about code in relation to poetic practices such as Codework in chapter three. Finally, aspect-seeing reframes the experience of reading for pieces of electronic literature such as Penny Florence and John Cayley's Mirroring Tears in chapter four. In my fourth chapter I also show how Ordinary Language Philosophy can help rethinking discourses in the emerging field of so-called Digital Humanities, especially in relation to mark-up languages, distant reading, and data mining. The result is a generative approach to a poetics of attention that, rather than medium-specific, attempts to bridge attitudes in different media and forms of expression and shows some of the ways in which Wittgenstein's late work can be useful to open a path potentially leading to what I term an Ordinary Digital Philosophy. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2014.
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by Mauro Carassai.

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Resource Identifier:
968786193 ( OCLC )
LD1780 2014 ( lcc )


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W+:*<)" <4)*-)(" J8" 4)!5+31G" !*=+)" )<+-*+3)+D" ]3-*=3+R+D" ])4J*=" :,E)4N:=*8+W" Q`TU;" X3+." *1(" /=*1<.,-" <,5=(" J)" +)-" 5:" *+" -.)" 4):4)+)1-*-3])+D" 31" )I-4)R3+D" ,!" +0):-3<*=" *1(" )1<.*1-)(" *1-3)++)1-3*=3+RD" 4)+:)<-3])=8;" This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:42:28 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


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e)-D" *+" @)443(*H+" E43-31G+" :,E)4!5==8" ()R,1" +-4*-)D" 3-" 3+" :,++3J=)D" 31())(" 1)<)++*48D" -," )+" :,5+)" J,-." +3R5=-*1),5+=8" *1(" +," *],3(" -.)34" 4)+:)<-3])" :3-!*==+;f" 7.3+" (,5J=)1)++D" E.3<." <.*4*<-)43V)+" R5<." ,!" @)443(*H+" 4*(3<*=" 4)" -.31031G" ,!" -.)" :.)1,R)1,=,G3<*=" -4*(3-3,1D" 3+" :*4-3<5=*4=8" )]3()1-" 31" .3+" KOLZ" )++*8" W/)" !,4)" -.)" %*E;W" ><.,31G" -.)" )1<.*1-)(" *1-3" )++)1-3*=3+-" :,+3-3,1D" @)443(*" *4G5)(" -.)4)" -.*-" W!,4" -.)" =3-)4*48" E,40" *+" +5<." -," )R)4G)DW" *" :3)<)" ,!" E43-31G" 1))(+" -," .*])" 1)3-.)4" *" :*4" -3<5=*4" <,1-)1-" 1,4" *" (3+-31<-3])" !,4R" Q&<-+" ZK`U;" '-" .*+D" .,E)])4D" -," 5+)" <)4-*31" W!4*R" 31GW" ()]3<)+" Q);G;D" -3-=)+" *1(" ,-.)4" :*4*-)I-+U" *1(" W=31G53+-3<" +-45<-54)+W" Q);G;D" W4)!)4)1-3*=" )^53],<*-3,1WU" 31" :*4-3<5=*4" E*8+" QZK`D" ZKbU;" W7.)+)" :,++3J3=3-3)+DW" .)" 1,-)(D" WG3])" -.)" -)I-" -.)" :,E)4" -," R*0)" -.)" =*ED" J)G31131G" E3-." 3-+" ,E1W" Q3;);D" -," *++)4-" 3-+" ,E1" (3+-31<-3])" =3-" )4*431)++" gZKPhU;" e)-" +31<)" -.)+)" :,++3J3=3-3)+" 4):4)+)1-" ,1=8" *" 1)<)++*48D" 1,-" *" +5!!3<3)1-D" <,1(3-3,1" !,4" -.)" =3-)4*48" -," )R)4G)D" -.)8" *4)" 1,-" )1,5G.a" -.)8" W+-3==" 4)R*31" -,," G)1)4*=" *1(" .,=(" !,4" ,-.)4" -)I-+" -," E.3<." E)" E,5=(" .*4(=8" *+<43J)" =3-)4*48" ]*=5)W" QZK`NKPU;" 2)4)" E)" +))" -.)" J*+3+" !,4" @)443(*H+" *1I3)-3)+" *J,5-" +,R)" ,!" /=*1<.,-H+" !,4R5=*-3,1+" ,!" -.)" KOf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``D" PfNPbU;" #)4.*:+" =3-)4*-54)" .*+" <,R)" -," ,<<5:8D" 51()4" .3+-,43<*=" <,1(3-3,1+" -.*-" *4)" 1,-" R)4)=8" =31" G53+-3

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(*-)D" :=*<)" ,!" :5J=3<*-3,1D" *1(" 3R:431-D" E.3<." *4)" 5+5" *==8" <,1+3()4)(" -," J)" ,!" =)G*=" ,4" <,RR)4<3*=" 31-)4)+-" ,1=89*=+," R*40" -.)" )(3-3,1" *+" *" :*4" -3<5=*4" 031(" ,!" +:*-3,-)R:,4*=" )])1-;" 7.)8" :,31-D" 5+5*==8" ,1=8" *!-)4" <*4)!5=" 4)+)*4<.D" -," -.)" =3-)4*48" !3)=(" -," E.3<." 3-" ,E)+" 3-+" )I3+-)1<)" *1(D" 31" +,R)" <*+)+D" 3-+" <,1-315)(" +54]3]*=" 1,-" ,1=8" *+" *" :5J=3<" (,<5R)1-" J5-" *+" =3-)4*-54)D" 31" /,54(3)5H+" +0):-3<*=N*1-3)++)1-3*=3+-" +)1+);" '1())(D" G3])1" -.)" +.3!-31G" .3)4*4<.3<*=" +-45<" -54)" ,!" -.)" !3)=(D" )*<." )(3-3,1" -)1(+D" -.4,5G." -.)" +8RJ,=3<" )<,1,R8" ,!" -.)" +3G1*-54)D" *=+," -," 3()1-3!8" -.)" -)I-" *+" %3-)4*-54)" 31" *" +-4,1G=8" This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:42:28 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


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2 © 2014 Mauro Carassai


3 To Paola Pizzichini for making me who I am


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my dissertation supervisor Dr. Gregory L. Ulmer, my committee members Dr. Robert B. Ray, Dr. Terry A. Harpold, and Dr. Jack Stenner and all th e people who have read sections of this work while in progress and provided invaluable comments, in particular Dr. Adalaide Morris and Dr. N. Katherine Hayles. I also thank my friends and colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 THE POETICS OF ATTENTION: TOWARDS AN ORDINARY DIGITAL PHILOSOPHY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 The Praxi s Theory Hypothesis of Digitality ................................ ............................. 11 Mallarmé: Instructions for Use ................................ ................................ ................ 19 ical Writing .............. 31 A Wittgensteinian Poetics for The Digital Age ................................ ......................... 40 2 CARVING OUT (USES) AS MEANING ................................ ................................ .. 55 The Different Language ................................ ......... 55 ................................ ..... 61 as ................................ ........................... 73 Games ................................ ..................... 76 Jonathan Safran Fo er: a Human based Quest for Meaningfulness ........................ 81 Re ................................ . 90 3 PROCEDURAL REMARKS ................................ ............................... 101 Understanding Code ................................ ................................ ............................. 101 Literary Encounters with Code ................................ ................................ .............. 112 ................................ ................................ . 126 ................................ ............... 146 4 FACING E LITERATURE AND I TS CONSEQUENCES FOR DH SCHOLARSHIP ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 151 Experiencing E literary Works as Wholes ................................ ............................. 151 Reading E Literature as Aspect Seeing ................................ ................................ 155 Facing Electronic Artworks ................................ ................................ ............. 162 ................................ ................ 169 Looking and Seeing Mirroring Tears ................................ ................................ ..... 176 Seeing Aspects in DH Discourses: Mark Up Coding, Machinic/Distant Reading, and the Management of (New) Knowledge ................................ ........................ 185


6 Text Encoding: Seeing Meta Levels Anew in Markup Encoding .................... 187 The Obsession with Algorithmic Processed Knowledge ................................ 191 ................................ ............................. 194 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 200 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 203 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 212


7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 Screenshot of Mirroring Tears by John Cayley and Penny Florence. ................. 12 2 1 Pictures of Tree of Codes . ................................ ................................ .................. 83 4 1 Mirroring Tears with full active Readers ................................ ........................... 179 4 2 Mirroring Tears : sequential snapshots showing Readers in progress. ............. 181


8 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S BB The Blue and Brown Books CV Culture and Value DH Digital Humanities HWBP How We Bec ame Posthuman ODP Ordinary Digital Philosophy OLP Ordinary Language Philosophy PI Philosophical Investigations RFM Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics RPP Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology


9 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Gradu ate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy A DIGITAL MEDIA POETICS By Mauro Carassai August 2014 Chair: Gregory L. Ulmer Major: English My doctoral dissertatio n establishes a correlation between the stylistic writing of Philosophical Investigations and a selected set of writing as a formal system but is characterized as a rule guided activity. Such an activity is made of various linguistic and extra linguistic phenomena multifariously connected in a texture of family resemblances. My investigation builds on the basic assumption that Wittgenstein as a philosopher of language and digital creators as contemporary producers of language art can be thought of as sharing the awareness that they are in a condition of doing something with a device already functioning according to a set of rules. My study develo words are increasingl y written to be re read, re used, re purposed, re processed, and d igitally manipulated. I use su ch thematic nodes to analyze the variegated set of practices encouraged by digital environments as speech acts within a grammar that is yet to describe. The not ions of m eaning as use and language game open new


10 perspectives on forms of contemporary American writing such as Jonathan Safran Tree of Codes in C hapter 2 . Rule following reconfigures pre assumptions about code in relation to poetic practices such as Codework in C hapter 3 . Finally, aspect seeing reframes the experience of reading for pieces of electronic literature such as Mirroring Tears in Chapter 4 . In C hapter 4 I also show how Ordinary Language Philosophy can hel p in rethinking discourses in the emerging field of Digital Humanities, especially in relation to mark up languages, distant reading, and data mining. The result is a generative approach to what I call a poetics of attention that, rather than medium specif ic, attempts to bridge attitudes in different forms of expression . Such an approach late work can be useful to open a path potentially leading to what I term an Ordinary Digital Philosophy .


11 CHAPTER 1 THE POE TICS OF ATTENTION: TOWARDS AN ORDINARY DIGITAL PHILOSOPHY The Praxis Theory Hypothesis of Digitality On May 19th 2011, during the tenth anniversary edition of the E Poetry Festival, digital poet and theorist John Cayley and art scholar, curator, and practi tioner Penny Florence present Mirroring Tears: Visages (Collaboration on Mallarmé) . In the dim light form, trans form, and per form on the screen for a few minutes. Sp oken words from the presenters eventually join them in a real time synchronous visual and verbal commentary. For most of the allotted presentation time, human and machinic words coexist with human and machinic reading(s) in a spectacular instantiation of a texture of language based practices multifariously connected. Concerned in various respects with an artistic and disciplinary field still in search of its own institutional status and of its own methodologies, participants in the audience soon engage the two presenters in a passionate discussion about meaning making. What follows is a wide range conversation about an artwork whose sets of textual and contextual collaborations, in explore the potential of digital poetry as critique and t ranslation, hypothesising an analogy or stronger between the Mallarméen text and the digital, and, more broadly, 1 and unsystematic account, Mirroring Tears comes into view as a Java appl et written in 1 The passage is taken from a written description of the artwork provided by the authors on the web site of the 2nd MAKING SENSE Colloquium held at IRI Centre Pompidou, Institut Télécom, NYU in Paris (Oc t. 19 20, 2010). For further information about the ways in which works of electronic literature allude in various ways to early literary Modernism, see Jessica Pressman. Digital Modernism. Making it New in Ne w Media . New York: Oxford University Press USA, 2014.


12 3 5 of Mallarmé . The applet reads the poems and relies on the RITa natural language library (an open source toolkit for ge nerative literature) in strings result in dynamic textual animations gently floating on the screen (see Figure 1 1) while a soundtrack Bilitis Le Tombeau des is supposed to play in the background . Fig ure 1 1. Screenshot of Mirroring Tears by John Cayley and Penny Florence . An ideal metonymy for the complex net of discourses surrounding contemporary digital literary practic es, Mirroring Tears was exposing the E Poetry audience to a fundamentally problematic separation of digitization, born digital creation, encoding, programming, databases modelling, multimedia authoring, and interface design into distinct fields of inquiry. Furthermore, Mirroring Tears digital installation, web published literary work, or computer based performance was the demarcation between digital art and


13 electron ic lit erature is shifty at best, often more a matter of the critical traditions from which the works are discussed than anything intrinsic to the works themselves ( Electronic Literature 12). It is also worth acknowledging how the collaborative nature of the Mir roring Tears project appeared to extend the domain of what Michel Foucault calls several ot hers such as the one between the two authors and the French author St é phane Mallarmé, or between the authorial construct Cayley/Florence/Mallarmé and the creator of the RITa software Daniel Howe, or even between all of the above and the mic component of the software itself, and so on. Even a cursory reflection on the ways in which Cayley the above mentioned technical and aesthetic discursive networks can allow us to perceive the overwhelming complexity in tryin g to assess the extent to which Mirroring Tears based digital productions in the early 21 st century. We might, however, more easily agree on the fact that the combination between the direct experi ence of the computer based artwork and its theoretical discussion taking place on the stage of the E Poetry festival is representative of a fairly established formula in encounters with contemporary art. Many an art scholar sthetic theories published by artists since World War II, sixties and seventies, art and philosophy were ready for one an other. Suddenly, indeed, they needed one another to tell Arthur Danto viii) . In other words, several critics have highlighted


14 how philosophy, historiography, theory, concepts, and language have become more and more crucial in the creatio n, exhibition and reception of recent art. 2 From this point of view, the synchronicity between the digital words lingering on the screen and those spoken on and off stage in room 112 was hardly going to qualify as a s urprising or an unexpected event. As a result, the fact that Mirroring Tears occurring was unlikely to find its place as an integral problem within the agenda of the collective conversation. In a time in which the most prominent authors of works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand alone or networked computer 3 are in several cases also the pioneering theorists in various f ields of digital creativity 4 , we would hardly expect electronic media prod uctions to avoid blurring boundaries between art theory and art praxis. After all, s uch an overlap is in no way nat ive to the digital environment and l iterar y critics operating outsi de the paradigm of medium specificity might situate such tendency within a larger historical 5 for 2 See Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (eds.), Art in Theory 1900 1990 ; Stiles, Kristine and Peter Selz, edited. . Berkeley: Un ive rsity of California Press, 1996 and others. 3 the Electronic Literature Organization web site: 4 John Cayley, Nick Montfort, Stephanie Strickland, Michael Mateas, and others. 5 Preface to the Lyrical Ballads T he first volume of these Poems was published, as an experiment [emphasis added] , which, I hoped, might be of some use to ascertain, how far, by fitting to metrical arrangem ent a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may rationally endeavour to impart.


15 example, literary operations consciously carried on in the guise of language ex periments have regularly addressed Western audiences with some kind of side commentary. After about two centuries 6 , as so called digital humanities (DH) 7 are now finding their way through the ramifications of a generally welcomed tendency towards academic inter disciplinarity, the combination of invention and (its) explanation proves also congruent across 8 identified by C. P. Snow (science and humanities) . In the art of literature as well as in the protocols of science , in order to be able to evaluate results in an experiment, you need to be made acquainted with the experimental conditions in the laboratory. The habit of binding texts with their rationale has therefore been frequently implemented in a large variety of e xperimental settings a custom that, in the artistic and literary fields, has perhaps reached its most declarative characterization in the well known undertakings of the historical avant garde 9 . A thorough analysis of the relationship between digital writ ing and artistic and literary avant garde is not only beyond the purposes of my study but would likely incur 6 English Romantic poetry is here conventionally assumed as a starting point mainly to clarify that I am interested in addressing literary creative efforts. I am leaving outside textual studies that can frame glossed ancient manuscripts and medieval codex (featuring marginal comments) as representative of the simulta neous presentation of text and theoretical paratext in literary works. 7 Humanities Computing A Companion to Digital Humanities (eds. Susan Schreibman, Raymond Siemens, and John Unsworth) or recent articles such as Debates in Digital Humanities (ed. Mat thew K. Gold). 8 Charles Percy Snow in his famous highlighted a deplorable damaging division between the humanities and the s ciences . See also Snow, Charles Percy. The Two Cultures . 1959. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Univer sity Press, 1998. 9 The precepts and prescriptive formulations of avant garde artists of the early twentieth century have Manifestos to written statements of individuals and/or delivered speeches. For an exte nsive collection of such materials see Mario De Micheli, Le Avanguardie Storiche del Novecento (269 422).


16 that are contrary to its basic theme and spirit. Maria Engb erg and Jay Bolter effectively character of the multi perspectival association of digital writing with avant garde. As they observe, The avant garde in digital literature c an be a question of artists and writers explicitly citing, borrowing, or otherwise drawing upon antecedents, as many have suggested (Pressman, Simanowski, Rettberg et al). Conversely, even when the artist does not make explicit reference to the avant garde , garde for formal properties or institutional reasons. (8) Issues usually catalyzing critical attention in the so called e literature and avant garde bing medium specific either breaking or creating artistic and literary conventions 10 . Moreover, the tendency to dematerialize the art object into an event like entity a tenet of conceptual art especially characteristic of its American instantiation 11 the ephemerality of the digital text 12 13 a fertile ground for constructing digit al writing as the ideal continuation of avant garde practices. Most importantly, digital born literary pieces have frequently become the opportunity for the reemergence of basic critical and aesthetic questions c literature really literature at all? Is literary 10 See 11 See Tony Godfrey, Conceptual Art (135). 12 See Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanism s: New Media and the Forensic Imagination . 13 See New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories . Cambridge: The MIT Press. P. 185


17 14 questions renew and foreground the Duchampian linguistic/ontological perhaps philosophical appropriate to new media, for asking such basic conceptual issue that, in its own turn, frequently orients scholarly investigations toward a critical frami ng of digital literature within the category of experimental art. Critical efforts, however, have also been carried out on the other side of the fence and scholars have, in some cases, argued that the avant garde experience might no longer provide us with viable critical tools to understand contemporary digital practices 15 . By strategically bracketing the above mentioned controversy, I mean to draw attention to the purposefully blurred boundary between art theory and art praxis as one of the most interesting sites of inquiry in relation to the traces of the avant garde mindset in digital creative practices. Rather than analyze the overlap of art theory and art praxis, I am interested in focusing on the largely accepted assumption of a theory praxis relation a nd on the specific role it plays as a pre supposed element within linguistic and extra linguistic activities related to digital creations and their discussion. As I observed, Mirroring Tears time commentary was a fairly common practice destined to go on virtually unquestioned in such an artistic community. And it is easy to see in the conference formats 16 , in the artworks presentations/exhibitions, and in the 14 l 15 Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Compl i city . 16 See the 2008 Interrupt Conference and Festival or the dialogic paper presentation format encouraged during the ELO 2010 conference.


18 aesthetics discussions taking place during the intellectual gatherings of the electronic liter ature community a predisposition for treating digital art as both the vehicle and the expression of theories. It is easy to see, in other words, in the practices related to digital nheritance of an avant As Herwitz observes in Making Theory Constructing Art well known that the art of this century, and especially the art of the avant garde, has been obsessed with its own theoretical self B y involving a basic requirement of theorizing from artists, critics and philosophers alike, generates an alliance among avant garde art, philosophical thinking and art criticism a round two basic assumptions: firstly, artworks are theoretically defined (or definable) entities and, secondly, we can find perfect art examples that embody and illustrate their prefigurement by theories . From this point of view, the uncovering of the algorithmic functioning and the i mplicit analytical dissection of the creative processes at the base of Mirroring Tears occurring on the stage of the 2011 E Poetry Festival was renewing an awareness, already typical of early modernism, of 1950s and 60s neo avant garde (Foster 1996), of Ar t & Language and other creative movements, that making art and discussing art or in this case, showing art and theorizing about art cannot be regarded as separate moments. An attentive treatment of Mirroring Tears would therefore likely record, before all the various theoretical points such a work engendered, the fact that it was implicitly treated as an artwork whose main purpose was precisely that of engendering them. According to its characterization as a tool for the exploration of possible relation ships between symbolist poetry and the digital, or between early and contemporary


19 modernism, it might then be worth asking what kind of theory Mirroring Tears might have been at some level enacting in the terms highlighted by Herwitz. Mallarmé: Instructio ns for U se Any collaboration carried on in the absence of an explicit problem solving priority, as it is frequently the case in artistic and literary creations, is likely to take the form of cooperation or, in a typographically clearer expression, of co op eration . Basically, all the involved parties act together in ways that can maximize semantic signification through the synergy among the shared resources. In the specific case of the Mirroring Tears assemblage, every element can then be expected to operate in a way that inc reases, so to speak, the poïetic voltage power of the system, namely the potential production of presence within the Mirroring Tears project can be seen as both amplifying the creative tension of the networked poetic inter exchange and as indirectly partaking in the overall theoretical investigation. The latter contribution comes in not only at the level of the reflections on the potential of poetry developed by the French writer in his own time but also in relation to the subsequent abundance of critical perspectives concerning the symbolist and proto implications and the critical reception of stanzas on the screen hardly conceivable as just raw textual material. Far from representing inert words that are supposed to be subsequently manipulated or processed by the other elements of the assemblage (be they human or machinic) , the two fragments cannot but radiate, as it were, poetic as well as notional meanings. It is in Mirroring Tears


20 project can hardly be considered neutral or incident al. And it is in this sense that the Cayley Mirroring Tears subtitle can also come to be regarded as an ideal collaboration with Mallarmé . The received wisdom on the work of the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (184 2 1898) offers, as remarkable contribution, a number of nodes that can be situated in theoretical networks extending from literary to digital studies and vice versa. One, for example, includes the well theory. In archetype for the unfolding of the structuralist and poststructuralist debate surrounding ince Mallarmé, disappearance as occurring in the form of a series of occasional discontinu ities along an otherwise stable tradition of literary and textual authorship and those who see the author centred critical tradition as such. In the latter case, as Fouca ult goes on to 892). Mirroring Tears , in its characterization as an algorithmic author, namely as a computer based assembler of the RITa library materials, uncovers the space for the opening up of the complex debate on distributed cognition, machinic intelligence, and in termediation dynamics that characterizes so called second generation electronic literary


21 productions 17 . As a consequence, regardless of our specific stance in considering Mirroring Tears either just as a (digital) literary discontinuity or as a tool to reth ink authorship, the role played by Mallarmé in the above mentioned collaboration becomes that of the representative source of an intellectual trajectory that starts by questioning literary authorship within the tradition of print and culminates in the curr ent discussion Mirroring Tears cannot but revitalize the theoretical issues concerning the so called dissemination by embedding them i n the philosophical intricacies of envisioning a post human configuration for the algorithmic based authorship of digital machines. A second node concerns the related tendency, more and more frequent both in the literary and the digital field, to shift the oretical attention from authorial works to text, or to treat authorial works as text . Whether open and un circumscribable as in Theodore docuverse 18 or countable and functionally selected as in the linguistic corpora quantitative analysis processes, literary works tend to be increasingly attended to primarily as written material, i.e. as finite, visible, and tangible traces of the preeminent condition of writing . In such cumulative mass of writing, the author often re presents more an aggregative nexus in the processes of either hyper or distant reading 19 than any guiding criterion for speculative or critical activities. The Mirroring Tears , especially in the specific modality arrange d by Cayley and Florence, becomes once again extremely relevant from this 17 See Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature: Ne w Horizons for the Literary . 18 See Theodore Nelson, Literary Machines . 19 See Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History .


22 point of view. The French poet is present in the form of a textual configuration that puts f ragment, i.e. a truncated selection of a longer poetic composition (stanzas 3 5 of 20 Finished and unfinished work, accomplished structure and poetic fragment share the undifferentiated space of the electr onic page as text . Moreover, the absence of titles visually reinforces the lack of definite textual contours and eventually adds to the notoriously sophisticated evocative Both these elements play a key role in encouraging a reception of Mirroring Tears oriented toward theoretical reflections over the relationship between work and text or, in Roland Death of as writing : In France, Mallarmé was doubtless the first to see and to foresee in its full extent the necessity to substitute language itself for the person who until consists in suppressing the author in the interests of writing (which is, as unity lies not in its origin bu t in its ) and that, as a consequence, for the reader there is no longer any definite authorial voice to re construct but rather a text to de construct make the coded process of machinic reading under lying Mirroring Tears both meaningful and critically productive. The re empowering of reading in language driven digital art is indeed a central aspect of Mirroring Tears , especially when we consider this specific 20 It is worth noting that the sonnet is in itself, perhaps, one of the most closed and structured form s of metrical composition. Originating in Provence and Italy, by the thirteenth century it indicated a poem of fourteen lines (usually two quatrains and two triplets or three quatrains and a final couplet). Such a characterization remarkably emphasizes the contrast with the three stanzas on the right column.


23 digital artefact within the larger picture Readers Project . The Readers Project can be loosely defined as a series of creations and interactions in computational art able to expose and shed light on habits surrounding our practices of reading and writing primari ly by means of text generation and visualization. As Cayley and Howe explain, the project aims at visualizing reading, in the reading, vectors that are motivated by the pro perties and methods of language and 21 Mirroring Tears exposes by reading the or better de construct in this case the properties of language and the methods of its literary use. In other words, machinic reading here seems to fundamentally work under the same assumptions of deconstructive r eading. Machinic reading, just like the deconstructive reading discussed by Jacques Derrida in Of Grammatology make the not reading carried on by the RITa software can then become legitimate as an externalization 22 . In this sense, the mis readings of Mirroring Tears can become justified both in their playfulness and in their revelatory function only insofar 21 See The Readers Project Artists Statement John Cayley and Daniel C. Howe 2009: 22 Readers Project , digital visualization becomes a research method in academic settings. In so called humanities computing, as John Unsworth A Companion to Digital Humanities knowledge representation is a compelling, revelatory, and productive way of doing humanities research -and in many ways, it is what humanities computing has been doing, implicitly, for years.


24 as one agrees, shares, or at least starts from the assumption that no correct reading of a text is ultimately possible . Mirroring Tears project (and its visualization potentialities) becomes evident in relation to a third conceptual node associated to the formal properties of his late poetic so called concrete poetry. Concrete poetry, also known as visual poetry, became an iden tifiable poetic genre during the mid 1950s 23 and the term has since then usually referred to language art that considerably relies on the spatial arrangement of text in order to convey meaning. In e literary criticism, the genre has often been seen as close ly connected with digital poetry especially in relation to the dynamic ways in which the typographic materiality of text become emphasized by the affordances of the digital environment (textual animations, time he concrete approach to language and form, because of its constructivist and objectivist emphasis, anticipated the kind of reflection on media set in motion by the elect ronic page 24 undoubtedly problematizes the relationship between the poetic word and the page 25 and Louis Armand, in his introduction to Contemporary Poetics 23 In 1956 the group Noigandres , featuring among others Augusto and Haroldo de Campos , organized an international exhibition of concrete poetry in São Paulo, Brazil . The Brazilian Concrete Poetry M anifesto was published in 1958 . 24 Manuel Por LEA Vol 14 Issue 05 06 . 25 Many a critic has remarked how, even in Mallarmé ess of the graphical potentialities of the medium. See Georges Poulet, Barbara Johnson, and others.


25 p ver, is that Mallarmé recognized the agency of graphic space not only artistically but also theoretically. In the famous 1897 Preface , the French poet discusses the consequences such kind of formal innovation produces at the literary level. demands them, as a surrounding silence, to the extent that a fragment, lyrical or of a few beats, occupies, in its midst, a third of the space of pap er: I do not transgress the measure, only disperse it. The paper intervenes each time as an image, of itself, ends or begins once more, accepting a succession of others, and, since, as ever, it does nothing, of regular sonorous lines or verse rather pris matic subdivisions of the Idea, the instant they appear, and as long as they last, in some precise intellectual performance, that is in variable positions, nearer to or further from the implicit guiding thread, because of the verisimilitude the text impose s. The literary value, if I am allowed to say so, of this print less distance which mentally separates groups of words or words themselves, is to periodically accelerate or slow the movement, the scansion, the sequence even, given of the page: the latter taken as unity, as elsewhere the Verse is or perfect line. 26 dea [subdivisions 27 illustrated by Mallarmé in the above passage is described i n by directing scrutiny over aggregation of words. This re oriented attention of the reader towards a virtual scanning of the page a re orientation of the practice of reading as such seems already to call for (or in any case to prefigure) the reading behaviours 26 27 Ibidem.


26 required by the clusters of words floating on the screen that Mirroring Tears displays. By following this line of reasoning, we seem to bump into some sort of circularity according to which Mallarmé can be seen as pre concretist, concrete poetry can be seen as pre digital, and e poetries can be seen as ultimately constitutively Mallarmé ean. As a lose a ttention to the visibility of language and to the materiality of reading, two of the central tenets of concretist texts, also underlie many of the poetic attempts to use the specific properties of electro orris remarks, on the other generation electronic texts tend to be compressed, multilayered and time driven Mirroring Tears as itself Mallarmé ean is to suggest a possib le formulation of this work as a priori instantiating or at some level incorporating and exhibiting all the conceptual nodes highlighted so far. As we have seen, each of the above thematic nodes correlates with some tenet of the poststructuralist approach in literary theory. An acknowledgment of such set of correlations implicitly brings along, as corollary, two relevant considerations. On the one hand, any critical reading of Mirroring Tears characterization of e xperimental artworks as theoretically grounded entities would likely address the ways in which the Mirroring Tears system inevitably probes, tackles, or attempts to reconfigure poststructuralist theory and its assumptions. On the other hand, should Mirrori ng Tears be construed as an artistic outcome of theoretical prefiguring, poststructuralism would emerge as a viable candidate for the identification of the elaborative engine at the roots of the Mirroring Tears project. In other words, Mirroring


27 Tears seem s to tie together a pre metanarratives about (1) the transparent application of theory to the art object, and (2) a variety of ways and poststructuralist theory. This is of course not to say that poststructuralism constitutes the organizing theory of such an artwork. It is more plainly to point out that, if a loos e and complex set of beliefs in theoretical transparency and theoretical empowerment is at work within Mirroring Tears , this is likely to engage at some level the poststructuralist Weltanschauung . The extent to which poststructuralism with its variegated combinations of post Saussurean linguistics and continental philosophy under the official denominations of has come to influence the contemporary understanding of authoring and reception processes in relation to textual artif acts in the recent decades is generation ago poststructuralism was a firebrand stirring up the humanities. Today, most humanities scholars outside philosophy departments have been trained in some form of poststructuralism. The poststructuralist understanding of language, meaning, specific case of digital textuality, the junction between poststructurali st theory and hypermedia studies had been substantially established, or in any case considerably Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Critical Theory an d Technology . According to Landow, we can notice a surprising convergence


28 promises to theorize hypertext and hypertext promises to embody and thereby test aspects of Hypertext 3.0 : Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization by pointing out that When designers of computer software examine the pages of Glas or Of Grammatology , they encounter a digitalized, hypertextual De rrida; and when literary theorists examine Literary Machines , they encounter a deconstructionist or poststructuralist Nelson. These shocks of recognition can occur because over the past several decades literary theory and computer hypertext, apparently unc onnected areas of inquiry, have increasingly converged. Statements by theorists concerned with literature, like those by theorists concerned with computing, show a remarkable convergence. (1) d open up the way towards a re empowerment of reading that was very much called for by literary theory. As poststructuralist dream of processual, dynamic, multiple signifying st ructures activated by readers who were not consumers of fixed meanings but producers of their own empowered reader would mainly produce its effects at the hermeneutic level, against author centred significa tion, and according to an account of reading as an activity whose margins of interventions in meaning making were to amplify the range of the so called signified in semiotics and linguistics theory 28 . However, after more than two decades of constant media e xperimentation and digital textual manipulation for literary purposes, the re empowerment of reading is gradually moving to address the issue of machinic reading 28 Interestingly enough, in discussing the whole range of t extual categories reconfigured by digital Hypertext 2.0 leaves out a


29 and the realm of the unknown possibilities of such a code based activity for theoretical inves tigations. These trends toward an increased prominence of reading both at theoretical and technological level seems to constitute the actual infrastructure from which the Mirroring Tears project can derive its and become fully operational. Ch arges of obscurity and incomprehensibility, a poetic stance meant to provoke after post structuralism conversely fairly welcomed by contemporary readers of both print and electronic texts. Structures are mistrusted and meaning un chaseable. As a result, within the theoretical context encouraged by first generation electronic literature, Mirroring Tears Mirroring Tears usly difficult to translate in other languages) are not likely to foreground problems of linguistic inaccuracy. When we set out to read a text in the light of its disunities, discontinuities, and disconnections and with an aim at uncover ing its unconscious dimension (as poststructuralism calls for), any act of translation is likely to privilege non univocal reading and translation hardly needs to be faithfully literal. Furthermore, if the poststructuralist empowerment of the reader encour ages empowerment of reading provided by software technologies puts the outcomes of such an unfaithfulness to work for heuristic purposes at theoretical level. Software driven deviations from translational coherence can be productively re directed, as Cayley and It is rather


30 more likely to be characterized as an act of poetic expression that simply seems not to worry about traditional communicability of sense. As Penny Florence reminds us, it is with contemporary poetry readers and practitioners : when at the end of the nineteenth century Mallarmé published his most radical experimental poetry yet, in a career largely made up of radical moves, he was, predictably, attacked. With characteristic iro ny, he replied as above Do ours? Since Barthes, say, do we know what we need to know about reading? (2) research leading reade rs to a potential reconfiguration of their very notions on language functioning an act that, once it gets artistically processed via digital technologies, can still work for contemporary readers. The old characterization of the symbolist poet clairvoyant required a reader with a sufficient amount of intuition and sensitivity to go poetry as software processable text requires a reader who is anthropologically ready to engage the text beyond traditional vectors of reading, i.e. through uncommon acts of reading. For this reason, and others that are going to be discussed in the next section, my study sets out to look at digitality via an unsystematic perspective that is closely c onnected with so called speech acts and that frames reading and writing within a complex set of rule based linguistic and extra linguistic practices . Mirroring Tears differently? What would happen if we read its interpellation in a different manner? What if we treated the work itself as an utterance? What if we regarded to Mirroring Tears as language use rather than language aimed at concepts generation?


31 What would we get by inter rogating the work of art itself? In other words, what would we loose and what would we gain by looking at digital practices from the point of view of Ordinary Language Philosophy? Compar ed to poststructuralism, Ordinary Language Philosophy (OLP) the philosophical tradition building mainly on the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and J. L. Austin has long represented a marginal scholarly influence on the American world of letters. In general , even outside the US, the scholarly community comprising literary scholars who identify their work as explicitly OLP oriented remains fairly small. Moreover, their attempts to contribute to the enrichment of literary theory have frequently gotten frustrat demand for models of analysis able to account for a comprehensive variety of literary phenomena on the other . largely stemming from logical positivism of Gottlob Frege, G.E. Moore, and Bertrand uses of language and the particular contingencies of linguistic expressions as they take place in ordinary circumstances. OLP aims, in other words, at a philosophical investigation of language uses as they occur in actual conditions of employment and remains far from any reformulation of language practices into ideal, abstract, or


32 philosophy and of the so called Oxford circle 29 , OLP privileges therefore a deliberate scrutiny of specific ities and an attention to details completely respectful of their distinct individuality and their un incorporable uniqueness. As such, it appears as fundamentally inadequate for generating synoptic or ideal opposition to the creation of systems of thought that might function as meta discourses or that might result in symbolic formalizations of observed phenomena. In sum, regardless of its application to either the philosophical or literary questions, O LP is not likely to fulfil the needs of anyone interested in applying its perspective to a number of either textual or linguistic phenomena from above , i.e. from any alleged further level of language abstraction. Owing to such an anti generalization and an ti metalinguistic character, neither would OLP seem particularly suitable to approach the digital. The digital represents, in fact, a category of experience whose operational modality has often been described in terms of greatly reducing particularities an d differences. Many a digital theorist for example has observed that, by undergoing the processes of sampling and quantization typical of digital systems 30 , the richness and variety of analog phenomena virtually vanish into the undifferentiated discrete ele ments through which we eventually (re 29 The circle comprises philosophy professors teaching at Oxford Univers ity in the mid twenty century such as J.L. Austin, Gilbert Ryle, H.L.A. Hart, and Peter Strawson . However, most of these scholars were not Wittgenstein ideas. The cir cle entertained a productive interaction with the philosophy department at Harvard nodal themes such as Stanley Cavell, Nelson Goodman, and Hilary Putnam. In the 1970s Cornell University will become the academic headquarter of the Wittgenstein ians thanks to the work of Norman Malcolm and Max Black. Philosophy The Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy (ed. Cheryl Misak), Oxford Univeristy Press. 30 On basic theory of data conversion from analog to binary digital systems see Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital .


33 )encounter them: bits, binary code, 31 pixels, databases, 32 and so on. Moreover, digital processing specifically applied to textuality regularly presuppose and often foreground a meta level of (textual) intervention. This further level is the one through which we conceptualize all the code based practices that lie prior or beneath the actual functioning or the visualized outcomes of electronic texts. Algorithmic instructions, scripting, programming, encrypting, mark up encoding practices 33 , they all constitute or at least are all conceptualized as the computer based meta language out of which digital textual artefacts become available to end users . All the considerations offered so far seem indeed to discourage the overall use of OLP in attending to either print or electronic literary and poetic practices. In particular, the intellectual achievements of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1899 1951) have long been regarded as of dubious usefulness to the analysis, explanation, or interpretation of literary phenomena. As Marjorie Perloff remarks in Ladder in for a systematic poetics ematicians hardly for literary the significant exception of Jean Fracois Lyotard) (12) and in an ambiguous relationship with reader . 31 See Aden Evens, Sound Ideas: Music, Machines and Experience . 32 See Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media . 33 The specific relationship between OLP and the meta level of mark up languages will be addressed and discussed in detail in the last chapter of my study.


34 As a counterpoint to such an alleged unsuitability, we can, however, point out that the recent decades have registered an increasing interest in abridging the distance 34 . This allegedly difficult relationship has been reconsidered from multiple perspectives and today we can rely on a considerable amount of scholarly work exploring the relevance of the Wittgenstein ian edited collection Wittgenstein, Theory and the Arts , for example, insightfully exami ne confusions and conceptual blunders in some of the most renowned theories of language The Literary Wittge nstein thought on issues that are central in literary theory and criticism. And, by focusing on the most advanced poetic practices of our time, the remarkable work of Marjorie Perloff with its frequent references to scholars such as Terry Eagleton, Pierre Bourdieu and Stanely Cavell offers further evidence to the possibility of looking at Wittgen adventurous Ordinary Language Criticism: Literary Thinking Af ter Cavell After Wittgenstein and the web based OLP & Literary Studies Online 35 , an academic blog run 34 This tendency becomes more evident when we consider the relationship between Wittgenstein and the The Transfiguration of the Commonplace Art as Language: Wittgenstein, Meaning, and Aesthetic Theory , Brian Winkenweder, Reading Wittgenstein: Art as Philosophy and others. 35 See OLP & Literary Studies Online at .


35 by Williams College English Professor Bernard Rhie that regularly provide subscribers with relevant updates on scholarship focusing on Wittgenstein and lit erature. however, do not exclusively belong to the range of individual arbitrary scholarly attempts. philosophical concerns actually originated (and shaped up) in relation to a generalized so called crisis of representation. As Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin acutely remark in , spe aking scholarly communities of formal logicians and analytic philosophers often encourages a thorough overlook of the influence of his native intellectual environment. The Viennese city was already housing a whole generation of intellectuals committed to a programmatic will for clarity in every field (Karl Kraus in literature, Adolf Loos in architecture, Fritz Mauthner in rom this point of view, can be situated within the frame of a general reaction to the phoniness, fakeness, empire and of its cultural productions. Fin de siècle Vienna, in other words, c ould indeed be seen as already crying out problem of the nature and limits of language, expression and communication 117), a d in writing . According to Janik and Toulmin, then, despite the surface contrast between the two works, both the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations can be seen as fundamentally dealing its of linguistic expressions


36 ( 224). 36 Seen as the product of a thinker engaged in a larger reaction against the rigid work can stand therefore as an invaluable an d productive resource for anyone interested in creative forms of representation, i.e. in a set of semiotic practices that in Western culture, at least since Plato and Aristotle, has included literature among its most representative modalities. Moreover, si nce his reaction took the form of a post Kantian comprehensive Sprachkritik a philosophical view that might prove more usef ul to address the issue of literary expression in the age of digital humanities, an age in which scientific and humanistic concerns seem to interact and ultimately intertwine in an increasingly complex relationship . A fundamental discordance, however, is l ikely to arise here one that might perhaps account as philosophical views, especially the ones emerging from the Philosophical Investigation , as a valuable tool for the analysis of literary arte facts. The characterization of literature as a form of representation, namely as the use of literary signs portraying situations and concepts (i.e. signs ideally standing for something else), proves hardly compatible with one of the basic features of Wittg 36 that of values and, in Janik an and Russell afterwards were eventually to offer Wittgenstein what can be mainly rega rded just as suitable instruments (symbolism) and techniques (formal/mathematical logic) to carry on such a long established intellectual enterprise.


37 philosophy in 1929 . 37 By that time Wittgenstein had, in fact, begun to abandon what is considered as the thesis lying at the chore of his monumental Tractatus Logico Philosophicus , namely the pictorial natu re of language. A major feature of Ludwig his unsystematic process of dissolving the centrality of the relational identity between language propositions and realit y. A crucial consequence of such a process is his progressive unmaking of the pre eminence of philosophical discourse as a meta discourse over and about language . As he is usually understood, the philosopher of the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus was initia lly concerned with a so called pictorial theory of language. Language could portray a possible state of affairs in reality because both language and reality shared a nexus. According to this view, philosophical problems arose when our everyday language happ ened to mask the hidden logical form of our sentences and made them result in propositional nonsense. Philosophical problems could therefore be solved, i.e cleared away, by recognizing how our sentences can be logically ill formed statements. At the early everyday language is posed in terms of the ability to see clearly the logic that lies beneath such language . 37 composition process of his major published works see Ray Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius .


38 evelopment using language, that is, without any recourse to an explanation of language b y means of any explanations I already have to use language full blown (not some sort of preparatory, what logicians have said about the structure of language. (Including the author of the Tractatus Logico Philiosophicus about language; philosophers can only use language as they normally do in every specific situation. The frequent dialogues and the conversational style of the written remarks of the PI stand as an implicit dismissal of the pre assumption of philosophy as operating from any language meta level 38 and characterize his constant way of doing philosophy until the end of his life. By doing philosophy by means of an inhe rent exposure of language uses in writing, Wittgenstein cuts himself off from the earlier philosophical tradition of analytic philosophers and from the very idea that it is possible 38 The PI can be considered as an ongoing argument against the idea of replacing linguistic expressions with semantically equivalent ones or, that is to say, against the idea that signs can stand for something This qualification is important because the expression meta language here should not be confused with The existence of propositions able to speak about the set of all propositions was de facto already questioned in the Tractatus , see T 6.4 and subsequent in particular where Wittgenstein wr representing relation itself. This is unutterably shown in the language. For a basic explanation of the Tractatus see Ray Monk, How to Read Wittgenste in , chapter 2 and 3.


39 to achieve a general formula (read: a theory ) of the proposition as he him self had conversely previously expressed in the Tractatus . For the Wittgenstein of the PI, language theory and language practice no longer ideally belong to different fields. Most importantly, they no longer occur on different speculative levels nor can th ey be experienced apart from each other. Here lies the root of the anti mentalist, or we would better say anti Saussurean, 39 his characterization of language meaning as use . The idea of statements as having signified meaning or concept conceived as a mental entity for example) suddenly vanishes into the full acknowledgment that picturing is only one of the innumerable things we can do with language. theory should therefore start from the consideration that in the Investigations to the idea of the pictorial nature of language (and of language meta levels) is implicitly included some kind of resistance to the idea of the representational nature of literature. With such a consideration in mind, we might start to see the Wittgenstein ian perspective as potentially useful only or mainly for cer tain types of literature, possibly the ones not characterizable as forms of representation or the ones that, in 40 In other words, 39 Course in General Linguistics (posthumously published in 1916 out of his students) is considered at the base of many linguistic approaches in r elation to the treatment of language ferential elements. Each ele ment of the system , as a linguistic sign, represents a unity constituted by a signifier (a word for example) and a signified (the mental concept associated with it). 40 Cfr the volume Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing where editors Dworkin and Goldsmith collect writings and works concerned with literary experiments oriented towards non representational modalities.


40 to make sense of contemporary authoring practices in settings in which written not to be read but rather to be shared, mov (xix) From this point of view, all the textual gestures encouraged by computer technology in digital settings seem particularly prone to generate a kind of literature specifically resonant with eaning as use as stated in the PI . A Wittgensteinian Poetics for The Digital Age Scholarly reflections on contemporary poetics often take the current condition of writing in a situation of technological emplacement as one of their major issues. The issue i s so foundational that when it comes to delineating a p resent day poetics, the often seem to work as interchangeable prefixes. 41 Considerations on the degree to which contemporary writing practices need to presuppos e technical expertise in technologies of digital communication often partake technology just as a mere tool (roughly, a means to an expressive end in this case) or we c onversely frame it within a larger conceit of poiesis , i.e. of maki ng and producing that includes expressive and artistic production among its instantiations . 42 However, the use of digital technologies for artistic purposes has often encouraged a less metap hysical reflection on the role of theory and praxis in ways that free digital praxis 41 This is also suggested by the rec Electronic Book Review ) in relation specifically to e literature. 42 The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays High Techne: Art and Technology from the Machine Aesthetic to the Posthuman .


41 from the simplistic view that considers theory as the pre requisite leading to subsequent applied ind out what is possible in digital textuality, what are the limits of expression in programmable media , 43 as Raine Koskimaa puts it, that authors often open possibilities for theoretical formulations. As a consequence, when discussing poetics in relation to contemporary writing technologies, theory and praxis are rarely treated as neatly distinguishable activities. On the contrary, running the risk of oversimplification, w e might say that the often points precisely to a set of gestures that regularly questions alleged fractures between theory and practice. As emerging from the collection of essays in the volume Contemporary Poetics edited by Louis Armand, renewed formulation in a generative technics of writing, wherein the two terms are no longer or a specific aesthetics then, formulations of contemporary poetics seem to place emphasis on the assemblage generated by the interlacing of theory and praxis and on the condition of imaginative possibilities such a hybrid domain inevitably brings along . ns of an envisaged poetics, we need to acknowledge that poetics is undoubtedly a contested term in the first place and that this is the place neither to trace its history at large nor to address in depth the grand debate on the very nature of the word and its uses. It is worth remembering, however, that in Western culture the concept of poetics goes back 43 See Raine Koskimaa


42 was ideally part of a two book set of which only a fragment of the first is currently extant and available to modern readers. Modern readings of this ancient Greek fragment (probably written between 334 and 330 B.C.) involve all the problems such an extensive temporal gap can produce. Just like the literal translation of the Greek poetes would poetics itself has undergone major readjustments over the centuries. Thes e have in several cases expanded its meaning well beyond the original prescriptive characterization of a systematic doctrine or theory of drama. 44 Today, in an ideal search for those features iority to ele or its moral rigor i (as Aristotle in search for a systematic digital poetics in par ticular, we replaced those features re exhibited by contemporary texts and with the dispersion that so frequently underpins postmodernist literary productions. As Gil bert Murray observes in his renowned Preface to On the Art of Poetry: Aristotle read, not as a dogmatic text book but as a first attempt, made by a man of astounding genius, to build up in the region of c reative art a rat ional order . . . , then the uncertainties become rather a help than a discouragement. They give us occasion to 44 In the 20 th century, for example, the term has been used to refer to explicit theoretical expositions of artistic methodologies (such as avant garde manifestos), to describe the specific features of an modus operandi once this appears as sufficiently stabilized and recognizable or, lastly, to discuss poetry and its theories specifically.


43 rigorous hermeneutical exegesis of the existing text, we should probably focus on undertaking. From this point of view, finding a speculative frame to make sense of contemporary language based digital productions would become a que stion of At the time I am writing, discussions on the possible existence of so called digital poetics have gone on for some time. 45 Academic contributions have explored areas well beyond the domain of the pressing concerns of creative writers and many a scholar in textual studies , 46 for example, has shown an interest in digital poetics by putting as Praxis: The Poetics of Electronic Textuality, In sketching the field of digital humanities and electronic textuality I want to make an argument for the aesthetic function of poetics a crucial feature of its theoretical activity. Even more radically, I will sugges t that it is experimental poetics at its most imaginative, in pataphysical engagements with the science of exceptions, or the practice of imaginary solutions, that will fuel significant theoretical innovation. (686) Drucker looks at experimental poetics as a crucial tool for the future of literary studies in relation to digital media. From her point of view, poiesis can provide scholars engaged in theoretical research on textuality with radical points of observation. As it will hopefully become clear along my 45 See the monograph Digital Poetics by Loss Pequeno Gl azier which will be discussed in details in Memmot, Digital Rhetoric and Poetics: Signifying Strategies in Electronic Literature . 46 Cfr Matthew Kirschenbaum, M achine Vision: Towards a Poetics of Artificial Intelligence at or Kurt Brereton, CyberPoetics of Typography at .


44 envision a literary poetics that might help us in making sense of contemporary practices related to digital lite rary arti facts. If approached from the right perspective, a philosophical view on language that sees it as the mastery of rule based techniques in relation to specific language uses should ideally meet the needs of anyone interested in better understanding the complex, more or less structured, set of expressive intentions/gestures lying at the root of artistic and literary productions in the 21 st century creations that can be seen as increasingly oriented towards non representational modalities (as second generation e literary works seem to be) . Remarkable scholarly attempts to elaborate Wittgensteinian poetics have alread y been carried on in the fields of language art and literary theory. Among them, Marjorie represents a m ajor landmark in such an imaginative enterprise and undoubtedly deserves the occasional reappearance of discussion that will feature in various sections of the following chapters. For the moment, it is enough to focus on the role the book has played in the development of my attempt to link the PI with digital literature. provides an impressive survey of cultural productions either implicitly or explicitly resonant with a Wittgensteinian poetics previously identified by the author. Such poetics unfolds in relation to three fundamental (repeated beginnings contra both linear conceptual development and meta language/meta theory), and revision (i.e. rep etition with a difference). As Perloff observes in the opening of the book, the list of works and authors ideally belonging to this artistic Wittgensteiniana is ideally much larger and variegated than the number of


45 works actually discussed in detail in the rest of the book. 47 However, rather than volumes as aesthetic works themselv es . The Tractatus is, in fact, regarded as a war to his direct exposure to the experience of death during World War One. Similarly, the Philosophical Investigati ons are considered a literary achievement, if not from a formal estion of the poet 51). i t is the combination between h is commonsensical study of actual linguistic practices and his ( 200). For this reason, Perloff does not make categorical distinctions between Wittgensteinian works a nd Wittgensteinian artists. 48 Especially when it comes to artists, Wittgenstein is rarely portrayed as a thinker laying foundations for subsequent coherent, as well as in other commen Wittgen inspirer As someone discussi ng Wittgenstein in relation to method and doctrine , Joseph Aesthetics and the Philosophy 47 Stanzas in Meditation Watt (chap. 4), Thomas Mal ina (chap. 5), poems and prose by Letters from Wittgenstein, Abridged in Kent photographic book (Coda). 48 In a rtworks or literary works are ofte n treated as Wittgenstein ian in nature without their authors actually acknowledging any debt to the Austrian philosopher while, on the other hand, Wittgenstein ian authors might sometimes produce artistic outcomes that are not always recognizable as repre


46 way of inspiration 324). And Terry Eagleton, in his prefatory note to Wittg enstein: The Terry Eagleton Script and the Derek Jarman Film , goes straight to the heart of the question when he asks , What is it about this man which so fascinates the artistic imagination? Frege is the philosopher of poets and composers, playwrights and novelists, and snatches of his mighty Tractatus have even been set to music. (5 ) A good starting point i n trying to address such questions as crucial in imagining Wittgenstein as the inspirer of a contemporary poetics might be to look at the writerly language and to his fund amental awareness that hardly language meta levels might philosophical guise) all the inner struggle that consummated all the great poets: the tragedy of possessing an awarene ss that seems de facto un shareable. Not only can we assume such devastating concern as troubling him in relation to his written communication with others, 49 but the feeling also finds expression in Culture and Value in the form of an inability of fulfillin g in writing even his own philosophical wishes: I think I summed up my position on philosophy when I said: One should really only do philosophy as poetry. From this it seems to me it must be clear to what extent my thought belongs to the present, to the fu ture, or to the past. For with this I have also revealed myself to be someone who cannot quite do what he wishes he coul d do. ( 24) the work in which his philosophical wr iting fully operates from the point of view of such 49 of the Tractatus , The Duty of Genius 164)


47 a n a wareness. In other words, such philosophically grounded awareness becomes evident also by means of his very own writing. Interestingly enough, the Preface to the PI (written in 1945), far from explain ing his writing methodology, appears to the reader mainly as a justification of his series of unsatisfactory attempts. The Preface states how un satisfaction, i.e. of . Starting from an attentive focus on this specific aspect, the research agenda that unfolds along the chapters of my study can be roughly synthesized as following. Philosophical Investigation s can be thought as written language that, far from aiming at referential communication, draws attention to the way language operates. In the PI, language such cannot and does not refer to somethin g external to it. From this point of view, not portrays) the awareness of having to confront a device already functioning according to rules. These rules can become evident in and through writing. Wittgenstein as a philosopher of language and digital creators as contemporary writers can then be thought of as sharing the awareness that they are in a condition of doing something with a device already functioning a ccording to a set of rules. To expose human languag e in writing, as Wittgenstein did in the PI, is similar to w hat we would describe today as printing out the machinic source code of human utterances. In other words, to attend to rule driven aspects of language he had to visualize those uses in writing : he had, as it were, to try them out. Such a practice can appear as not dissimilar to the way digital writers try out the algorithmic, computational, and procedural aspects of writing by means of the code based or


48 software based writing surface testing, by doing so, the procedural aspect of the digital outcome. Every new inscription was for Wittgenstein a way to see new aspects of the device called language he was using . 50 H ence his freque nt remarks about him the same thing over and over again and insistence on 51 unfold in the doing . By writing (looking), you can see . These are not to be intended as separate moments though. at the same time is close to music playing, a practice in which you use the instrument and listen to its effect at the same time. 52 In listening , you attend to the specific characteristics of melody (which bec ome visible precisely when you are eng ). Accordingly, all at once, i.e. its components might not be separable into logical steps eventu ally leading to a poetics intended as a structured intellectual construction. By exposing us to selling us less a set of doctri As such, a Wittgenstein ian poetics . It must rather be recognized by 50 Likew what we term digital reading or digital writing rather than as an opportunity to genera te new concepts and theories about language that now appears as digital ly mediated. 51 This is radically different from the poststructuralist concept of iterability and the issue will be explored in chapter 3 in relation to Codework. 52 As Charles Harrison observes in Art in Theory 1900 1990 ant garde factions of the early twentieth century that attention to the specific details of the natural world was inconsistent with fulfillment of the expressive potential of art. As the form of the modern arts which was most clearly both expressive and ab stract which is to say free of the requirement of description music came to be seen as the type of all the others. Around the turn of the century, musical theories of expression and composition were adopted as a means to the advancements of architectur (13)


49 precisely because, as Wittgenstein used to say, they are rig ht in front of our eyes. The attempted? And what if we correspondingly plan (set our minds ) to attending to Mirroring Tears , i.e. to reading Mirroring Tears , by attentive description? A detailed treatment of this work will feature in C hapter 4 but, for the moment, we can try to start to read Mirroring Tears differently just as we had anticipate d at the end of the second section of this chapter. For the time being, in other words, maybe we can just begin to look and see . The first thing we should be able to see is that Mirroring Tears offers no reading interface. There are indeed instructions giv en by the authors on how to use the e lit piece (how to activate or deactivate the readers for example) but no instructions whatsoever is provided about how to practically read the piece. And a similar experience occurs when we find ourselves in front of t he text of the Philosophical Investigations into the workings of language is that they do not offer any interface. We do not find in the PI, for example, the hierarchical numbers of the Tractatus as a s ystematizing textual tool. The understanding of the text is based merely on the language game the readers play with it. Secondly, if we try to look just at the written content of Mirroring Tears ce of ecstasy in front of viewing something. The entities triggering the enlightening rapture can be i dentified in


50 in the case o /flowers/landscapes in the this specific aspect, we can see how both poetic compositions are concerned with the sublime moment in which words are developed in the last decades of the nineteenth century , namely an age characterized by an intellectual reaction to rational positivism. It is an age of non E uclidean geometries, subconscious psychological irrationalities, and existenti al philosophies like effect can fully and ultimately explain the individual. There is a sense that there is something in th e individual self and in the individual consciousness that escapes rational logic, something that only art and poetry can approach, sense, and perceive. T he e lit piece we are looking at can be seen as precisely instant iating this basic condition of, as it were, indifference to saying . If we plan to look at the utterance Mirroring Tears might be speaking to us, this would likely take the form of something l . 53 Again, the same happens with the Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations . The philosopher is not interested in saying something specific as much as he is inte rested in visualizing speaking itself in the writte The Style of the Investigations of W is that he writes : he does not report, he 91) It is by looking at 53 suggestively, to the ingenious use of the blank spaces discussed by Mallarmé, Mirroring Tears responds with black gaps in the p around the voids.


51 this writing in a certain way that we can have some sort of enlightenment and eventually see . The above barely sketched correspondence between the PI and a piece of e lit works as a basic operational model for the subsequent chapters. The structural plan of my study is to relate a detailed analysis of selected sections of the PI to the specific issue analyzed in each chapter. As it will become hopefully clear, the poetics I am envisioning does not emerge in any way as medium specific. It rather attempts to bridge across attitudes in different media in order to push our concept of t he digital closer to the Wittge nstein ian characterization of language than it usually appears to be. My research attempts at hypothesizing a way in which the digital might not be seen as mediating language as much as instantiating language. The digital as language that unfolds through the series of activities emerging from the apparatus shift under way that The digital is likely to appear as a language whose grammar is, of course, yet to explore. Its possible exploration is, however, contingent on our inclination to attend to digital practices as language utterances w hose meaning is use. potentially leading to what I would name an Ordinary Digital Philosophy. As the expression implies, the analogy with the previous philosophical tradition is established via the identification between the word the word ODP . 54 The digital, from this point of view, is not a format in which language (or thought) takes shape. The digital (i.e. the practices it instantiates) is language. That is why digital 54 It is important to stress that ODP here is not to be intended as Ordinary Digital Philosophy and bears no relation whatsoever to what already goes under the name of so philosophy interested in treating both reality and mind as fundamentally computational. Expon ents of such a philosophical view include mathematicians and theoretical physicists such as Gregory Chaitin, Edward Fredkin, and Konrad Zuse.


52 works a language but rather as actual utterances in language . Such perspective leads to the analysis of various int erconnected issues. In Chapte r 2 , Jonathan Tree of Codes , for example, is regarded as offering a relevant instantiation (in the modality of print) of the poetics of attention I am here attempting to sketch. Foer uses the die Street of Crocodiles original novel a whol e new literary work that bears sculptural quality become one and the same: reading as writing. Writing, rather than an expressive ac tivity, becomes a year long observation of a pre existent text in order to captu re , of attentiveness to specific possible re use of words (different uses of words). As we will see, Wittgenstein addresses rea ding as an activity whose nature is not based on experience in PI §§ 156 book can be characterized as a work emerging out of a language game reco nfiguration as The issue of language game reconfiguration gets then analyzed in depth in relation to so called Codework, i.e. the artistic use of the contemporary computing idiolect in experimental writing by Alan Sondheim, Mez, Talan Memmo tt, and John Cayley in Chapter 3. Chapter 3 builds on the abovementioned h ypothesis that written remarks in t concepts but as actual samples of language processes. From this point of view, they inherently show the blending of source code (instru ctions for language rules) and already e xecuted text (actual language/thought behavi or). As Louis Armand observes, C odework can be seen


53 of to attend to meaning as use ? What kind of disturbance is produced in this case? As we will see, Wittgenstein in the PI rarely worries about warning the reader about theme changes or about his returning over and over on the same topic. Again, just like co de based C odework texts do, . Chapter 4 is dedicated to exploring the specificities of looking at e literature works and seeing them as ut terances. The Wittgenstein ian Ordinary Language P hilosophy perspective allows us to see how e lit works often encourage a coalescen ce of various in literary contexts. As Severin Schroeder observes, beside intransitively used in at least three different ways, denoting (1) value (how much something means), (2) a specific Gestalt (meaning as expressive of a specific structure), or (3) an apparent appropriateness (something as meaningful element). The difficulty to neatly separate these uses during e reading can be put in relation with the fact that digital works often visually off er themselves to the reader as organic entities interweaving perman as so called changing utterances whose configurations of words are purposefully meant to undergo readjustments and modulations . E literature works would therefore be better addressed , however, also addresses the issue of meta languages and seeing aspects in relation to widespread


54 discourses and practices in so called digital human i ti es such as mark up coding , distant reading, and data processing . The reason why I am treating , for example, mark up language as a final topic is that this study plans to remain focused as a recognizably literary one. Digitization practices, although vital in the current interexchange between the promises (and the losses) of the transition to a fully digital textuality, remain so far confined to the field of textual studies. Although literature cannot certainly ignore the transformative dynamics of the so ca lled digital humanities, there is a chance that literature might stay as a living/lively critique of the reconfiguration of humanistic concerns that seems to inevitably follow accordingly. 55 As such concerns, predominantly speculative in nature, are more an d more blending with empirical ones, literature and literary criticism might work as an operational critique for larger academic dynamics rather than simply follow the path outlined by DH trends. My hope is that my proposal to look at literary practices in the digital era from the point of view of OLP can contribute to generate a concern for the specificity of literature (and of the humanities and therefore humanity at large) within the set of multifariously connected language games that define contemporary and future practices in academia as well as in life . 55 up encodations as poetic practices presented at Digital Humanities 2011 is crucia l here. See 22 June 2011. Conference Presentation.


55 CHAPTER 2 CARVING OUT (USES) AS MEANING The Different Language At the end of Chapter 1 I have proposed to read Mirroring Tears differently. The suggestion to read a litera ry artefact differently , be the artefact either in print or digital format 1 , might actually sound as a customary type of advocacy in the literary field. Especially on the wake of so called Critical Literacy 2 (and to an extent of so called Critical Theory) in recent decades, the practice of developing alternative readings of a text has come to represent a constitutive part of literary studies as a whole, an element that informs its methodologies as well as its goals as an academic discipline. Reading differe ntly, in this sense, can be said to have become within writing programs and literature departments a true imperative that follows from a fundamental pedagogical concern in encouraging critical thinking . In most writing courses and literature classes, indiv idual readings are not only encouraged but de facto expected. Originality of analysis is, in fact, presented in the so called academic honour codes of several US educational institutions as a feature of take the form of the unethical 1 To have a sense of the gradual reconfigu ration of such categorical distinctions in the age of digital igital technologies are now so thoroughly integrated with commercial printing processes that print is more properly considered a particular output form of electronic text than an entirely separate medium. Electronic Literature: What Is It? d igital born literary works or so called e literatures apply to forms of textual in scriptions that, in exploiting the capabilities and affordances of digital environments for aesthetic purposes, result irreducible to any of their possible respective print equivalents. 2 The term refers to a pedagogical approach influenced by the work of Paulo Freire that advocates for an empowering of the reader in terms of developing strategies that might question the dominant reading of a text. See Paulo Freire. Education: the Practice of Freedom . London: Writers and Readers Ltd, 1976.


56 behaviour termed plagiarism, 3 which, in its extreme manifestation, might even result in copyright infringement. In its less lawful, protocological, or codified configuration, reading differently is anyway promoted in the name of paying due attention to the trans cultural, trans historical, and trans discursive relationships typical of the encounters is usually characterized as a pre eminent ly speculative activity that goes under the name of interpretation or, meaning construction. In literary settings interpretive diversity has therefore come to be mapped and understood in a way that virtually coincides with our very idea of reading as such. 4 On the one hand, in approaching a certain text, everyone carries out some form of personal reading. On the other hand, if interpretive reading is concerned with the establishment of trans contextual bridges, there are likely to be as many bridges as many text reader couplets can be established . In discussing so heterogeneous an exploration of meaning by means of reading, the theoretical debate within the community of letters has then gone deeply sophisticated in relation to where such meaning creation act ually occurs, either in the individual self or in its context based historical and sociological construction. Paul 3 An exemplary an omaly to this general tendency is represented by Kenneth Goldsmith who teaches at is , in his own words, extension of [his] own poetics. In it, students are penalized for sho wing any shred of originality and creativity. Instead, they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, repurposing papers, patchwriting, sampling, plundering, and stealing. However, it is important to qualif y in this context that the practice encouraged by Goldsmith applies to writing and is not specifically concerned with reading. 4 Differentiation of interpretive stance s in relation to both individual and collective literary phenomena is so integrated withi n literary criticism that the scholarly debate about literature has long operate d by means of a continual change of perspective s over specific issues or themes. At the level of literary theory such tendency translates into encouraging the production of met hodologies of interpretation that are abl e to change the field as such . Within this traditional inclination, the contemporary digital turn of humanistic inquiry is likely to be welcomed as revolutionary in its paradigmatic reorientation of our critical pos sibilities.


57 5 has become predominant in various fields concerned with an interest in reading, fields such as the history of the book or cognitive studies. These disciplines tend to privilege a characterization of reading as a (constructed) historical or sociological proces s or practice 6 and to consequently downplay the investigation of reading as a phenomenological event. However, even so called anti contextualist scholars who privilege an attention to the lived experience of reading (and whom Armstrong seems to look with f avour) do not fail to look at reading as an intricate process or a practice, although an affective, socially, or aesthetically contingent one . The characterization of reading as a complex process or practice has created a large consensus around the assumpt reading can be studied mainly by its traces . 7 Addressed either as an experience of the text or as a procedure on the text, reading in literary studies seems to matter mostly in relation to the different outcome s it produces in terms of meaning creation. It might be sufficient to consider that even when addressed as a process put in motion by the text, reading is still analyzed in terms of its consequences. Contributions by literary theorists, for 5 6 From this point of view, history of the book can be characterized as the discipline that investigates the history of past meaning making possibilities while cognitive science can be seen as the discipline that regards reading as the locus in which to understand the historical evolution of our accounts of consciousness and mind. 7 See scholarly works focused on evidence o f reading practices such ex libris , scholia, glosses, 13) or tools that can expose trends in and features of past reading practices such as the Reading Experience Database < > or Material Evidence in Incunabula < >


58 example, have v alue insofar as readers will afterwards read differently as a consequence of theoretical argumentations or insofar as readers will be able to re conceptualize past readings in the light of what they have just read. More generally, texts seem to fulfil thei kind of cognitive reconfiguration. Along these lines, Hayles provocatively observes how perceptive and c Electronic Literature ) From this point of view, texts are therefore regarded as cognitive tools producing effects by means of reading. 8 All these perspectives seem to converge in regarding reading literature as some treatm ent applied to literary data. As a result, meaning stands as a malleable entity that gets created somewhere in between the reader and the text. Such entity can be seen, figuratively speaking, as the precipitate of a chemical process occurring between the t ext (encrypted data) and its user (algorithm generator for their treatment): a process we then take various forms according to the privileged metaphor we choose to apply: retrieval (as in hermeneutic deciphering and decoding), discovery (as in deconstructive reading), activation 9 (code based browsing), or even conscious generation (a creative 8 implied/inscribed readers with empirical audiences. consequence, he goes on by listing a number of other ways of using books. The list includes gift s, rituals, investments, and even engineering challenges (the latter usually a prerogative of the book historian rather reading ends up reinforcing the relegation of reading within the pre eminently intellective domain while the other practices appear as mainly concerned with extra cognitive one. 9 Katherine that are stored until activated by a reader, at which point a complex transmission process takes place


59 recreation of the original text by means of some further external encodation as i n reader response criticism). All these metaphors can prove, however, hardly compatible with my proposal to read Mirroring Tears differently, which will find adequate illustration in Chapter 4 hopefully emerge as clearly incongruous with the above making mental activity that yields different semantic interpretations of a text, i.e. alternative meani ngs of its content . As I have explained in Chapter 1, the rationale of my study lies in adopting OLP as a lens to look at contemporary digital literary practices. To have a sense of my use of the expression reading differently in relation to this general p urpose, we might start by noticing how OLP is more comfortable with what we might call an un coded model of meaning. 10 It might be useful to reiterate how OLP focuses on close attention to how words and language expressions are employed in an array of diffe rent circumstances that are studied in their own specificity. By attending to the description of a variety of specific uses of words, then, OLP implicitly discards the notion that a proposition houses meaning in the form of a content that can be convenient ly converted from one form of representation to another, i.e. from one code to another. As a consequence, in applying the OLP perspective to literature (and especially to digital literature as we will see), we might expect to operate from a perspective tha between writer and reader, mediated by the specificities of the book as a material med 57 , El ectronic Lit erature ). 10 ance in language, has many different uses and some of these in particular code as rule following process will be discussed in detail in the third chapter of my study in relation to the artistic practice of so called Codework aken as not strictly identifiable with any practice of converting bits of information from their source format into a more understandable arrangement mainly for communication purposes. This usually happens, for example, when we decipher poetic meaning by p


60 fundamentally questions the so discussed by the author in an article by the same title. century literary theory is almost entirely rule d by the view that the value or interest of a work of literature consists in its detected in literary theories that are interested in promoting readings according to some political or ideological concern (Marxism, feminism, etc.) as much as in literary theories that apparently look at reading literature for its own sake (structuralism 11 and its derivations). The source of this view lies in the failure to notice a basic ambig uity of the Brown Book . 12 the transitive use of ( what something means) , the ter m can be intransitively used in at least three other different ways. denote: (1) value ( how much something means); (2) a specific Gestalt ( meaning as expressive of a specific structure); or (3) some kind of appropriateness (somethi ng as meaningful element) . In all these cases, the possible (either explicit or implicit) use of produce linguistic situations in which the coded message model of a work of art f ails to de facto invalidate the counter question o f what that meaning in 11 Schroeder discusses various structuralist scholars in the article as enlightening examples of what he calls the coded message model of literature. In particular he discusses at length representative authors such as Roman Jakobson, Juri Lotman, and Michael Riffaterre. 12 See Ludwing Wittgenstein, BB: 158, 161.


61 each case would actually be. From this point of view, we can notice how OLP can then extend our critical perspective over such less explored areas of literary meaning. By being interested in the clarification of a variegated set of o ther uses of the word making often assumed as of primary importance in literature (and, most importantly, in literary scholarly training) such as content based ones. In my own p roject of reading encouraged by OLP is therefore included a related concern for the exploration of the attend, in fact, to reading as a word the level of language use, the implicit (often welcomed) ambiguity in the reading machines construct? 13 Investigating reading in the humanities is a problem destined to clash against its inevitably concentric and self referential nature. Scholars who write about reading, literary theorists, rhetoricians, reviewers, and so called common readers, namely all the parties involved in the investigation, they all read . Moreover, it might appear at least amusing to consider that, in order to get a better sense of the complexity o f reading, we are often required to read written materials by, say, textual scholars, bibliographers and other authors of scholarly pieces concerned with reading. By being a constitutive part of 13 See the considerable number of scholarly books and articles featuring such construct in their titles. Just Exfoliation: Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path , Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism Machine Poetics and Reading Machines: William Poundstone's Electronic Literature and Bob Brown's Readies


62 our notion of literacy, i.e. of what it means to be literate , reading partakes in the very premise of its own investigation. As a result, reading often stays as a conceptual entity whose monolithic character often remains itself unquestioned, an entity that, just like re able to explain. 14 Although, rather than in any substantial investigation of reading or in any investigation of reading as a of an ideal so called Ordinary Digital P hilosophy, my work can hardly appear to constitute an exception to the general pattern outlined above. I am therefore going to reading. In preparation for an attentive look a t the passage, some preliminary commentary might help to put things in perspective. After a critique of denotation theory of language (§1 64) and the unsystematic introduction of the basic notions of language game, meaning as use, and the renovated role of philosophy as description (§89 137), Wittgenstein devotes a whole cohesive section of the PI (remarks §156 78) to illustrating the functioning of so called language partic ular) actually pre dates the coinage and use of the term language game in 15 the game analogy begins to 14 Augusti ne in Book Eleven, Chapter XIV, of the Confessions discusses time as something hardly briefly explain it? Who can even comprehend it in thought or put the an swer into words? Yet is it not true that in conversation we refer to nothing more familiarly or knowingly than time? And surely we understand it when we speak of it; we understand it also when we hear another speak of it. What, then, is time? If no one ask s me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know. Yet I say with confidence that I know that if nothing passed away, there would be no past time; and if nothing were still coming, there would be no future time; and if ther e were nothing at all, there 15 Before 1932, the analogy between language and games mainly dealt with the discussion of formal systems such as arithmetic as a game played with mathematical symbols. Interlocutors in such debate


63 appear as fully functional to the development of his late work from 1932 onward, when the Austrian phi losopher comes to look at speaking as a rule guided activity that involves both linguistic and extra linguistic practices. Far from the previous characterization (typical of the Tractatus ) of language as an abstract system, ventually presents language as an open set of linguistic activities, physical gestures, and relational practices that are interrelated with the techniques through which we enact them. As he points out in an early remark of the PI, consisting of language and the actions into which it is woven, the actions, manifestations, and gestures does not allow for any degree of generalization beyond their cha racterization as precisely a weaved texture of language games. As he observes, these phenomena have no one thing in common which makes us use the same word for all, but that they are related to one another in many different ways. And it is because of this relationship, of these relationships, These variegated interconnections among language phenomena encourage us to see the written materials of the PI as a fragmentary mass of language instantiations. However, were we to look at the numbered remarks of the PI as some kind of hierarchically formalized structure of content, the section I am considering would be undoubtedly regarded as a digression meant to further clarify the independence of ind of mental experience. The language games involving the are Gottlob Frege and the so called Vienna Circle. See Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle (Oxford: Blackwell, 1979). In the PI, however, language is no longer seen as a formal system and has therefore for the late Wittgenstein no real essence. Unlike f ormal systems, language is rather made of various phenomena multifariously connected in a texture of family resemblances (PI §67).


64 language larger context of the uns ystematic treatment of language games pertaining to our so called form of life, reading is therefore offered by Wittgenstein in the following passage as something that can bring his anti full conspicuous c larity. The passage reads as follows. 157. Consider the following case. Human beings or creatures of some other kind are used by us as reading machines. They are trained for this purpose. The trainer says of some that they can already read, of others that they cannot yet do so. Take the case of a pupil who h as so far not taken part in the training: if he is shewn a written word he will sometimes produce some sort of sound, and here and there it to be roughly right. A third person hear s this pupil No, he isn't rea ding; that was just an . But let us suppose that this pupil continues to react correctly to further words that are put before him. A fter a while the But what of that firs wrong, and he did He onl ? When did he begin to read? Which was the first word that he read ? This question makes no se nse here. Unless, is the first word of the first series of 50 words that he reads correct If to stand for a certain e xperience of transition from marks to spoken sounds, then it certainly makes sense to speak of the first At this word for the first time I had the Or again, in the differen t case of a reading machine which trans lated marks into sounds, perhaps as a pianola does , it would be possible to say: The machine read only after such and such had happened to it after such and such parts had been connected by wires; the f irst word that it . But in the case of the living reading meant reacting to written signs in such and such ways. This concept was therefore quite independent of that of a mental or other mechanism. Nor can the teacher here say of th Perhaps he was already reading when he said that . For there is no doubt about what he did. The change when the pupil began to read was a change in his behaviour , and it m akes no sense .


65 The pa ssage offers itself as a written sample where we can evaluate the specificity of linguistic expressions. Such specificity revolves around a few important aspects that a clo se look at the passage can allow to see quite vividly. The four paragraphs in remark §157 shed light on the above mentioned complex texture of language and actions by illustrating four different cases in which the yed by speakers. Quite evidently, each readers. Interestingly enough, however, the nature of the actions taking place as well as the nature of the actors carrying them out is left by the author virtually undefined, uman beings or creatures of some other kind [emphas f on the to stand for a certain experience of transition [emphasis perhaps reacting to written signs in such a nd such ways paragraph four. These expressions are all characterized by a high degree of definitional vagueness. Quite surprisingly, however, despite such a high degree of indeterminacy, by reading the passage we find ourselves perfect ly able to make sense of the language dynamics that happen to take place in each single case. In other words, even in the absence of any rigorous preliminary definition that might unambiguously identify the procedural unfolding of each language exchange.


66 Here we can see the first major feature of the relation of meaning with game established by Wittgenstein. The language exchanges in remark §157, rather than having a meaning, appear to us as meaningful speech acts within some described language practice. The meaning of a word appears, that is to say, no longer contingent on some kind of entity associated with the word and meant to establish with the word a relation of either so called extensional denotation or intensional connotation. 16 More generally, we might say that, owing to the complete lack of definitions exhibited by the expressions in the above passage, meaning is not treated as something (else) for which a word can work as proxy. Meaning conversely emerges in each case, as it were, as a use within the specific described game in which it is employed. 17 As Wittgenstein had already started to point out in the Brown Book if we had to name anything which is the life of the sign, we should have to say that it was its use 4 ). It has been noticed time and again that the notion of meaning as use might appear a s not exclusively Wittgensteinian. Such notion permeates, in fact, other philosophical 16 In semiotics, in its most simplified account, denotation refers to the literal image, idea, or concept the word is assumed to portray while connotation is generally regarded as the figurative culturally based assumptions that can be derived from the word. For a detailed treatment of the semantic implications of the distinction between denotation as extensional meaning and conn otation as intensional meaning see the work of Alfred Korzybski, in particular Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics . New York: Science Press Printing Co., 1945. See also the work of his student and translato r S.I. Hayakawa, in particular Language in Thought and Action . New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990. 17 levels of language is not in order, the embedded within a sample of language use in remark § meaning, and you think of the meaning as a thing of the same kind of the word, though also differ ent from the word. Here the word, there the meaning. The money, and the cow you can buy with it. (But contrast:


6 7 critics such as Michael Dummet and Willard van Olman Quine (the latter arguing t hat the notion actually goes back to one of the leading pre analytic philosophers in America such as John Dewey 18 notion of meaning as rule guided use interacts with the game analogy in a way that makes his perspective quite divergent from the causal dynamics discussed in behaviourist philosophy as well as from the communication intention effects is worth dwel language and game as it will prove useful in our attentive examination of contemporary poetic practices in the digital age discussed in this chapter and in the following ones. An e ffective metaphor that we might use as guiding light to look at the quoted passage above is to see the short text as a chessboard in our own turn. Paraphrasing Hans Johann Glock, 19 we can say that the meaning of each occurrence of the like that of each chess piece, is the set of rules that determine its possible moves . However, what moves are actually possible depends, at each step, my suggestion o f adopting the chessboard metaphor has two consequences. First, it morphological identity, is not to be regarded as the occurrence of the same word just like a chess p iece that becomes endowed with a different set of moves on the board is 18 On the roots, origins and subsequent developments of analytic philosophy in the United States see: 19 See Hans A Wittgenstein Dictionary , pp. 193 98.


68 not to be regarded as the same piece. Secondly, as we repeatedly see in the passage, possible furt her language responses, i.e. subsequent moves within the game. In each paragraph, in fact, we see the expression positioned in a way that allows for certain countermoves in the game but not others. Here we can therefore notice another aspect specific to Wi ttgensteinian language games. games, the rules regulating such moves are neither prescriptive nor strategic. Speakers are not obliged to follow some determinate course of action. Nor can a rule determine what move ( i.e., what utterance, 20 would have it, for example). A rule, rather, determines what is correct or makes sense to say in a certain situation. Following this li ne of reasoning, we can understand how the progressive case by expectations generated in the reader according to some criter ia of correctness. Any speech act proves, in other words, meaningful in relation to some kind of rule following that appeals to other sentences ( grammar sentences) that we can use as standards of correctness, or, as Hans normatively to explain, of the game analogy 20 See J. L. Austin How To Do Things With Words in discusses language as including utterances that escape sentence characterization by means of true false values. Austin calls such locutionary , illocutionary , and perlocutionary acts.


69 to language: any language move would be meaningless in the absence of its multifarious connections to the other possible moves in the overall game of language. What matters most for the purposes of my study is that remark §157 proves al so habit to write down language rather than write about language. The opening line instruc tion. The ensuing juxtaposition of further cases (four in total) in the above mentioned passage makes us aware that the cases and examples deployed in purposes in terms of final wrap up of results. Not accidentally, the passage visibly ends exactly where the list of examples ends. This aspect implicitly makes examples, as it were, into samples . The accumulation of written language samples shows, i.e. makes us see parallel and different use in their respective contexts. In Wittgenstein, as represent nor hide essences; they teach ( show , instruct ) us how to use words: examples teach us how to go on : Wittgenstein is reminding us wh work as reminders insofar as they show us that we have a tendency to consider cases and examples as deviations from some real essence lying under the surface of the phenomenon of reading. To figuratively account for our condition, Wittgenstein uses later on in remark §164 the analogy of the artichoke according to which by continuously peeling it off in order to get to its essence you are eventually left with nothing in your hands. As Wittgens word , nam and try to grasp the


70 essence of the thing, one must always ask oneself: is the word ever actually used in this way in the language g ame which is its original home? asking suggested by Wittgenstein accounts for the fact that we tend to forget that the surface of the particular case we are considering might be, as the philosopher reminds ut of the family of cases . . . And in the same way we also use the word of cases. And in different circumstances we apply different criteria s reading. potentia meaning emerge. Meaning is not an entity we can mentally visualize and/or express by means of words as much as it is rather a technique we can master by paying careful attention to actual enacted language practices. As Søren Overgaard notices in Wittgenstein and Other Minds , Wittgenstein usually engages in dialogues with various imaginary or real interlocutors, and the point of these dialogues is not primarily to promote a set of fixed much as he is trying to get us to think carefully about certain philosophical issues. [emphasis added]. What does it mean then to think carefully about reading in an age of digital be used as reading machines able to disclose possibilities previously unthinkable for li terary historians, critics, and cultural analysts 21 , we are in a position to look at actual enacted reading practices spreading across a larger set than the ones listed in 21 See Lev Manovich, argues about a fruitful combination of (machine based) quantitative and (human based) qualitative approaches. < >


71 by need attentive consideration. In other words, in times in which reading and close reading coexists with computer assisted distant and scalable reading, 22 our understan ding of our ways of negotiating attention about reading practices, i.e. within language actual reading instantiations. As Walter Benjamin observed for film at the beginning of the twentieth century, technologies have often played a primary role in influencing our potentialities for accordance with patterns of modifications of mind habits similar to the one s encouraged The film has enriched our field of perception with methods which can be illustrated by tho se of Freudian theory. Fifty years ago, a slip of the tongue passed more or less unnoticed. . . . Since the Psychopatology of Everyday Life things have changed. This book isolated and made analyzable things which had therefore floated along unnoticed in th e broad stream of perception. For the entire spectrum of optical, and now also acoustical, perception the film has brought about a similar deepening of appercetion. (15) In attempting to look and see artworks created by means of poetic practices encouraged by contemporary digitality as related to a philosophical view of language functioning as a rule guided activity, my study aims at finding the grounds for ascribing to e literature and to the PI equivalent enlightening roles in bringing things to our 22 On t he introduction of the concept of distant reading in literary studies see Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History . On scalable reading and macroanalysis see Matthew Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary H istory (Topics in Digital Humanities) forthcoming on University of Illinois Press, June 2013.


72 atten that digital literatures can be said to enrich our habits of attention with methods that can be illustrated via Wittgensteinian theory as expressed in the PI. In the light of th to pay attention to our artworks, i.e. to read them carefully, or, that is, attentively, means and the likes in contemporary times and especially to the pre assumptions that go reading consequence, to read Mirroring Tears differently means to look and see what we mean by (i.e h ow do we use is to say, when we are in front of artworks whose modes of production rely on or are resonant with digital or computational processes. In order to shed light on the ways in wh ich the language games of the word how reading is enacted in the case of written productions that heavily relies on it, namely in the case of written productions whose aesthetic operations, just like Mirroring Tears does, largely build on reading mentioned in C hapter 1 start to emerge, my study has selected a set of cases/examples across various media for separat e but interrelated discussion in this and the following chapters. We might therefore start our survey by looking at what kind of reading is enacted in the case of a print author who, by means of reading, manipulates pre existing language (i.e. organized by pre existing language games) in a specific pre existing literary work. In e literature studies, such an author has been many a time been


73 referred to as a clear example of how digitality leaves its mark on print technology. The author I am referring to i s the Jewish American writer Jonathan Safran Foer and the specific work I choose to consider is his 2010 novel Tree of Codes . The novel is based on the manipu lative rewriting of Bruno Schul Street of Crocodiles into a new, autonomo us work by means of some kind of reading a process that, as we will see, can be considered as much undefined as in the case of as move towards a more affirmative stance as readers , to make of the act of reading the value of this statement can be better apprehended if we keep in mind the following simple consideration. Although in language arts reading is treated as a close counterpart of writing, the two activities have been generally given different degrees of consideration in relation to poiesis owing to their tradi tional separation in various fields of knowledge. According to cognitive studies, for example, reading and writing engage distinct areas of the human brain. Moreover, unsophisticated characterizations of these two performances tend to assign them a differe nt degree of agency. Writing is, in fact, frequently assimilated with some kind of production of meaning while reading with sheer grasping of it and writing has been therefore frequently seen as a skill while reading as a faculty, the former a dexterity wh ile the latter a mere capability . 23 Owing to the nontrivial influence of such oversimplifying perspectives, it might therefore be difficult to 23 See Steven Roger Fischer, A History of Reading , (London, Reaktion Books, 2003).


74 catch sight of the effectual, productive workings of reading in the creation of a language based work, let alone t o make out the active component of reading as primar il y responsible for the production of a certain written literary work . In Tree of Codes , however, Jonathan Safran Foer creatively blends reading and writing in an aesthetic operation that that bears moder New York Times on November 24 th his] favorite book, Bruno Schul Street of Crocodiles , and by removing words carv 24 Clearly, even without knowing details about the specific form of so called die cut technique 25 employed by Foer in the making of the book, we get a sense that the purposeful erasure of words must heavily rely on reading. In other words , it is easy to perceive that the carving out involved in the process is likely to bring the role of reading implicitly into prominence in the creation of this object . According to several commentators, as well as to the London based publisher Visual Editi ons , the book can be understood as an art object that maintains the form of a book. In this respect the book differs from other works of so called book art such as the ones produced, for example, by Doug Beube or Brian Dettmer. As Kiene Brillenburg remarks Tree of Codes while Beube's and Dettmer's bookworks are not meant to be read we see these works in galleries and 24 Hell Jonathan S The New York Times . 25 The issue of assessing in what relation the die cut technique might stand to other practices of text manipulation that have frequently been associated with both avant garde and digital media poetics (collage, cut up, sampling, and o thers), is beyond the scopes of the issues discussed in this chapter. Although undoubtedly relevant, the theme is here strategically bracketed in order to allow a more extensive focus on language games pertaining to reading and writing.


75 museums, not in libraries and bookshops or on our bookshelves at home Tree of Codes is still as m uch a work of literature as it is a work of sculpture: it hesitates in between both. 26 Such an oscillation, however, does not seem to push the book toward the territories of conceptual art, a form of art that, in many a formulation such as Tony oes not rely on forms and materials but on ideas and meanings and where the idea behind a work of art often replaces or proves in any case more relevant than the actual artifact. a technique that has, in different ways, been practiced for as long as there has been 27 and mentions A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel by Tom Phillips as one a nd/or removing words from a pre existing one. The issue of what specific artistic or experimental label should be applied to Tree of Codes , i.e. whether the book should be more properly considered as an either modernist or conceptual work, is definitely be yond the scope of my study. It might suffice to keep in mind, however, that although according to art critics such as Tony Godfrey Conceptual Art can be seen as an actual reaction to Modernism, other commentators such as Charles Harrison have qualified tha t the problem for many post war artistic movements (including his very own Art & Language ) was the recovery of protocol (31) In the specific field of literature Foer seems to follow the modernist tradition of the generation of Jewish writers that emerged after the war as the so called golden age of 26 Kiene Brillenburg Tree of Codes 27 safran foers book as art object/


76 Jewish American literature (including, among others, Saul Bellow, Arthur Miller, Bernard Malamud, Delmore Schwartz, Joseph Heller, E. L. Doctorow). These writers, in Richard their landmarks . 28 Jewish American writing in post war America is often said to lose its characterization as immigration literature and to focus more and more on the debunking and estrangement related to the existen ce in the modern city. As Ruland and Bradbury writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer whose fiction built the bridge between pre war Poland and modern New York, and of other Je wish writers who lived and died in the turmoils of Europe: Isaac Ba bel, Bruno Schulz, Franz Kaf k a writers whose sense of history had how the lineage relationship betw een Bruno Schul experimental writing procedure can become extremely relevant in this context, it is . Bruno Schul Games It is relevant t o keep in mind that Bruno Schul z can himself be framed within a context of modernist language experimentation. In his native Pola nd Schul z was, in fact, Witkiewicz, also k 28 See Richard Ruland, Malcolm Bradbury, From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature


77 the most radical figures of the inter war avant 29 (xiv) who was a painter, photographer, novelist, and most importantly in our context a philosopher. Goldfarb observe s how, by t he time he met Schul z, Witkacy had formulated a philosophically based avant without mediation [emphasis a ike for example, is not to be taken as a painted image portraying a man screaming but as, in fact, a scream painting, and drama were capable of Pure Form, while prose in general could at best only represent the experience of the individual in the face of Pure Form the exception writing we can th en have a sense of how Schul regarded to some extent as concerned with questioning language meta levels at the level of literary representation . It is helpful, at this point, to open a parenthesis to look more clos ely at some of the characteristics of Schul some of the most e vident features of Schul the ways in which Foer then re reads Schul s text in his speci fic way. It might be sufficient to include here below the v ery opening paragraphs of Schul : In July my father went to take the waters and left me, with my mother and elder brother, a pr ey to the blinding white heat of the summer days. Dizzy 29 ts in the Introduction to The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories (Penguin).


78 with light, we dipped into that enormous book of holidays, its pages blazing with sunshine and scented with the sweet melting pulp of golden pears . On those luminous mornings Adela returned from the m arket, like Pomona emerging from the flames of day, spilling from her basket the colourful beauty of the sun the shiny pink cherries full of juice under their transparent skins, the mysterious black morellos that smelled so much better than they tasted, ap ricots in whose golden pulp lay the core of long afternoons. And next to that pure poetry of fruit she unloaded sides of meat with their keyboard of ribs swollen with energy and strength, and seaweeds and vegetables like dead octopuses and squids the raw m aterial of meals with a yet undefined taste, the vegetative and terrestrial ingredients of dinner, exuding a wild and rustic smell. (3 ) hyper figurative or densely meta phorical writing. Literally no sentence it would be better to say no phrase goes by without exposing the reader to the experience of some kind of linguistic metaphor. As it is commonly understood, a metaphor 30 is a figure of speech that relies on the ju xtaposition of two terms by establishing some form or connection beyond their apparent lack of relation. In its simplest characterization, a metaphor can take the form of a particular kind of analogy that formally abolishes, erases, or does without the exp 31 As a basic example of such dynamic, we might consider that when Ovid writes in his Metamorphoses poet talking about time as a ravenous beast or like a voracious predator. As we can 30 Although metaphors can be seen as context related conceptual phenomena that can exceed the linguistic field (objects, situations, performances can all be used as metaphors), I use the term here as traditionally grounded within written linguistic conventions about figures of speech. To have a basic knowledge of how metaphor has been and is currently discussed within philosophy of language see 63. 31 Poetics where he had actually discussed the relation between simile and metaphor in reverse, analogy being in his view a p articular case of metaphor. See Poetics 21, 1457b9 16 and 20 22 .


79 easily grasp, the abolition of explicit semantic links present in the text as actual grammar elements within sentences can make the text, as it were, more structurally disconnected or syntactically disjointed than it might have been otherwise. This manipulability 32 in the sense that appare ntly far fetched associations can facilitate further, and even more daring reconfigurations of those associations. Although not abundantly present in the above passage as in the rest of the book, an other striking feature of Schul horical locutions frequently rely on the modality of synesthesia, i.e. the pairing of two words belonging to utterly dif ferent sensorial spheres. Schul words towards such extreme internal tension that ex pressions become often contradictory if not properly oxymoronic. Examples of such metaphorical peaks can, their conversation suddenly revealed a full grown day, a gray and empty Tuesday, a 33 (27). In this fashion, Schul conceived of as writing that largely builds precisely on the impossible coexistence of its own elements. In Wittgenstein i an terms, we can say that Schul 32 (138) in the Tree of Codes Afterword (an opinion also reiterated in the New York Times interview ) seem s, from this point of view, at least curious. 33 This is a clear example of uncanny word/language use of the kind described by John Verdi in Fat Wednesday association of a d ay having a face. seeing as related to language based abilities to recognize aspects will become crucial in my discussion of e literature works as changing expressive Gestalts in chapter four.


80 constituted precisely by a continual clash of the language games rules of its el ements. Not accidentally, Schul of the plot occur by one sentence per page at most and, paradoxically, narrative strands mainly spring out from the metaphori cal quality of his descriptive style. There is very little story occurring in the collection of stories as Schul z spends most of his writing changes, and so on. In such descriptions, as we can see above, he also makes a large use of proper analogy between different single descriptions. These are often introduced poiesis in his writing. T o have a sense of the way Schul textual meaning to the reader by means of metaphors and analogies, we might refer to discovered manuscript of forthcoming publication with the title of Dictating Philosophy 34 featuring materials that Wittgenstein dictated to Francis Skinner, the philosopher points out : In notes, examples and similes are always useful. If I could give you enough of them, that wou ld be all that would be necessary. Usually we think of similes as second best things, but in philosophy they are the best thing of all. Part of our subject is that we must jump about and make connections. ( 18) From a Wittgensteinian perspective, then, rely ing on analogy paradoxically translates into an awareness of the impossibility of the meta level of description. The value of an analogy is not in its characterization as a tool for more general explanatory purposes but, rather, in the positioning of a sta tement right beside another one, in the fact that an 34 The volume is edited by Arthur G ibson. The quotation included here is made possible by Yasemin J.


81 utterance is followed by additional parallel utterances. As we have seen in remark §157, in order to provide the meaning of a word, in a Wittgenstein ian sense, we can only provide other examples of use of such word, namely other situations in which we can see the occurrence of meaningful speech acts related to the word. Mere definitions would only fail to help in achieving the mastery of the meaning of a word. To use one of how to actually move the king within the game to teach the meaning of a word is to teach the use of such w ord. From this point of view, the dense accumulation of alternative language uses conveyed by Schul sense by means of letting the reader experience a variegated picture of meaningful language acts that make the narrativ e eventually come into view. Now that we have a reading of Schul . Jonathan Safran Foer: a Human based Quest for Meaning fulness Jonathan Safran Foer is an author that can be said to divide contemporary literary critics when it comes to an overall assessment of the aesthetic value of his work. The adoption of modernist techniques and experimental devices, in an oeuvre whose often been seen as redundant and pretentious, if not merely pointless. His exploratory mindset and welcoming attitude toward the influence of other media in enhancing literary possibilities have, however, made his work well received within the community of scholars and practitioners of e literature and thoroughly worthy of examination within the larger concerns typical of the so called late age of print. His 2005 nove l Extremely


82 Loud Incredibly Close , for example, has been insightfully analyzed by Katherine Hayles in the coda of her book Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary as an ls while insisting on their performances as print texts, specifically through strategies of imit ation artwork Tree of Codes can be seen as engaging digital technologies a nd their related practices is that, just like John Cayley and Penny Florence in the case of Mirroring Tears , Foer uses another pre existing literary work as manipulable text. As in the case of the Mallarmée n poems re eaborated by the hybrid authorial const ruct Cayely /Florence+software, Bruno Schul for Foer as mere raw textual data undergoing, as it were, creative processing. Although the possibility of conceptualizing Foer as a reader in the guise of a (hum an) browser performing some kind of algorithmic procedure over literary data might be tempting in this context, its outcome would likely result in an impoverishment of the crucial role played by The Street of Crocodiles in the whole operation, a contributi on repeatedly claimed as essential by Foer himself. What matters most, there are reasons to argue that the features of Schul reading performance in ways that prevent the possibility o f tracking it down as any specific step by step process. By keeping in mind the above mentioned im plicit challenge posed by Schul levels (especially in relation t o the characterization of Schul an, in fact, draw at least


83 be formalized into a system of discrete instructions. Let us compare selected features of specific characteristic of Tree of Codes both as a literary work and a textual object (Figure 2 1 ) . Figure 2 1 . Pictures of Tree of Codes . First of all, as I have already observed, the list of examples in remark §157 is all we are left with at the end of our reading process, in the sense that the passage ends without the examples functioning as tools for further exp lanation. In a sense, they are themselves the written traces of the procedural unfolding of language functioning. In a in the sense that the carved out pages we deli cately turn are themselves an instantiation of use . The end Tree of Codes does not stop, in fact, at the level of the visual experience of the text. Readers encounter also its physical counterpart by means of their direct exposure to the paper cuts. Paper cuts, that is, can and must reading were to be conceptualized as the sheer erasure of words, where words were meant as abstract signifying entities, i.e. meant to provide some alternative novelistic representation in terms of content, there would have hardly been any need to cut their


84 published as a normal booklet contai perhaps reformatted in traditional paragraphs so as to occupy a reduced number of pages compared to the length of Schul accounts for the fact that, if the sense of Foe in some hidden message behind the surface of words, operating on the surface of words would stay outside the sphere of signification . 35 Philosophically relevant here is inst ead the virtual abolition of those surface/ depth dynamics that have frequently characterized post Saussurean linguistics t heories and that regularly tend to frame signifiers as visible material evidence of the hidden shifting system of the abstract un chaseable signified . In Tree of Codes the final result, i.e. the final words resulting from reading of Schul still Schul the reader his own use of Sc have a direct experience of t he aspect I am suggesting, the reader needs just to take a look at the blank carved out page 7 (where the original page numbers and headings is the only carved out text) in order to see such page as still Schul reader carved out p ages, namely paper pages with holes, Foer lets the reader see his practice of reading as writing right on the surface of the text precisely as missing text. In some sense, it is as though neither any external explanation nor any meta level commentary is ne eded to translate or better illustrate what has visibly happened on the page or happened to the page. Again, in a tempting (and utterly misleading in this 35 Of course the reader can, as it were, engage in the search for hidden meanings as it is often assumed to happen in traditional accounts of reading aimed toward interpretation practices. However, Tree of Codes encourages such process only as one of the language games the reader can play in facing the carved out pages of text.


85 context might say t what you see is what you get (WYSIWIG) . In order to fight such tendency toward misunderstanding by means of our own digital driven so called reading as writing . ible moves within the language games in which it is employed. I have also alrea dy observed how, even when morphologically identical, alphabetic strings believed to identify the same expressions might actually turn out as constituting different words. Plainly put, if they show they are endowed with different sets of possible moves in the game they are de facto as writing leaves pre existing typographical formats and conventions basically int act but does reconfigure the syntactic roles of the pre existing word based signs. Words in capital letters (supposedly beginnings of new sentences in the original text), for example, are co opted f sentences are now middle passages, or syntax inter zones. As we can see, in page, words in themselves (and their morphology) do not actually change: often, only punctuation does. By frequently removing ( cutting out ) sel ected elements of punctuation or by cutting out words and therefore making original punctuation shift o nto different words, Foer marks up sentences anew and determines syntax changes in the remainders of the text. Punctuation changes, then, can for example transform what


86 were previously statements into questions and what were previously questions into indeterminate reconsiderations. In other words, sentences become different behaviours or, in Wittgenstein ian terms, distinct moves within different language games regulated by different rules . To have a sense of what such rearrangements actually imply, we might consider two specific cases in which Foer re whole analogy, for instance, is preserved basically int contra the text). On p. 72 an analogy is conversely completely re sic castaway condition describing uncle Cha contra describing hardly compatible with philosophical conceptualizations that treat meaning as coterminous with metaphorical content, i.e. that discuss metaphor in terms of what it means. According to so called simi le theories, interaction theories, and even Gricean theories of metaphor , 36 namely with what the speaker aims to communicate by means of it. Here, however, the transitive characterization of mea ning as something possessed by or housed in a implicit rearrangement of Schul 36 Broadly speaking, simile theories treat m etaphor content as translatable into a similitude (see M. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy , 1967); interaction theories focus on Bla Models and Metaphor , 1962); Gricean theories address the interpretative process by Speech Acts: Syntax and Semantics ).


87 metaphorical content. Being the production of new metaphorical content also fairly constrained, Fo f Schul meaningful metaphorical constructs in the guise of still meaningful speech acts couplets within the pre existing text. This is equal to say, in terms o f looking at the original Schul Although some philosophers of language have at various levels questioned that metaphors can actually even be meaning ful , 37 understood as usable in accordance with some set of rules. An important corollary (chess) pieces that can still function according this aspect is by no means c ontingent on t he limitations imposed by Schul words. As Wittgenstein explains in The Blue and Brown Books , any succession of numbers can always be made compatible with a possible mathematical series. a particular behaviour is not the correct step, this would only result in the mathematical series not being what we would previously have ca and In our case, the new word based cons tructs interpolated by Foer can always be compatible with some kind of metaphorical association. The result is, however, that the building metaphorical associations in such conditions shows that we are no longer 37 As a representative exa mple of so called non On Metaphor .


88 playing the same language game, i.e. the new metaphorical constructs are no longer what we would have previousl y called such and such language game of providing a suitable metaphor . It is easy to see how such dynamics is not specifically contingent on words. Interestingly enough, Foer does not even preserve syntagmatic units. On pp. 88, 92, pronoun is regularly taken out of larger words containing the letter i . This is telling of the as writing has not always operated at word level only. This signification unit as much as it draws attention to the fact that his reading as writing consisted in doing many different things . Here we therefore get at the third similarity e. I have remarked that, by aligning different cases one after another, Wittgenstein consequence, by accumulating many different cases, the philosopher lets a new notion of word the performance of many different activities in which the word is involved. As we can infer from the different aspects of Tree of Codes I have highligh reading of Schul


89 words in the above mentioned interview in the New York Times ar e to be believed, Foer reveals that one pa promising), trying to involve and connect wh at had become my characters. . . . memorized so many phrases or, as the act of carving progressed, forgotten so many phrases . Street of Crocodiles appears as undoubtedly different from what we usually regard as serene reading for gaining aesthetic pleasure. At the same time, however, the passage makes us acknowledged with the fact that marking the text with pen and highlighter, scanning the page back and forth, hunting connectable words, re reading, memorizing and forgetting words, etc. are all different cases potentially involving at some that Foer enacts in his re Street of Crocodiles can therefore potentially bring into conspicuity for us the various uses namely what Wittgenstein calls the grammar contingent on keeping such uses clearly distinct rather than on framing them within a general conceptualization that might encompass them all or in structuring them in any sequential configuration. Any attempt at a general definition of reading would, in fact, end up in the production of a sort of equivalent of a mathematical formula. Just like formulas in mathematics seem to allegedly contain in advance the whole sequence of numbers obtained by computation acco rding to their rules, we tend to imagine a general definition of reading as the representation of an activity that contains in advance the mechanic repetition of some kind of process. When we talk about reading a book, that is


90 to say, we tend to imagine re ading as doing always the same thing on every line until the very final page. However, in reading Schul by his own admission and our attentive examination did not always do the same thing on every line and every page. Are we to suppose th at Foer was just following a less intuitive and more complicated reading formula ? If this were the case, would Foer himself be able to justify every move in his reading as able to justify he was n ot doing always the same thing? Whether he were following some kind of algorithm or not, in order to answer the above questions he would probably use the verbal expression of some self imposed set of instructions. In Wittgenstein ian terms, we can imagine the existence of some sentences that Foer might use as a standard of correctness to justify some kind of rule following. It becomes game of reading as writing stand in relation to more procedurally formal ized methodologies of writing based on reading . Re g and started to delineate insofar as hi s so called reading as writing brings with it some revelatory conspicuity. As the author observes in the Tree of Codes The Street of Crocodiles is often my answer to the impossible to answer question: What is your favorite book? And yet, i t took me a year to recognize it as the description of a particular kind of process of recognition that notably does without the previous, initial moment of acquaintance. Strikingly, tha without the moment that regularly constitutes, in a sense, the necessary condition for an identification to actually take place. The way a process of recognition is usually


91 understood or, in Wittgenstein ian terms, the way presupposes an initial moment of acknowledgment: you can recognize something only if you saw it or took notice of it already. In Fo as writing it is conversely in the doing , namely in the carving out activity leading to the materialization of Tree of Codes , that Street of Crocodiles comes into view as the specific book that was meant to engender the whole aesthetic operati on. In the creation of Tree of Codes , Foer looks and sees at the same time . It is as though the constant many folded reading performed on S chul that can become visible precisel y when he engages in his act of reading with a writing goal. By writing (looking), Foer can see . s, that is, comes to light as an effort whose components (reading, writing, and most importantly, reading as writing) are not suitable to separation into neat logical steps. As emerging from my review of Tree of Codes by an attention aimed toward a clear view of the many possibilities connected to the levers of meaningfulness within a device already functioning according to Wittgenstein i an rules. As a result, from this viewpoint his reading as writing resists conceptua lizations that might see it unfolding by means of a structured procedure, let alone an algorithmic one. Rather than of a procedurally formalized pre arranged course of action, the creation of Tree of Codes ga mes encouraged by the original text. It is important to qualify that, by looking at Tree of Codes from this


92 perspective, I do not mean, of course, in any way to exclude the possibility of formalization as such or to suggest that attempts to work out a rati creative enterprise might not be possible. As we have already observed, any sequence of numbers might, in theory, be made compatible with some mathematical formula. As a result, the recurring tendency in scientific settings to computationa lize our activities, often in an attempt to understand them better, would not preclude, in principle, the fundamental issue at work here, however, is that in this case more concerned with exposing the poiesis voltage power of Schul elaboration of an experimental process that might, in pr inciple, be applied to any text as an exercise. 38 In other words, although indeed a technique cut process hardly needs any formal explic(it)ation into a set of rule driven steps (allowing perhaps for further creative re enaction) as conversely J does . Because of their importance in the landscape of American experimental language called mesostic poems offer here an interesting and generative counterpoint. The which the initial element (alphabetic letter, syllable, verb or noun phrase, or even paragraph) of any recurring segment in the text ca n be assembled together to form a further unit of signification. A famous example of acrostic poem in English literature is 38 See Tree of Codes Afterword, especially the second section of p. 138.


93 each verse can be put in a sequence to form the word ELIZABE T H. 39 A mesostic differs from an acrostic in that the recurring elements of signification undergoing assemblage usually occur in the middle of lines, verses, or other textual units. As a consequence, configurations that make the visual combination of such elements evident on the page can result in variegated spatial configurations of the lines/units of the so called parent text. By building on the affordances of the mesostics, along the lines of similar experimentations in non intentiona l writing carried on by Jackson McLow, 40 John Cage developed various ways of generating text from the reading of a source text. A ugh the Cantos test the actual applicability of the above mentioned poetics of attention framework to a such frame shows utterly incomp reading/re writing. reading and re sheeP sla in Of plUto stroNg praiseD 39 The text is from an undated manuscript (probably about 1829) by Edgar Al lan Poe and reads as follows (bold characters emphasis added): E lizabeth it is in vain you say / L thou sayest it in so sweet a way: / I n vain those words from thee or L. E. L. / Z / A h! if that language from thy heart arise, / B reathe it less gently forth and veil thine eyes. / E ndymion, recollect, when Luna tried / T o cure his love was cured of all beside / H is folly pride and passion for he died. 40 Jackson McLow (09/12/ 1922 12/08/ 2004) was an American mul tifaceted artst who is often remembered as the author of a method for generating poetic compositions he termed diastics . The algorithm would generally produce poetry by reading through a source text in various ways, the most common being the production of a sequence of words in which the first word was based on the first letter of the source text, then followed by a word based on the second letter of the source text, and so on.


94 thE narrow glaZes the uptuRned nipple As sPeak tO rUy oN his gooDs arE swath blaZe mutteRing empty Armour Ply Over ply eddying flUid beNeath the of the gods . . . reading and re writing of the Cantos consisted in scanning the text in name EZRA POUND according to a simple set of instructions. Once his reading encountered a word containing the letter E, Cage would keep reading in search for a word containing the letter Z, then for a word containing the letter R and so on until the , and then repeat the whole process again throughout his reading of the Cantos . In the final carved out and last name in the original verses implicitly set the criteria for the random length of that matched the pre arranged excerpt), other features of the resulting poetic text ure are destined to remain less prominent, if not virtually hidden in the set of algorithmic instructions. As Cage writes in 41 in accounting for his modus operandi , 41 The quoted passage is taken from the section dedicated to John Cage in the Dwo rkin Goldsmith collection Against Expression : an Anthology of Conceptual Writing .


95 To write the following text I followed the rule given me by Louis Mink w hich I also followed in Writing for the Third (and Fourth ) Time Through Finnegans Wake , that is, I did not permit the appearance of either letter between two of the name. As in Writing for the Fourth Time Through Finnegans Wake , I kept an index of the syll ables used to present a given letter of the name and I did not permit repetition of these syllables. (109) We can double check the results of this way of proceeding in the specific text quoted above. The method outlined by Cage implies that between the wor d containing the letter could have appeared and so on. In the light of the instructions and of our double original text appears now as the result of a considerably more complicated operation than our previous idea of simply scanning the tex t in search for single letters: we now acknowledge that the re reading and re Cantos entailed data filtering and content selection according to possible sets of conditions for which possible subroutines 42 , as it were, had been programmed in advanc e. As we see, the pre determined absence in certain parts of the texts of the very ns and then go back and re words, a feature that remains virtually hidden for common readers, unless they decide 42 The term subroutine might appear as only partially appropriate here. In computer science, a subroutine is a small unit of a computer program that is supposed to take care o f a specific task within the larger functional purpose of the program. As such, subroutines are often virtually independent of the general code structure and are purposefully called in time and again by the main code instructions. Here the task of excludin g words containing specific letters until the next appropriate one is much more regular and actually weaved into the literary procedure developed by Cage. In this context, however, the term fittingly g process as a potentially breakdownable one.


96 to engage in some kind of computational reading that proceeds by using thei r eyes to visually isolate single alphabetic characters in order to keep track of their quantitative occurrences. As we can easily imagine, even when such reading behaviour might appear as justified by specific cues in or aspects of the text, such reading likely exceeds our cognitive abilities. Such a reading behaviour would be, in other words, more akin to parsing textual data and would therefore more likely fall under the rubric of what we increasingly refer to as machinic reading . From this point of view poetry might ideally be described as algorithmic writing potentially calling for machinic reading . readable 43 data inscribed on a human readable medium. Unsurprisingly e could be in principle automatized. It is not difficult to imagine such writing as enacted by a machine that, by following the above set of algorithmic instructions, would accomplish the task flawlessly and end up producing exactly the same (unexpected, at least content wise) result in terms of written output for the end user. Such an imagined computer non ce Operations: Cagean based work ecisely to 43 conjunction with machinic environments. We often distinguish between machine readable data and machine readable me dium . Similarly, software can read files but can read also instructions in a program. become machine readable instructions and so on. A more detailed dis cussion of both computer and human reading of marked up data is provided in chapter five. These are just cursory instances of the family


97 on to randomness for example), the adherence to the pre arranged reading instructions in the Cantos prevents in this case any unstipulated rule following reconfiguration connected with the language game of reading . To put it more sim ply, Cent Milles Milliards de Poems , for example, a reduced range of possibilities as far as his alleged rol e of reader as writer is concerned. As Stephen Ramsay observes in Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism sonnet as imp lement one using the form In a similar does not so much read determined coercio n in order to guide his examination during the reading process . As it should be by now clear, the characterization of reading as writing I have ing with a device that already functions according to a set of rules. Rather than writing under constraint, 44 as it happens in the literary experiments of the Oulipo or in some of the experimental achievements of the so called 44 On the topic, see the Electr onic Book Review < >


98 Nouveau Roman , 45 Foer was bring ing to light a form of writing based on reading under constraint a constraint related to meaningful use rather than to pre determined means of the manipulation of a pre collection of poems The Cantos as obtained by using a self imposed constraint in the guise of algorithmic processing. Whereas Foer was carving out uses , Cage ends up carving out words. In terms of our familiar metaphor of the chessboard, we might say that whereas Foer was recasting Cage is subtracting squares between chess pieces selected by means of chance a complete chessboard in terms of further reading as writing (i.e. of further search for still meaningful moves among its application of the same algorithm would no longer b with no further occurring of the same letters in between them). )writing is based on (re very little m argin for human intervention in what we usually call reading . Such margin of intervention is not to be intended as impacting the issue of intentional vs non intentional selective reading but in terms of the very possibility of acting, performing, or behavi ng in 45 See novels without letter e by Quea nau or Robbe Grillet.


99 games. The only indeterminacy posed game level concerns the issue of either following (correctly g Through the Cantos code for generating literature by means of reading. The meta code, however, must be read as gap existing between a rule and its application. Regardless of the specific rule following instantiation, vs fundamentally concerns the different set of possibilities for humans and machines in engaging in further language games accounting, in Wittgensteinian term, for how to go on . Machinic reading would not be equipped to account for the justification of a pos sible error (intended as a behaviour along the process that might differ from a set of codified expectations) according to further linguistic uses, namely to further grammar sentences. A human reader( as writer) would conversely be able to justify a course of action in accordance to further linguistic utterances used as standards of correctness. As Wittgenstein observes in the PI, in human rule application lies discussion of code and protocol, intended as behavioural and language rule following, is therefore still in order and so called Codework is the place where cod e based reading and writing dynamics become resonant with other components of my so called poetics

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100 calling for machinic reading), Codework is a poetic practice that b human reading. A detailed investigation of our rule based language games in relation to code will be the topic of C hapter 3.

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101 CHAPTE R 3 ODE Understanding Code In my review of remark §157 of the PI in Chapter 2 I have mentioned that the 54). The philosopher writes, in fact, that the of language pproach from another angle the connate, parallel discussion of the language games concerning the word whose language 2 somehow anticipate, we can hardly expect Wittgenstein to treat the issue of understanding in a way that might foreground its alleged abstract or mental nature. Overall, Wittgenstein is not interested in encouraging any kind of mental oriented characteri zation of the PI, Wittgenstein seems particularly explicit about the issue. When describing the imagined speaker in remark §154, the philosopher offers a counterstatement that the reader can For that is the ex pression which

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102 ur natural tendency to consider understanding as an exclusively mental activity that can lead us to Specifically, when it comes to understanding linguistic expressions, the phi losopher of the PI firmly discards the philosophical premises of both mentalism 1 and Platonism according to which words are to be intended as the tangible containers of meanings conceived of as mental entities or mental contents. In so doing, Wittgenstein also dismisses the implicit corollary to such an assumption, namely that understanding the meaning of a word might be primarily a matter of perceiving and apprehending a certain mental concept in an instant of time. Wittgenstein dismisses, in other words, the tendency to treat understanding mainly in relation to the moment in which understanding has allegedly occurred, as if understanding was a momentary act of mind self sufficient in itself without relation to the language based dynamics taking place after 1 ds. In psychology, for example, mentalism becomes a generic term that identifies approaches that focus on mental perception and cognitive process in opposition to so called behaviorism, a perspective that is conversely concerned with mental phenomena as co nditioned responses to specific environmental circumstances. In the philosophy of mind, on the contrary, the word points to the treatment of mental states in conjunction with inner physical states experienced by human beings and stands in a complex relatio n to Cartesian dualism, a view that treats body and mind as two interacting but separate spheres of human agency. For a deeper understanding of the latter characterization of mentalism in relation to language, see: Noam, Chomsky, New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind , Cambri dge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 of theories that interpret language expressions either as substitutes for language indepen dent mental representations or as proxy for a language of thought constituted by exclusively mental phenomena. On some of these theories see: Sti ch, S. and Warfield, T. (eds.), Mental Representation: A Reader , Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1994 .

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103 based criteria that can make the use of such expression meaningfu l in the specific language game where such an utterance occurs. Plainly put, understanding as pure mental apprehension of ideational conceits seems to stop. According to th e Platonic view, meaning is always to be reconnected with an idea, a mental image in the mind of the speaker that gets somehow transferred by means of words and is eventually grasped by the interlocutor (the listener or the reader for example) in some way. Such a view, subsequently re formalized by John Locke in the XVII century in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding , addresses understanding as the ability of our minds to manipulate such elementary mental images according to some form of abstract menta l procedure involving assemblage, correlation, and contrast. 2 The articulation of what kind of mental procedure actually takes place has generally become the privileged area of exploration of philosophical inquiries about the issue of understanding. As a c onsequence, the conceptualization of understanding as a transition between distinct mental states has taken various forms in modern philosophy. As Hans Johann Glock observes in the case of recent mentalist formulations that seem to build on the abovementio ned Platonist and Locke mentalism, communication is either a causal process by which speakers induce in their hearers ideas which are similar to the ones they associate with a word, or a matter of translation, with speake rs translating their internal mental vocabulary into sounds which 2 As Joh wherein it exerts its power over simple ideas, are chiefly these three: 1. Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas ar e made. 2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one, by which it gets all its ideas of relations. 3. The third is separating t hem from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence: this is called abstraction and thus

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104 whereas in Locke understanding takes the form of a complex interplay among composition, combination, and com parison, mentalist philosophical theories envisage understanding either as the effect of some inducement and causation or as the result of codification, translation, and re codification. Regardless of each specific characterization, all these views show ho w the problem of understanding has kept philosophers engaged in various epochs with the task of framing within an intelligible explanation what has traditionally been regarded as a mysterious phenomenon. Such mysterious phenomenon has often ideally involve d either an instantaneous, evanescent, flashing mental act or a procedural cognitive accomplishment of the human mind. Just like a sense of grasping necessarily implies a sense of something to be grasped, a sense of understanding intended as a mental act o r process of cognitive comprehension implies the sense of something to be comprehended. From this point of view, the task of understanding art, for example, has often been discussed in terms of mentally grasping the mysterious, ineffable, eluding meaning o f works of art. Art critics such as Noë l Carroll (1997) have hinted at the non immediate nature of art meaning by a standard characteristic of artworks . . . that they often come with features that are unusual, puzzling, initially m ysterious or disconcerting, or with features whose portents are far from obvious 3 (307) Such obscure set of art features need therefore some form of decoding in order to bring to light their hidden meaning. Artistic meanings in their own turn can then be 3 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 55 (3), 305 308.

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105 of access to further understanding of the world we inhabit. They can do so, however, only once we attend to them as symbols to be apprehended by means of mental interpretation. 4 occurs in its most radical conceptual manifestations, generally applies to circumstances in which artworks are treated as material symbols, i.e. as concrete vehicles of abstract conceptual meanings. Often conceived as bel onging to the realm of the unsayable, artistic meanings are, in fact, usually discussed as encrypted into artefacts by means of artistic practices. Just as I have observed in Chapter 2 in the case of reading, creative diversity in meaning construction and the corresponding variety in the range of meaning interpretation 5 regardless of meaning re construction or de construction, specifically have eventually come to constitute the basic elements of art praxis. Such activities have become, that is to say, n ot only completely legitimate and appropriate but ultimately coterminous with our notions of production and consumption of works of art. As Nelson inventing, applying, reading, transforming , manipulating symbol systems that agree and differ in certain conceptions of works of art as material proxy for immaterial meanings and of how it has ultimately contributed to create the largely shared assumption that language 4 Languages of art: An A pproach to a T heory of S ymbols . Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. 5 As an example of how multiplism (the argument in favor of a variety of interpretation s that prevents complete conjoinability among them) in contemporary art theory and art philosophy overshadows so called singularism (the view that interpetations can be configured in terms of truth and false conditions), see Krausz, Michael, ed. Is There a Single Right Interpretation? , Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002.

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106 signification can be assimilated to artistic signification. It is precisely from such an assumption that follows the i dea that artworks, just like words, possess meaning. Nowhere is such tendency to assimilate artistic and linguistic meaning more the so called aesthetic of indiscernibl es in his book The Transfiguration of the Commonplace . As he had already explained in the opening of an article by the same title in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism is possible that a painting be exhib ited which is merely a square of primed canvas, or a sculpture shown which consists of a box, of undistinguished carpentry, coated with a banal tan chemtone applied casually with a roller." 6 (139) The presence of such object like artefacts in the art world makes therefore of primary importance, according to Danto, to address more extensively in book length format the problem of discerning artworks from mere objects. More importantly, it makes of primary importance to provide a way to define what makes an ar twork into a work of art, i.e. what gives it its artistic meanings. A forgery in art poses for Danto a profound philosophical problem of indiscernibility that can and needs be discussed primarily on a propositional level. 7 R ather than as an unauthentic obj ect identifiable by means of perceptual differences , Danto recasts the artwork and the artistic practice as a linguistic metaphor . He show s a statement of someone els 6 Arthur C. Danto. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , Volume 33, Issue 2 (Winter, 1974), 139 148. 7 propositional perspective becomes an interesting way to ac count for a possible way to downplay the current issue of ocularcentrism in relation to new media artistic discourses (see Mark Hansen, Tim Lenoir, etc.)

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107 discussing the issue of indiscernibility in reference to an alleged language based Don Quixote as narrated by Jorge Luis Borges. In addressing the specific case of such textual carbon copy fabrication, 8 artistic and expressive p ossibilities in terms of mind creations can ideally take place only within particular sets of circumstances. Such perspective proves useful for Danto in explaining his further view of artistic intentions as possibilities , i.e. as possible states of affairs occurring within a historical space ( rather than within a logical one as Tractatus 1.1 would allow). 9 I mention critical study because his book offers a valuable example of art criticism car ried on by means of a type of disc ursive reasoning that, as far as argumentative style is concerned, we might describe as properly Wittgensteinian . 56) t he book features a plethora of examples, imagined/ary situations , an d stories offering the reader a definitions, especially in relation to the Institutional Theory of Art 8 The fact that the textual forgery example is explained before the figurative ones is quite significa nt and includ theorization are only subsequently re proposed in the following chapters in the analysis of either real Portrait of Madame Cezanne ) o r imagined Le Cravat and a common necktie) combinations of artworks and mere things. 9 Tractatus Logico Philosophicus rld not as the totality of objects but as the totality of facts. From this point of view, the facts constituting the world can occur as possibilities, i.e. possible states of affairs within a logical space.

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108 formulated by George Dickie. 10 However, Danto operate within the range of what we might think of as a definitional problem. His main concern, that is to say, is that of finding a working definition that might mark an artifact as a work of art. As Danto conclud es in chapter five as a culmination of his overall argumentation, any entity can be defined as a work of art if there is an interpretation that makes it so, i.e. as far as there is one act of interpretation such that the transfiguration I(o) = W might take place. 11 We can find such tendency to foreground the act of interpretation, where interpretation is identified with a notion of understanding (i.e. subjective mental grasping of art meanings), even in art theories that attempt to operatively use Wittgenste philosophy to expose fallacies or inaccuracies in the body of pre existing art theory and criticism. In arguing about how the art language analogy can be fundamentally misleading , 12 Garry Hagberg in Art as Language: Wittgenstein, Meaning, and Aesthetic Theory characterization of the subjective meaning of art works. As Hagberg summarizes for the re ader, 10 American Phi losophical Quarterly , Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jul., 1969), pp. 253 256 . 11 See Arthur Danto, The Transfiguration of the Common Place tion, in the sense that each interpretation constitutes a new work, even if the object differently interpreted remains, as the skies, invariant under transformation. An object o is then a artwork only under an interpretation I , where I is a sort of functio n that transfigures o into a work: I(o) = W . (p. 125) 12 questions the possibility of capturing the meaning of a work of art in another medium or genre, i.e. t he idea that the content of a literary passage or a poem could be, for example, expressed in music or painting.

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109 In Tractatus pictorial form in bears its resemblance to the inner feeling [of the artist] through a morphological similarity. Wit tgenstein gave an account of the meaning of propositions in terms of their logical picturing, or formal similarity to objects and relations in the external world, whereas Langer is offering an account of meaning in art in terms of formal similarity to the internal world, the world of inner feeling. (pp. 11 12) recreating in our minds the inner states of affair that were within the intentional world of the artist. Interpre tation of artistic meanings then means for Langer the re mapping of a subjective inner creative world that is only supposedly inaccessible. Apparently ineffable, such inner world is anyway for Langer fundamentally structured and, as such, recoverable and o pen to reconstruction owing to its logical pictorial relation with the work of art. Artistic intention, from her point of view, can be considered as a hidden world of which the artwork is nothing but a corporeal, tangible embodiment. Not surprisingly, Lang of art limits . It might be not too far fetched to point out in this respect that the semiotic approach in general, with its freq uent concern for issues of interpretive limits, 13 appears somehow resonant with a 14 (TLP 5.6) 13 Interpretation and Overinterpretation where the Italian semioticist discusses with other three scholars (Jonathan Culler, R ichard Rorty, and Christine Brooke Rose) the limits of Interpretation and Overinterpretation . Cambridge University Press, 1992. 14 Interpretation as a problematic issue in itself can be found in the work of many Wittgensteinian scholars as Severin Schroeder, Brian Winkenweder, Garry Hagberg and others. The problem of the limits is especially evident in Danto (pp. 127 130) . When Danto remarks that in any act of interpretation (such as t hat the transfiguration I(o) = W might take place) , he explicitly qualifies that

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110 It is my hope , however, to illustrate how specific code based or code related writing practices artistic practices whose aesthetic operations explicitly rely on code (especially computer code) can hardly adhere to such models of interpretation and understanding of artistic meaning. In my discussion of code based works in the light of artistic concepts conveyed by artistic and poetic artefacts. This is mainly a consequence of the Wittgenstein understanding, for Wittgenstein it is not the abstract mental procedures taking place in the al leged either cognitive moment or mental process of understanding that matter. What does matter is, instead, the subsequent procedural unfolding of the language taken place. Und erstanding, as Wittgenstein would have it, needs some showing and, understanding stands in need of outward criteria of correct use of such expressions. Plainly put, then, it is the application of a word or expression and/or the explanation and justification for its use in accordance to a certain rule that account as criteria for unders tanding it. As we might have expected, then, the mentalist concept of understanding meaning could not and does not fit the Wittgenstein ian approach typical of the PI of treating meaning as use . If the meaning of a word is its use in the language game in which it belongs, for the Wittgenstein of the PI to understand consists in showing that we are able to use verbal signs in accordance with certain rules. In the

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111 Wittgensteinian sense, understanding meaning is therefore better characterized as a practice that unfolds in time definition) nor in an act of formalization and reconstruction of structures of subjective experi situations that consider understanding as something taken/given for granted in advance . Understanding, in the Wittgensteinian sense, must be conversely shown at every singl e step of the language game as our ability to go on according to some rule. 15 For expressions such as the code based textual instantiations we are going to game involving the word where m eaning is used as a way to describe an event that happens in works for neither of the parts involved in practices of poiesis involving code. It works, that is to say, neither for producers of code based language acts nor for their counterp arts, the alleged so called decoders of the encrypted meaning. If meaning is use, then understanding meaning in relation to code must manifest itself in a procedure that account for the way language users behave in relation to (en)coded language. A relevan t consequence of the fact that the philosopher discusses understanding as an ability that must be shown is the fact that reading too 15 coercion that are fundamentally resisted, if not overtly rejected, by most members of the art world. The above mentioned tendency toward polyvalent interpretations aimed at fostering the multiplication of however, to stress once again that in this c ontext rules here are to be intended as neither prescriptive nor language as a rule in his philosophical writings leaving the term subject to a variegated set of family resemblant uses of it in his remarks. Rules are therefore not pre existing set of prescriptions for our behaviors. Far from meta linguistic expressions, rules can be taken meaningful within a certain language game.

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112 same language ability to justify how to go on . To understand a text (spoken language for example) means to show you are capable to go on and make something with it, or of it, in the conversation. Likewise, to understand (co ded) written language means you are able to make something out of certain written signs in terms of continuing the game of reading. In order to show what consequences such an alternative perspective on reading code based inscriptions might have in terms of consider a preliminary example that can work as an opening door onto the landscape of my subsequent treatment of the poetic practice of Codework later on in this chapter. Let us consider, first of all, the case Microserfs as an opportunity for descriptive clarification of everyday use of language in relation to practices Literary Encounters with Code In the early 90s, when the internet had barely begun to go public, readers of Microserfs found themselves exposed to a considerable amount of neologisms created out of computer based idiolect and informatics jargon. Such linguistic coinages appeared resonant with the concomitant technology fu eled US economic boom of the so call bubble during mid to late nineties. Developed within the emerging linguistic conventions and so called geek talk of users of digital communication technologies, the overabundance of new terms in the novel was of fered to the reader as an integral part of the narrative and as an actual component of the hi tech vernacular words regularly etween

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113 diegetic linguistic inventions and actual everyday uses of informatics slang to which the novel was offering further institutionalization. As a matter of fact, the feature should not dian author is largely renowned precisely for popularizing neologisms since his very first 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture . In Generation X the author deploys a user complements the narrative thread as an ongoing cultural side commentary. The glossary does not limit a series of, as it were, Roy Lichtenstein es containing representations of actual, circumstantial uses of the newly created terms. Interestingly enough, however, such a concern for terminological pedagogy, i.e. for introducing the reader to possibly unfamiliar vocabulary, is completely absent in C subsequent novel Microserfs , a novel that can be befittingly conceived of as an based version of the abovementioned generational novel Generation X . With its profusion of protocol oriented anecdotes, textual and social so ca lled netiquette , and ciphered amenities, Microserfs can be said to well epitomize in code on a global scale in the early nineties. 16 In sketching the lives of a group of emp loyees at Microsoft Corporation, the author presents the reader with the full challenge of having to earn access to their alienated social world of hyper mediated human relationships by means of code related reading practices. Problematic 16 Lawrence Lessig argued in his 1999 Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace that code, together with commerce, is one of the fundamental forces of social order. As MP3 file sharing was mobilizing the coded , by commerce , with the backing of the govern

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114 readability is pr esent in the novel not only in terms of code deciphering of specific words and expressions but also in relation to code reading and code understanding in the Wittgensteinian sense of the term mentioned above. When the author, for example, offered the reade rs a series of diary entries full of unorthodox lettering, emoticons, and formatting abstrusities written on a powerbook device by a professional coder, even readers unfamiliar with digital or computer based literacy had to make something of passages like the following on pp. 18 20. Even non other words, had to process Todd is compressing code this week and as a sideline invented what he a program th@ converts whatever you write into a title of a song by Minnesotan Funkmeister, Prince. I sampled it using part of A few minutz l8r I bumpd in2 Karla walkng akros the west lawn. She walkz It wuz so odd 4 both uv us, C ng Ech uthr outside the otmeel walz + oystr karpetng uv the ofiss. We stopd & s@ on the lawn + talkd 4 a wile. We shared a fElng uv konspiraC by not B ng inside helpng with the shippng dedline. I reread the Prince Version and realized th@ after a certain point, real language decomposes into encryption code; Japanese. 6D9UBPEE0^Y82AE$UT!R0,$$G[X 91_^F@0(#B.&!@*4_TOTK#]TJM#BM >) \ ^(B \ 17 17 In the original text both passages are one page long or more, i.e. a fairly substantial amount of potentially readable text in book reading terms. Ellipses have been used here merely in the interest of chapter length.

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115 As the reader can see, this brief passage features two samples of code based inscriptions. In the passage we can, that is to say, easily spot two specific paragraphs in which code is likely to gain considerable further prominence when compared to the chara cteristic code influenced writing style Daniel regularly adopts for his diary entries. Such code based snippets appear at a glance to have many a feature in common with other parts of the text: they are both made of ASCII characters based on English alphab et, 18 they share the same typographical layout/font, and they both allow customary sequential left to right reading. Despite such similarities with other parts of the text, however, the two paragraphs call the reader to enact very different strategies of re ading. The passage as a whole, in other words, asks readers to find ways to perform meaningful readings of its parts, and especially of its specifically encoded paragraphs, in very different manners and for very different purposes. To have a sense of such differences, let us consider a few aspects of the circumstantial conditions of use of these two specific code based inscriptions along the reading experience. based process of testing the software on some of his very own writing. Regardless of how puzzling the text mig ht appear at first sight to the reader, the enigmatic textual output 18 Daniel, the protagonist of Microserfs , is supposed to be writing on a powerbook or some equivalent electronic device so it makes sense to consider all text on the pages as electronic textual output. As such, it stands to reason to see the characters as the digital outcome of som e character encoding scheme. Although most modern character encoding schemes can support many additional characters, they are still based on ASCII. For information about the latest edition of the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) s ee: American National Standard for Information Systems Coded Character Sets 7 Bit American National Standard Code for Information Interchange (7 Bit ASCII), ANSI X3.4 1986, American National Standards Institute, Inc., March 26, 1986

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116 comes into view as an intriguing chance to test our ability in assessing how successful the light of such an assessment, it makes sense for the reader to try to process the encoded text by means of reading . Regardless of what series of specific actions such based paragraph by means of reading represents a meaningful response to the encoded text. The second paragraph. Although in the same diegetic world of the novel the second passage too is the (indi based language based symbolic code. As a consequence, in the light of ory words, the reader is likely to attend to the second paragraph as some point of rupture along an ideal computational process: a process that sees a machine performing, in its own turn, a process of digital file reading . Crucial tion is the hyperbolic reference to Japanese, a language that the guise of a c ompletely incomprehensible sequence of signs that we take as the result of some glitch in the algorithm. As a result, in the light of such preliminary description of a failed achievement, it makes sense for the human reader to process the encoded text by m eans of skipping it or even ignoring it, i.e. in a way that would not ideally count as reading. If I were to paraphrase for the second passage my discussion of the first, I might say that not trying based paragraph by means of

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117 r eading represents a meaningful response to the text. In conclusion, we can see how the moves in the language to the appearance of the actual code based paragraphs have in both cases prepared some k ind of context for our encounter with code. Such context can make then some reading based countermoves appear as meaningful as opposed to others. In this the first pas sage as human readable while we tend to regard the second as exclusively machine readable. But does this have to necessarily be the case? To adopt a maths oriented phrasing of necessity and sufficiency in relation to the implicational occurrence of such r introductory descriptions of the two paragraphs might be to some degree necessary for generating our different attitudes as readers but such descriptions are certainly not sufficient to inevitably result into t he different actual actions we eventually perform as readers. After all, if we pause and think for a moment about the nature of the second paragraph, we soon realize that the second coded text is the result of an error in programming that does not compromi se the machinic execution of the text in terms of machinic reading. As a result, it should still be perfectly possible to see the text as the result of software processing that still mediates the human design lying at its origin. Even such consciousness, h owever, seems to make us oblivious to the possibility of accepting the readability of the passage as an option. It is as though the presence of such apparently chaotic mass of signs makes us blind to the fact that the second code based chunk of text is sti

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118 from processing of the second paragraph by means of decoding? What would actually prevent us from eng aging ourselves in reading the second passage as we do in the case of the first? A more attentive look at our reading context can yield possible further Although, as I have already observed, both paragraphs appear as opportunities for us to making genius, there is one crucial difference the two that an attention to meaning as use is likely to bring into prom inence. Regardless of differences in the perceptual specificities of the two code samples (potentially fostering different possibilities of meaning making in terms of interpretation ) their fundamental difference lies in the different margin of intervention the two paragraphs allow (in terms of actual practices of decoding). In the first case a whole set of tools for engaging in the language game of inferring the rules of the encoding practice by means of reading is, in fact, fully available to the reader. W e can easily list some of these tools. First, the processed text retains some similarity to English in terms of letters grouping and such an aspect certainly reinforces our confidence (gained in our previous training in reading English) in our ability to p rocess strings of text apparently grouped at syntagmatic level. Second, possible familiarity with such information (by means of a quick search engine for example) m ight make the reader perceive the coded paragraph as some graphic textual style merely applied to enacting the phonetic rendition of such written sounds. We can, that is, attempt to read the unfamiliar words aloud and eventually notice their phonetic similarity to English

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119 words. Fourth, as a last resort, we can always go back to page 17 of Microserfs and read the passage, as it were, in its original form, i.e. before Danie l tried to test the 19 In Wittgensteinian terms, t he availability of many different tools to decode the first coded paragraph puts us in the position to be able to play many different language games with it: r eading, mentally visualizing and re strings of text. 20 When we conversely move to consider the second coded paragraph, we are likely to feel at a complete loss in terms of available tools t o engage ourselves in the practice of decoding. In the second case, in fact, no cue for playing language games seems to be provided. It is as though we are reminded that reading for a machine consists in mechanically applying an algorithmic rule without consideration for its outcome precisely by the fact that the resulting incomprehensible text seems to hide McGann would have it. Since the resulting text appears as something written out of machinic execution and as something that can be read only by machines, we do not account for such passage to be seen as many different things and to be addressed by 19 The protagonist i s referring to a passage in the same diary entry. The text in English (not parsed/encrypted by the Prince Emulator software) reads as following: so sm all, like a little kid. It was so odd for both of us, seeing each other outside the oatmeal walls and oyster carpeting of the office. We stopped and sat on the lawn and talked for a while. We shared a feeling of conspiracy by not being inside helping with 20 In Wittgenstein ian terms, we can say that the seeing as we perform on the passage is fundamentally multilayered in the sense that the newly produced text can be seen as resembling many different things. The code passage c an be read as text resembling creative English text original diary narrative style for songs titles. We can see, that is to say, the output text as text , as narration , or as style just to name a few. to master language expressions will be the focus of chapter four in relation to the analysis of electroni c literature pieces.

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120 means of performing many different actions upon it. If we go back to the di fferent processing of existing literary texts, we might remember that the two kinds of reading differed precisely in the margin of intervention left to the reader as writer in terms of language game moves in response to the pre existing text. When as e game consisting in performing many different things as we conversely did for the different reading The crucial point I want to make about code based literary texts at this stage, however, does not stop here at the site of this basic fundamental difference as much as it actually sparks from such difference. The crucial difference between the two encoded paragraphs comes into full view, in fact, when we raise the stakes of reading as mental interpretation to the ones of reading as performative intervention . This aspect can be illustrated by means of a counter example. All the above considerations differently, a whole new set of meaningful responses to the text would have arisen. In as described by Daniel but as a real glitch taking place in front of our eyes. We might, that is, have taken the code based disruption as some visualization glitch in the hardware . A visualization glitch responsible f

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121 of Microserfs might have created circumstances in which a whole set of processes aimed at decoding might have become perfectly legitimate. In this last case, in fact, we would have been left with at least the curiosity of knowing what Daniel had written but has unfortunately gone lost because of the device visualization malfunction. In this case, at least in principle, trying to attempt to process the incomprehensible text would have made sense, instead of light heartedly ignoring or skipping it. To have a sense of actual readability impediments posed by the specific encrypted passage, we can mention a further r ecent literary case that fostered a number of discussions and a variety of decoding attempts in relation to encrypted narrative text. I am referring to a notorious passage in Extremely Loud and Incredibily Close that might illustrate the situation I am describing in a most effective way. Let us pause for a moment to consider the novel in passing. A story focused on the overcoming of the tragedy of little Oskar Schell who lost his father in the 9/11 terrorist attack, the boo k brings traumatized family generations in contact by including the return holocaust survivor who gave up speaking and regularly communicates by alternative signs such as notebook hanging from his neck, Thomas Schell finds himself eventually incapable to However, in an attempt to relieve the burden of what he has never been able to tell his wife in years, he calls her from a telephone booth right after his departure. In order to convey his message without using words, he starts dialing numbers on the telephone

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122 push butt on board as a sort of Morse code made of sound beeps. The result is an uninterrupted sequence of numbers generated by the corresponding alphabetic letters page passage reads just like the six opening lines shown here below: 6,9,6,2,6,3,4,7,3,5,4,3,2,5,8,6,2,6,3,4,5,8,7,8,2,7,7,4,8,3, 3,2,8,8,4,3,2,4,7,7,6,7,8,4,6,3,3,3,8,6,3,4,6,3,6,7,3,4,6,5, 3,5,7!6,4,3,2,2,6,7,4,2,5,6,3,8,7,2,6,3,4,3?5,7,6,3,5,8,6,2, 6,3,4,5,8,7,8,2,7,7,4,8,3,9,2,8,8 ,4,3,2,4,7,7,6,7,8,4,6,3,3, 3,8!4,3,2,4,7,7,6,7,8,4!6,3,3,3,8,6,3,9,6,3,6,6,3,4,6,5,3,5, 7!6,4,3,2,2,6,7,4,2,5,6,3,8,7,2,6,3,4,3?5,7,6,3,5,8,6,2,6,3, . . . (p. 269) 21 Attempts at reading this passage, by means of either human or computer enhanced and app e nhanced computation, have occurred in many different settings. Decoding attempts have involved the most varied actions and many blog entries have been devoted to the subject since the book release. 22 This is to say that, under specific circumstances, the vi sual impediment of encoded text has certainly not played a primary role in preventing readers from trying to process what is at first sight just apparently illegible and incomprehensible code . As a way to capitalize on these brief preliminary literary exam ples concerning reading code in the light of my subsequent treatment of Codework, we should focus on the fact that they suggest at least two very important things. First, regardless of our previous training in specific forms of reading, we are not programm ed to execute text in a certain way before actual circumstances arise. Second which is probably what 21 22 Just as e xamples, see: < 6 8 6 2 3 7 7 > or < > Mark Sample, digital media scholar at George Mason University has devoted a blog entry on the issue by documenting his own dec oding attempt: < >

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123 matters most in the context of my study code is never interpreted in a void but, rather, it is always interpreted for a purpose. The aspect that regula rly goes unnoticed in traditional treatments of code in relation to literary texts is that the first problem that code poses to reading as deciphering is the meaningfulness of its very deciphering. Such meaningfulness is something for which no pre protocol , i.e. no pre existing set of instructions, can be formalized outside actual circumstances of language game playing related to so Microserfs and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close show, along the reading of a novel we do execute the text one way or another, i.e. we make something out of it. In front of code, we come up with something that we are later on able to explain in a verbalized manner by means of further propositions. However, the specific decoding attempt we come up with, and that we are able to justify at a later stage in relation to how we decide to attend to the passage make us see how go on according to some criteria. Understanding code means, before anything else, game the code can in principle presuppose. From this point of view, we might be tempted to say that the ability of decoding code is not the cause of our possible reading behaviours but it is, more p oignantly, the effect, the result, or the outcome of our reading practice. In conclusion, what this preparatory example actually shows us is that behaviour . Behaviours, as Wittge nstein remarks in many an occasion, do not happen in a void but are always entangled in a set of relationships with circumstances of behaviours. As Wittgenstein reminds us in the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology

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124 behaviour may be incommens altogether misleading, for it includes in its meaning the external circumstances of the relation to the narrow sense of a single mental act or process, we should not let language lead us towards possible misunderstandings of our reading behaviours. We should not be misled, in other words, by the narrow sense of the word allegedly exhaustive and self sufficient in itself. To use Chantal crying dur Likewise, we can imagine engaging in a certain reading activity such as decoding to be appropriate or to make sense in certain specific circumstances rather than in others. As a consequence, the language game of decoding does not happen separately from the specific circumstances in which such decoding activity is supposed to take place. As we have seen, within the frame of a certain language game, trying to decipher the apparently Microserfs would have accounted for a meaningful reading response. At the same time, however, we should not make the mistake of replacing one supposedly self allegedly refusing to show pain under torture conditions makes sense whereas stoically refusing to show pain when a hammer accidentally falls on our foot while n ailing a picture to the wall is likely to make very little. Such a representation of non meaningful behaviours,

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125 can encourage us to see our language behaviours as exclusively context dependent. Such characterization might make us forget those less visible occurrences of language apparently missing link. When it comes to our example above about the actual available possibilities in terms of reading intervention on the inc omprehensible code seen as the result of a hardware glitch, for instance, issues of context enter some sort of conceptual short circuit. Plainly put, a hardware glitch is a glitch in and of the context. The crucial point here, in fact, is precisely the spe cific lack of appropriate context when it comes to the absence of circumstantial context is, in fact, already sufficient in itself for the language game of decoding to take place. The point can be effectively illustrated by calling to mind Roman sender sends a message referring to some context to a receiver , a message that is expressed in a code and conveyed through a channel . 23 Unlike in the case of the first five elements for which some preparatory form of communication can be established before the actual utterance, there can be no preparatory re marks for a glitch in the communication channel . A glitch in the channel is best characterized as an unexpected disaster that breaks the communication process itself. Simply put, should we have seen the incomprehensible code in the second passage from Micr oserfs as a visualization glitch 23 performing many different functions such as: emotive (sender), referential (context ), conative (receiver), poetic (message), metalingual (code), phatic (channel). It is interesting to notice that for each of the first five constituents it might in principle be possible to imagine a circumstantial situation that might work as preparatory to the associated linguistic function.

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126 would have remained completely in the hands of the reader. In principle, that is to say, engaging in such language game would not be arb itrary, out of place, or far fetched in any way. Our recognizing the glitch as a glitch is more akin to a decision we make in language 24 rather than to follow any rule pertaining to the language game of decoding. Even in this case, a full discussion of the procedural aspect of rule following when we found ourselves in the presence of code can be carried on by juxtaposing a passage from the PI with a sample of creative writing practice, in this case the poetic practice of codework. Inference One of the passages of the PI most concerned with processing text by means of reading occurs when Wittgenstein discusses such practice in terms of human execution of written text in remark §169. In the most traditional Wittgensteinian style, rath er than discussing the issue in general terms, the philosopher offers his readers the possibility to consider a quite specific situation in which they find themselves in the position of having to process unfamiliar written signs by means of reading. An att entive look at the remark can disclose at least two important and intertwined aspects crucial for re envisioning meaning making practices in relation to codework. First, an assessment of the practices of reading and understanding in terms of the implicit w ays in which we use 24 Wittgenstein talks about machines in terms of the mechanical repetitions of their actions mainly in remarks § 193 and, more specifically, in § Saul Kripke Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language , 35 36 n. 24, it is worth qualifying that the sense of my argument does not address the issue of the alleged conceptualization of the machine per se . My argument here remains primarily concerned with our ways of reading, i.e. seeing textual evidence as something rather than as something else.

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127 encoded language. As we did in Chapter 2, let us closely consid er the passage I mention. 169. But when we read don't we feel the word shapes somehow causing our utterance? Read a sentence. And now look along the following line and say a sentence as you do so. Can't one feel that in the first case the utterance was connected with seeing the signs and in the second went on side by side with the seeing without any connexion? But why do you say that we felt a causal connexion? Causation is surely something established by experiments, by observing a regular co ncomitance of events for example. So how could I say that I felt something which is established by experiment? (It is indeed true that observation of regular concomitances is not the only way we establish causation.) One might rather say, I feel that the l etters are the reason why I read such and such. For if someone asks me "Why do you read such and such?" I justify my reading by the letters which are there. This justification, however, was something that I said, or thought: what does it mean to say that I feel it? I should like to say: when I read I feel a kind of influence of the letters working on me but I feel no influence from that series of arbitrary flourishes on what I say. Let us once more compare an individual letter with such a flourish. S hould I also say I feel the influence of "i" when I read it? It does of course make a difference whether I say "i" when I see "i" or when I see "§". The difference is, for instance, that when I see the letter it is automatic for me to hear the sound "i" in wardly, it happens even against my will; and I pronounce the letter more effortlessly when I read it than when I am looking at "§". That is to say: this is how it is when I make the experiment; but of course it is not so if I happen to be looking at the ma rk "§" and at the same time pronounce a word in which the sound "i" occurs. Before anything we might notice by means of close attention, it might be useful to acknowledge that the passage as a whole provides us with a sense of the rhetorical strategy Wittg enstein often employs when he is about to take his readers onto uncharted territories far removed from commonly held assumptions. It is not accidental that the passage begins with a question and that the rest of the remark contains six

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128 more sentences endin g with a question mark to which no exhaustive elucidation are offered. As Anthony Kenny remarks out of his quantitative analysis of the questions s Investigations contains 784 questions, only 110 of these are answered and 70 of the answers are meant to be 25 let the reader cope with the unsettling unease generated by means of repeated, recurring, incremental in explanatory answers to his questions but to let the reader respond to them by means of reconsidering the issue at hand from different perspectives. In other words, his use of questions is not an opp ortunity for him to assert a certain view on the matter as much as it is a way to invite the reader to try to treat such matter differently . Lacking a central thesis to analyze, reflect upon, or possibly counter argue, the reader cannot but respond to the games by means of trying out a series of different possible moves. Let us consider some of the available moves in relation to the opening paragraph of remark § 169. As we can see, the first two ques tions delimit a snippet of text that can ideally trigger various responses as part of the reading practice. When readers Read a sentence. And now look along the following line a range of different actions. They can, for example, read such sentence as part of some later development yet to come along the reading of the rest of the remark. They can, on the contrary, pause for a moment to consider the possibility of following Wittge 25 Cited in K. T. Fann, Wittgenstein's Conception o f Philosophy .

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129 instructions and test the effects of the procedure he is suggesting before continuing to make the reading of the instruction and the simultaneous actual enac tment of the task demanded by the instruction happen at the same moment. The implicit execution of the linguistic practice of reading a sentence is somehow self evident already in the And now go on to In a norm could be implicit in a practice Philosophical Investigations Wittgenst the level at which linguistic practice is described . . . and it is no concern of Wittgenstein 26 (98) From this point of view, then, the inherently pro cedural we use phraseology familiar to digital computation, his propositions can be seen as both readable and executable seem to often merge these two levels by means of the kind of procedural writing that frequently engages the reader not at the level of content interpretation but rather at the level of inferring rule following directly from his sentences. Once you approac writing as samples that blend, as it were, source code (instructions for language rules) 26 The article features in The Engaged Intellect (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 98; 108;

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130 and already executed encoded text (actual language/thought behavior), in fact, it becomes meaningful , i.e. it makes sense, to engage in the language g ame of trying to infer the rules encoded in his writing. The philosopher stages for the reader the circumstances for playing the language game of inferring rules in a way that does not necessarily need to be characterized as interpretation. We might mainta in that looking practices. ferential language game and makes such move to go back to the chessboard metaphor outlined in Chapter 2 for a moment legitimate as a move in the game: a move that makes the language inference rather than content deciphering . As we can gather from such characterization and as we could see from the above passage, object or a text event that 27 , words by means of which synthesizes the various practices by authors such as Mez (Mary Anne Breeze), Talan Memmott, Ted Warnell, Brian Lennon, and John Cayley within the denomination of codework. The term codework (coined by Alan Sondheim in 2001) identifies a variety of 28 27 Electronic Book Review . 28 Article published on .

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131 as Alan Sondheim, Ted Warnell, Talan Memmott, Mez, Jodi, and others produce their text language and human lan guage, and by reflecting the cultural implications of these Broadly, codework makes exterior the interior workings of the computer. One formal purpose is to bring the function and code of the computer to a kind of visibility. That is, to illuminate the many layers of code the tower of programming languages that underlies the representation of natural languages on the screen. For all of the differences among particular instances or events of codework, they all incorporate elem ents of code, whether executable or not. Code appears in the text, then, in whole or in part, in the form of a functioning script, an operator, and/or a static symbol. As we can easily derive from these commentaries, the practice of codework has generated a complex debate on the role of code in language and literary art. The issue is, of course, part of a larger debate on the role of materiality 29 in poetic language and on the tradition of experimentations that focused on making it visible . As a scholar who has addressed in various respects the relationship between such in terms that are resonant with the alleged poetics of attention that I am attempting to outline in the light of the viability towards what I term Ordinary Digital Philosophy. In Wittgen s Perloff relates the various literary or artistic practices of the authors she analyzes . T he result is a ser ies of overlapping critical patterns with internal differences on how literary authors 29 Materiality has become a privileged focus in some of the major scholarly debates over electronic textual forms and new media. In evaluating the retrospective effects of digital born artifacts on our vision of literature as a whole, Katherine Hayles for example argues that, before the renovated focus on materiality as not hav ing a bo p.32). Hayles, N. K. 2002. Writing Machines . MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

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132 make certain aspects of language more visible over others along the same lines in which Wittgenstein makes those language pre assumptions that go unnoticed in our everyd ay use of it conspicuous by means of description . Stein and Samuel Beckett are, for example, both linked to the strangeness of everyday 87) W hereas the ind eterminacy of pronouns and word questions, grammar misuses and loss of basic mainly raise narrative ones. Perloff also treats , and In Malina as works by former poets eventually veering to ward prose and making visible its defamiliarization. 30 Ron Silliman brings the double signification of a same word to extreme consequences in Sunset Debris , and Rosmarie Waldrop turns dif ferences in everyday use of language in the direction of gender differences. Compostion of the Cell dissociates the looking gaze of 217) and so on . All these examples show that, wh en literary arts engage in acts of disturbance of linguistic conceptual tenets by means of highlighting and making visible the material aspects of language, prose and poetry can become not the expression of inner feelings but the critique of such an expres sion . of works , in other words, stands as a methodological example in producing a n analytical method that put s striking similariti es betw een defamiliarization of language functioning and 30 W 166), however, izing the sense of the self presence of the subject 5.641) 197) in which depletes the poem of any sense of selfhood.

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133 artistic practices that make of the dissonant aspects of ordinary language uses their primary aesthetic focus . however, I argue tha t the various kinds of defamiliarization that critics of e literature have noticed in relation to code have often fallen short of undermining systems of beliefs largely shared about both code and language. Such systems keep the metalinguistic distinction b etween computer code and natural language as part of the larger distinction between code and language still firmly in place. Many critics have repeatedly engaged in showing how, by inserting code into natural language, we can see code acquiring (signif ied) meaning. By doing so, they implicitly downplay the ways in which the presence of code can conversely bring to light the already ingrained rule guided nature of so called natural language. The persistence of such distinction between code and natural la nguage is mainly a result of the widespread tendency to provocatively advocate for code a conception of meaning akin to the linguistic/Saussurean one, i.e. as (signified) content. Operating from the point of view of OLP, I am conversely more interested in investigating the circumstances in which a view of meaning as (performative) use can make code akin to rule based linguistic activity without necessarily reduce it to mere functionality. Many a critic sees codework precisely as reaction to the widespread a ssumption that code is inherently and primarily functional . As a result, they treat codework as an opportunity to claim code as a proper signifying system that allows for expressive and semantic practices. Scholars such as Aden Evens, for instance, emphasi hidden aesthetic dimension, especially when he observes that two snippets of codes might produce, for example, the same executable file while featuring different styles in

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134 more inventive, 31 brings to the forefront the nature of code as malleable entity potentially fulfilling a range of expressive possibilities as well as possibilities for critical evaluations of craftsmanship in relation to in dividual expression. Other critics, such as Mark Marino, build projects like Critical Code Studies on a similar assumption, i.e. that there is an often poorly analyzed dimension of code in relation to the possibility of characterizing it as a meaning makin g practice that is culturally configured. As Mark Critical Code Studies is the application of hermeneutics to the interpretation of the extra functional significance of computer source code. 32 The issue is, once again, posed in terms of finding ways to interpret code signs as vehicles for strings of characters in software design, human readers frequently overlook possibilities for interpretation. Leona rdo Flores seems to push the issue even further towards a substantially formalist perspective. In arguing for close reading of code, he often, in fact, poetries, Flores often focuses precisely on those features and bits of signification that are not visible in the executed texts on the screen. Once acknowledged and analyzed elements fully parti cipating in the meaning making process of reading works of e literature. 33 All these views share a concern for a dichotomy between depth and surface 31 Workshop. 32 From Electronic Book Review : gislanded

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135 that pertains to computer textuality as much as to language itself. It seems as tough the relationship betwe en source code and visualized text on the screen virtually mirrors the conceptual relationship between hidden meaning and visible signifiers (in this case strings made of coded text). exterior the interior workings of the computer y observes in the passage quoted above, codework poetry seems therefore to co opt informatics specialized languages into the larger issue of expressive possibilities of poetic signification as such. Since poetry is usually regarded as a literary form in wh ich language is used for its evocative qualities to enrich its basic meaning, analysis of codework frequently pay attention to the ways in which code can charge poetic creations with additional meaning(s). My analysis conversely focuses on looking at the w ays in which the computer idiolect can bring into prominence the rule guided nature of ordinary language, even in circumstances in which so called natural language is used for aesthetic purposes. Let us closely consider a piece of codework poetry by Austra lian author Mary Anne Breeze titled 07/08 XXtracts_ and released in the Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 2 . Mary Anne Breeze, or Mez as she is frequently referred to, is considered one of the most noteworthy authors worki ng on the poetic threshold (or interstice) between so called natural language and the domains of computer programming and software design. She is renowned for writing in a oriented pidgin of which 07/08 XXtracts_ offers a vibrant example. Made up 33 E particular, see the following: n and seattle drift by jim andrews the , http://leonardofl the agrippa code , and by dirk hine

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136 of ten separate sections, the piece provides us with a wide range of the different ways in which Mez blends elements characteristic of code writing with creative juxta positions of words from natural language. The two components are frequently simultaneously both interconnected and disjointed by means of parenthetical and punctuation signs. A look vely evident for the unfamiliar reader: 2. bet[t]a[living.thru.brutal_ness] 3. _trEm[d]o[lls]r_ 6. #dn[p]a[per.cut here.]bird# 10. Sel[f]e[le]ct>Proc.ess>[1st]S.kin As we can see, strings of text written in Mezangelle leave a wide margin of negotiation of the way s in which we might execute a text by means of reading according to the circumstances of interaction and presuppositions . When reading title number 2., for beta 34 as a qualifier apparently referring to the subsequent bracketed content. gather from these samples, the generative possibilities of the Mezangelle idiom arise from the ways in which readers can decide to join, skip, dis connect, retrieve and/or tempora rily suspend linguistic elements along the reading process. In other words, such possibilities are contingent not so much on the polyvalent ambiguity of the syntagmatic 34 released version of a specific piece of software (usually indicated also wi th 0.X or X.X).

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137 units of signification as they are on the ways in which readers play different language games with the protocol based mechanisms of reading. Such mechanisms are connected to the rules by which we have over the past centuries implemented punctuation signs in order to suggest, allow, or encourage specific reading performances of texts encoded by means of punctuation. From this point of view, the insertion of elements derived from practices of computer code and digital programming into the text does not necessarily make the processing of Mezangelle by means of reading implicitly new, modern, hi tech, or futuristic. As George Landow reminds us in Hypertext 3.0 , even the familiar printed scholarly editions on which we currently read works by Plato, Vergil, or Augustine already produce an incommensurably changed experience of their texts when compar ed to the ones supposedly experienced by their contemporary readers: Contemporary readers of Plato, Vergil, or Augustine processed texts without interword spacing, capitalization, or punctuation. . . . Such unbroken streams of alphabetic characters made ev en phonetic literacy a matter of great skill. Since deciphering such texts heavily favored reading aloud, almost all readers experienced texts not only as an occasion for strenuous acts of code breaking but also as a kind of public performance. (p. 100) As in the case of complete lack of modern punctuation conventions, technologically based punctuation no matter how unfamiliar to the average reader set up how to go on alon g the reading. Each instantiation of Mezangelle language cryptically prepare imminent further encounter with code and determines the possibilities for the above mentioned practices of joining, skipping, dis connecting, re continual process of playing the language game of inferring rules of reading from the

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138 text by keeping in mind some decision along the reading process of Mezangelle. As a consequence, unde rstanding 07/08 XXtracts_ , rather than consisting in being mentally enlightened by the discovery of the hidden functioning of its overall principle, means to be able to justify at every single step why we decided to read a cer tain chunk of punctuation instructions by making certain selective choices in following the (reading) rules the piece seems to set up for us. In claiming that joining, skipping, dis connecting, re connecting, etc. are the correct steps to be taken accordin g to an alleged general working principle of 07/08 XXtracts_ , we neither anticipate nor prescribe that readers will enact such kind of been f ollowed if readers did not do such kind of actions. However, such general principle can neither contain in advance every particular step along the process nor constitute a self explanatory interpretation of the reading action to be taken. As Wittgenstein not an interpretation a (§202) As Christoffer Gefwert remarks in Wittgenstein on Mathematics, Minds, and Men tal Machines , It is not mathematics just to write down mathematical expressions, say, an algebraic expression (or rule like expression) like a+b = b+a In order for this expression to become a genuine mathematical expression

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139 (a mathematical pseudo proposi tion) one has to be able to actually perform the calculation showing the correctness of this algebraic equation (and thus apply the internal rules of algebra). The same goes for a computer programme, say, the following simple LISP programme: two, three)) order to count as a mathematical pseudo proposition. (p. 312 322) are considering by such as ordinary language. Although the prefatory notes on the Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 2 this most software aware project is actually software independent, as me z has no patience or capacity for ope rating within the fixity of an not to mention that of th e person, place or nation anyway in literary coded instructions. If the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary states that, in to perform indicated tasks acc 07/08 XXtracts _ as p roducing such an effect on a human reader rather than on a physical CPU. By establishing mechanisms and circumstances for human rule following, the codework piece is by default executable . In other words, regardless machine, for the human reader cod ework is always executable in relation to Wittgenstein ian rule following. Such an aspect can become clearer if we look in particular at section 3. of the piece which I include here below in its entirety: 3. _trEm[d]o[lls]r_ 05:29pm 26/04/2008

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140 do ll_tre[ru]mor[s] = < " TREMOR Among all the sections of the poem, section 3 presents the reader with a textual configuration strikingly s imilar to a fragment of encoded text for subsequent computer processing. Readers familiar with text encoding schemes are likely to notice that the passage above can be regarded as a sort of pseudo XML document. 35 I use the prefix pseudo because the passage can hardly appear to anyone familiar with XML markup syntax as a well formed or properly validated 36 XML document. However, as readers 35 In the words of M Sperberg McQueen and Lou Burnard guidelines of the TEI Encoding Initiative XML is an extensible markup language used for the description of marked up electronic text. More exactly, XML is a metalanguage, that is, a means of formally describing a language, in this case, a markup language. Historically, the word markup has been used to describe annotation or other marks within a text intended to instruct a compositor or typis t how a particular passage should be printed or laid out. Examples include wavy underlining to indicate boldface, special symbols for passages to be omitted or printed in a particular font and so forth. As the formatting and printing of texts was automated , the term was extended to cover all sorts of special codes inserted into electronic texts to govern formatting, printing, or other processing. 36 Without delving into the complexities of XML markup standard syntax, we can simply notice that, in Sperberg M cQueen terms, an XML document must obey the following simple rules:

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141 characteristics is precisely of bein g both device independent and system independent. As such, the kind of Extensible Markup Language (XML) Mez creates for the reader is therefore metaphorically appropriate for our testing it, as it were, on the human processor. The first thing we are likely to see by attentively looking at our ways of 3. _trEm[d]o[lls]r_ doll_tre[ru]mor[s] resistant to the actions that we re involved in our reading activity of the previous parts. Disassembling and recombining alphabetic character based strings seems not to apply anymore in this case since the textual renditions we obtain by operating in such a way with the specific punctuat ion symbols of this passage do not produce new syntagmatic units. We perceive, that is to say, that reading as joining, skipping, dis connecting, re connecting fractured units of syntagmatic elements does not seem to function anymore for the verses featuri ng identity symbols (=) or ( < , >) angle brackets. If readers are to use (whatever that might be), just like they did with the square brackets in the previous verses of the p oem, they need to make something of the recurring equations . 1. there should be a single element (start and end tag pair) which encloses the whole document: this is known as the root element; 2. each element should be completely contained by the r oot element, or by an element which is so contained; elements may not partially overlap one another; term does not enclose the whole section within a properly formatted start tag and end tag usually of the form and ( and in our specific case).

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142 make those lines into language that is functionally working within the suitable meaning making world of the poem: o ne has to be able to actually perform the calculation case, performin instructions in relation to the circumstances set up by the encoded text. In order for the text to make sense, that is, readers must perform the encoded instructions of assigning values to variables in an attempt to store datatype first into the Char 37 inscription and then on their own metaphorical skin. One action, among others, toward such a direction would be to assign to 'Your3rdPerson' he or she ) or to 'YourDollUserName idol or some sleep aid slang term for downers or barbiturates ) . th 38 as the name sections as a two part ritual for coping with the anxiety of the imminent rupture. 39 Regardless of the particular interpretation of the text in terms of possible signifi ed meaning(s), then, the crucial aspect concerning our reading is that we make sense of the fragment by means of playfully manipulating the text, i.e by means of operating on 37 In the Processing programming language t he char acte har, stores letters and symbols in the Unicode format, a coding system developed to support a variety of world languages. 38 In Native American mythology, the current world will be replace by a more perfect harmonization of the previous four worlds along a process of incremental consciousness from the world of minerals (First world), mineral and plants (Second world), mineral together with plants and animals (Third world), and finally mineral, plants, and animal, in conjunction with human beings (Fourth world). See Chalmbers Spence, James Lewis Thomas (1913). The Myths of Mexico and Peru: Aztec, Maya and Inca . pp. 69, 77. 39 sign in accounting for the modular nature of the words assemblages and dis assemblage potentially

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143 the poetic text . Such reading consists, in other words, executing it, i.e. in pro cessing the text by playing language games according to some set of rules despite of the fact that the protocol based functioning is fundamentally incorrect in terms of strict adherence to programming language rules. Quite significantly, the flexible mar gin of intervention in playing language game with text is not something exclusively specific to natural languages when it comes to reading behavior and can be found in software as well. As Florian Cramer observes in his discussion of the relationship betwe en code and literary text in the above mentioned article, It is particularly remarkable about computing that the namespace of exectuable instruction code and nonexecutable code is flat. One cannot tell from a snippet of digital code whether it is executabl e or not. (p. 4) Concerning such an aspect, as we have seen in the above passage of the PI in the share the same exact feature with computer code. You cannot, that is to say, tell by simply reading the remarks whether they are picturing an instantiation of exemplary language use or if they are themselves instructions for engaging in language games they are code representations for a human viewer or actual source code for the human processor who lements of literature such as Mirroring Tears (exectuable code that manipulates pre existing texts). Interestingly enough, however, as Cramer goes on to explain, This property does not stand out in the alphabet of zeros and ones, but is solely dependent on how another piece of code a compiler, a runtime interpreter or the embedded logic of a microprocessor processes it.

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144 In other words, it is contingent on the ways in which our own languag e and, more generally, us as language users and language readers interact with such remarks. As a consequence the separation between readable and executable code is far from neat ohn Cayley 40 that, with the exception of Jodi, in the artworks of the codeworks writers the code embedded in the interface text has ceased to be operative or even potentially operative. . . . Th e code as text is more in the way of decoration or rhetorical flourish, the baroque euphuism of new media. This is not to say that as part of the interface text it may not generate important significance and affect. In highlighting the lack of its exe diminished role of code. Code is seen here as an entity that is into language but recognizably separate from it and its diminished role lies in the fact it that has been turned into text, in the sens e of having been turned into signifier . The predominant focus on code exclusively in relation to its machine executable nature may cause to overlook the problems such code poses not in hermeneutical terms but in terms of what the human reader can make of i t, i.e. in terms of how to go on despite the pun unintended coded presence of code. When it comes to the either human or machinic reader, Cayley offers two possible effective characterizations of the visual dimension of alphanumeric code snippets: From they are more or less construable sequences of voltage differences. 40 In Electronic Book Review .

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145 However, in the OLP/ODP characterization, such s nippets can be conceived as moves in the game that, as we have seen in the case of the various circumstances of the word countermoves but not others. As we have seen, what eading as joining, skipping, dis connecting, retrieving and/or temporarily suspending linguistic elements) is only one language game contingent on specific parts of the text just as much as assigning values to variables is one language game contingent on c ertain other textual circumstances. As I have observed in the case of the preliminary examples from printed novels in the first part of this chapter, the first problem that encodation poses is connected, rather than with the possibility of accessing the en crypted meaning, with the circumstances meaningful response to the encoded text. Running the risk of oversimplification, we might say that it all depends on how we use attending to codework poems, e literature critics often operate from a position that focuses on what code is rather than from a focus on how the word code is used just like literature critics focus on the t ransitive nature of meaning ( what meaning might a certain word or artwork have ) at the expenses of what meaningful reactions (language game moves) such codework pieces encourage. It is not so much that code and language require different strategies of reading (as Cayley remarks in the opening of the above mentioned essay) as much as that we do different things to go on when we a ssumptions typical of our attitude towards

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146 in Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization Code is the only language that is executable [emphasis in th as we have seen in the above passage from the PI, from the Wittgensteinian perspective, the question is the repeated language practi ces (both linguistic and extra linguistic) that sanction what we regard as language. As Wittgenstein observes in Remarks on the Foundation of Mathematics way of living. In order to describe the phenomenon of l anguage, one must describe a practice, not something that happens once, no matter of what kind § 34) The most immediate objection to such an emphasis on practice in discussing the relationship between code and natural language could be that the u nquestionable aspect in addressing digital code lies in the fact that the source code is text whereas we imagine cognition as much more complex phenomenon. However, in Wittgensteinian terms, the source code of human functioning is language, a term that acc ounts not only for its textual of verbal manifestation but for all the set of linguistic and extra linguistic practices that we might have learned to master . If we consider the rule based nature of language in specific connection with the alleged meta leve l of criticism about codework, we might find out (or provocatively argue) that: every language instantiation is, by default, codework. In order to highlight such an aspect, I conclude by looking at a sample of e literature criticism focused on codework tha t might show the rule As McKenzie Wark points out in his conclusive remarks on the practice of

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147 At the heart of the c odeworking enterprise is a call for a revised approach to language itself. Many of the creative strategies for making or thinking about writing in the latter part of the twentieth century drew on Ferdinand de Course in General Linguistics . In th e hands of poststructuralists, language poets, or hypertext authors and theorists, this was a powerful and useful place to start thinking about how language works. But Saussure begins by separating language as a smooth and abstract plane from speech as a p ragmatic act. Language is then divided into signifier and signified, with the referent appearing as a shadowy third term. The concept of language that emerges, for all its purity, is far removed from language as a process . [emphasis added] What codework dr aws attention to is the pragmatic side of language. Language is not an abstract and homogeneous plane, it is one element in a heterogeneous series of elements linked together in the act of communication. Writing is not a matter of the text but of the assem blage of property and exchange within which all of them circulate and so on. (284) ins meaning or, it would be better to say, becomes meaningful only insofar language as a word communicative configuration involving text, its support, and the network of laws in which it view, according to which language is de facto the multifariously connected set of both linguistic and extra linguistic gestures, acts, and performances in which speakers /writers engage themselves, the kind of reconfiguration of language suggested language game already involving the whole range of its surrounding practices, any characterization. In other words, the kind of revised approach that Wark is highlighting

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148 sense than OLP would. I am stressing this aspect not to draw attention on any means of one speci fic use establishing such specific use, the passage allows us to pay attention to the pre structured. B y reading the passage in terms of meaningful argumentative moves, a specific synonymity such as language as verbal language comes into view as a postulate. Such synonymity become perspicuous as an unquestioned premise that, being hidden nowhere else than i n front of our eyes, we could not but take for granted. The passage shows how our reading of so of an apparently self explanatory set of words. Such words are, however, already codified by the set of the theore tical conventions developed in previous print literary criticism. By bringing to light such hidden encodations, reading e criticism can be considered itself as an activity strikingly similar to reading codework. As we see in lay the language game) according to certain rules, the passage functions as a system of levers we can do something with. Within this characterization of written essay writing as a set of circumstances for language game moves, the alleged meta level of lite rary criticism can then vanish as inherently misleading. As a result, from the OLP perspective, codework establishes itself not as a subversive and disturbing deviation from ordinary language but, on the contrary, as the basic natural condition of language use and performance in a variety of human

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149 practices. Language, that is to say, is always to be addressed as permeated by code, if readers, and writers. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, one of the main interest of my study lies in looking at the pre assumptions that go unnoticed in the blending of theory and praxis in contemporary writing practices encouraged by new media. As I have suggested in this chapter, codework brings to light our assumptions about our ways of addressing language as something that should be inherently different from code. Attention to meaning as use, however, brings to light the pre assumptions implicit in the very act of producing and reading codework. Paraphra sing Katherine Hayles and her example about the Turing test and our unquestioned acceptance of it as the evidence that we magic tricks, [codework] relies on getting you to accept at an early stage assumptions case, we can extend such dynamics one step further (or, we would better say, one step back ). Pre assumptions about codework do not det ermine how you will interpret what you see but rather determine the fact itself that you likely react to codework text by exclusively playing the language game of interpreting . As we have seen, analyzing code frequently consists for e literature critics in the application of hermeneutics to coded texts in an attempt to interpret the extra functional possibilities of signification of computer source code. 41 create non evident pre assumptions that enco urage specific language games when 41 From Electronic Book Review :

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150 addressing alleged meta critical texts. If the largely shared assumption about critical texts is that they should provide ways to make sense of other (primary) texts, then the expected use of the word reading as interpret ing can prevent us from looking at specific circumstances to try to interpret the remarks of the PI becomes the exact opposite of the language games they seem to cry out for. As a result, rather than conflating what counts as reading with a mental interpretive activity, we should look at the ways in which what we call reading account for doing many different things. As in aterials, we have seen that reading codework does not mean either exclusively or primarily to interpret the coded text but, rather, to do many different things with it and of it. Similarly, as we are going to see in Chapter 4, we do not constantly do the s ame thing when we read works of digital literature. 42 In Mirroring Tears , as much as in Tree of Codes and codework pieces, we might say that both for the author as a reader and for the end user as reader it is hard to imagine a sort of equivalent of the mat hematical formula that we can call reading in the guise of an algorithm already inclusive of the prescribed behaviour repeated at every single step. All the works examined so far make it easier for us to imagine the monolithic character of reading as somet hing that is precisely never the case. Equipped Mirroring Tears and other specific pieces of e literature. 42 It is important to notice how b oth Cayley/Florence and Foer do no t offer directions about how to go on directions or guidelines about how the book should be read.

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151 CHAPTE R 4 FACING E LITERAT URE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES FOR DH SCHOLARSHIP Experiencing E literary Works as Wholes The purpose of this final chapter is to bring many of the instantiations of meaning making, reading, writing, encoding, and decoding practices discussed in the previous cha pters eventually in contact with the language games we enact when we experience literary works and other texts created in (and for) digital environments. To say that in digital settings we experience electronic literary works is, of course, already to sugg est that our ways of dealing with them exceed to some extent our traditional understanding reading word is used in connection with print artefacts. However, the set of inte ractive behavioural gestures we perform when we specifically relate to e literature pieces can be conceived of as rule guided moves within language games whose description, i.e. whose grammar, is yet to be laid out. In accordance with the characteristic wa y in which OLP operates, rather than by framing such gestures within one conceptually reconfigured (and ideally more suitable) notion of reading, we can adequately attend to such language games by describing what we actually do when we interact with entiti es such as first generation and second generation electronic literary works in specific circumstances. As we will see, so 1 literary works seem to be 1 Terminology about e literature created in an elect ronic environment and meant to be experienced in an Digital Digital Literary le/182942 life of digital literary works, is consistent with my subject oriented treatment of the process of facing works of e literature within the experience of their reading.

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152 particularly suitable to be framed within a set of inter connected dynamics involving notions of meaning , reading , and coding as reconfigured by the perspective of might therefore be useful to briefly recapitulate the implications of my line of inquiry up to this point. As we might remember, a notion of meaning as use involved a reconsideration of th a signifier (something that a signifier has , indicates , or represents ), to all the range of intransitive when the word is employed to indicate meaningfulness in terms of affection, appropriateness in some sort of configuration, telling ness in a specific context and so on. Similarly, an attentive look at reading in the specific case of the reading as writing Tree of C odes has revealed how of written signs (a mechanism possibly formalized by an algorithm). What matters most, it has shown how close can reading conversely be to a diversi fied set of activities that function according to the non prescriptive and non strategic rules of the language games they are part of. Lastly, we have seen how a notion of coding as deciphering or, that is, as translating content from one format to another , can implicitly leave aside the whole set of problems code poses in terms of attitudes toward, pre assumptions in, and go on by making something of the instantiations of encoded language we encounter.

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153 As it wi ll emerge from the next sections, the synergy among the above mentioned extra assu issue that the philosopher addressed, especially in numerous remarks of the second part o games related quite different from a notion of reading e literary works as the mere absorption of incom contingent on our active ability to master language based techniques concerning the Fat Wednesday: Wittgenstein on As pects on the seeing of an aspect specifically applied to electronic artefacts will then allow us to recast the traditional concern for the hidden dimension of the digital text (and its meaning ) into an utterly different light. It will be possible, that is, to recast the traditional scholarly interest in the theoretical depth of the electronic text for interpretive purposes usually expressed in terms of dual oppositions such as visible signifi er and hidden signified, textons and scriptons, executed text on the screen and the deep layers of source code into a concern for a predominant attention to surface in the treatment of electronic literature, i.e. for what lies plainly in front of our eye s when we deal with e the two poles in the traditional binary opposition between inner and outer. As it will

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154 become clear from our close attention to specific piec es of e literature, surface in this case is to be intended as a way to conceive of digital literary texts as entities that show to the attentive eye their functioning as wholes . Seen from this point of view, e literature pieces become first of all cohesive subjective entities whose functioning does not need to be broken down into separate constitutive parts. My treatment of e lit pieces as subjective entities represents, in other words, an attempt to possibly reorient the dichotomy in place between voltage power differences and textual rendition on screens that has many a time seductively created technological parallels with our Cartesian notions of mind and body or thought and language in the case of the human subject. As it will become clear in the las t sections of my study, the virtual abolition of the double level of analysis usually related to surface and depth can have more than one methodological repercussion on many of the most widespread tenets and practices by means of which current discourses o f digital humanities seem to increasingly operate. The last section of the chapter, in particular, will in fact be devoted to the systematic questioning of the very premises on which key digital humanities activities such as data representation, informatio n visualization, distant reading, or data mining seem to base their . Far from its machine oriented conceptualization as information processing, reading born thoroug hly human form of textual data visualization . As a result, in negotiating the entrance of scientific model making within the domain of the humanities through, as it were, the empirical door of computer assisted textual analysis, I will specifically focus on the revaluation of human based practices and humanistic perspectives. Such revaluation implicitly follows from the removal of the confusion between the language -

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155 digital texts. Reading E Literature as Aspect Seeing main philosophical concerns during the writing of his early work. However, it would eventually become a true predominant subject in the years between 1947 and 1949, Gestalt psychology. 2 posthum ously collected in two volumes titled Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology . Some of the most organized meditations on the matter, however, can be found in the second part of the PI. As it is well known, Wittgenstein did not intend to include the writing s comprising the second part of the PI in his second major work as they appear in their current form. Rather than the well known debate on the appropriateness of the with the ones that follow until his death, belong to a specific distinct phase of the study generally longer, less aphoristic, and more loosely discursive than the rigorously crafted 2 Gestalt Psycho logy or Gestaltism is a psychological perspective building on the work of early 20 th century theorists such as Max Wethemier, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler that looks at the ways in which our brain denotes a tendency to organize perceived configurations into objects that exceed the sum of

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156 become more reflective in attitude and his written remarks frequently appear as more constructive (or, we might say, less destructive) in tone than the remarks featuring in the first part of the PI. For such reasons, rather than pi cking a specific passage to closely look at, as I have done in each of the previous chapters, I deem more useful to compare a set of various observations written by the Austrian philosopher on the theme gs of pieces of electronic literature. literature can be discussed characteristic elements of e literature that seem to be particularly in line with my One of the most authoritative texts that attempt to comprehensively survey the whole field of electronic literature to date is per Electronic Literature: New Horiz ons for the Literary . In her cross field ranging study of digital born literature intended as literature conceived/produced in an electronic environment and meant to be experienced in an electron ic environment Hayles draws attention to reading cluster of information ass embled by the author in multiple formats is intended to address many different kinds of readers: common readers, scholars, and students alike. 3 Secondly, in the reconfiguration of the textual apparatus enacted by 3 Hayle s a multimodal entry in itself into the general debate over digitally mediated literary forms. The book, in fact, comes with the Electronic Collection Vol.1 CD (physical counterpart of a web based anthology of representative digital literary works co edited together with established names in the field such as Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg and Stephanie Strickland) and is furthermore related to a companion website aimed at providing valuable resources for students and teachers of electronic literature. This sy nergy between the World Wide Web, the digital stand alone format and the paper

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157 digital processes and practices, the catego ries of literature and reading undergo considerable theoretical questioning that both the book and the CD collection articulate through respective (and complementary) conceptual shifting. On the one hand, the Electronic Literature Collection incorporates m any works of digital art under the frame of analysis for such artworks that Ha yles identifies in the broader category of the most importantly, to the central i agency . When compared to print, Hayles sees electronic literature as a new site of possibilities precisely because of the (57). Her survey of the het criticism in the first chapter works therefore as a starting point to discuss the whole range of emergent phenomena connected to human and machinic agency in relation to reading e literature as discuss ed in the rest of the book. Such phenomena range from intermediating dynamics in human machine interaction to processes of co evolution that foreground neither embodiment nor technology; from a concept of computation that more than mere technical practic e textuality and the intensification of print tradition in novels by M. Danielewski, Salvador Plascencia and Jonathan S afran Foer discussed as a coda in chapter five. 5).

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158 In mapping a topography of digital literary genres (from classics of hypertext fiction to more recent Flash poems, from Codework to locative narratives, from interactive drama to works designed for the CAVE v irtual reality environment), Hayles uses selected close readings as opportunities to shed light on the conceptual frame of interaction she envision as crucial for electronic literature as a whole. Even if the gned to change the perceptual and feedback/feedforward loops that circulate increasingly comple x patterns between media Worthy Mouths , The Lexia to Perplexia Project for Tachistoscope or a large part of the variegated oeuvre of the digital poet John Cayley account for the specific transformative processes electronic lit erature is able to produce on its readers. Such transformative processes take place through the recursive e offers an image of the corpus of works and of the community of practitioners of electronic literature as levels of complexity, the human being immeasurably complex than As we can gather from the above considerations, the crucial aspect of electronic literature seems to lie for Hayles in the human machine relationality . The Wittgenstein -

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159 ian perspective, from this point of view, seems to intersect the e literature discourses at 4 the form of a web of inter relations among the language games on which it is at same time embedded and dependent on. Interactive a fforda nces in digital literary texts have scarcely ever been conceived of as a form of philosophically grounded textual subjectivity . Rather than as potential attempts to simulate virtual interactive entities in a literary context, electronic literary works (oft en using algorithmic based or time based expressive modalities) have either undergone object oriente d conceptualization models 5 or regarded as systemic components in distributed human/machi nic cognitive processes ive . As Noah Wardrip Fruin explains in his The New Media Reader , before cybernetics, machines were conceived and analyzed as isolated s of power and voltage, observable 66) but once the study shifted to the analysis of structures and regulatory systems, the scientific based scrutiny could equally be applied to the physical and to the social environment. In other wor 66) As a result, the new type of study introduced by cybernetics had a significant role in 4 A lthough he uses the term only a few times in his written work, crucial developments of the Philosophical Investigations activity, or of a form of life 4 [ I §23). As I have already observed throughout my study, Wittgenstein thinks about language as rule guided activity that has no essence, but is made of various phenomena multifariously connected in a texture of family resemblances ( I shall call the whole, consisting of language and the actions into which it is w §7) and §19). 5

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160 undermining the stability of humanist How We Became Posthuman 2). As a consequence of (and counterpoint to) the shift towards the posthuman, we ca n, however, observe a rising interest in (re )defining text based digital works by means of so conceptualizations. I am referring to an increased attention, in the digital field, to that excess (what remains physically or metaphysicall Such re conceptualizations have in recent times threshold between t 6 as Davin Heckman puts it in the case of the so called e ject . It is worth qualifying that, in building on such a tendency and in largely drawing on a specific phil , my study is not going to address subjectivity from a disciplinary specific philosophical point of view. The goal in this context will be neither to investigate what makes a human being into a human being (o r a machine into a machine) nor to establish an inner correspondence between allegedly comparable machinic and organic informational systems. When I refer to subjectivity as a web of inter relationships, I am not interested in highlighting common substrata between the human and the digital in the guise of a shared essential(ized) complexity of internal processes as much as I am interested in drawing attention to the extent to which the theoretical frame of subjectivity intended 6 See Ject: On the Ephemeral Nature, Mechanism, and Implications of Ele ctronic Proceedings of the Digital Arts and Culture Conference, 2009. After Media: Embodiment and Context Context (Irvine, CA: UC eScolarship, 2009), tem/2xv6b6n0 (accessed April 5, 2012).

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161 as a web of language games might help us in understanding our current relation to digital born literary works and, possibly, to the digital literary as such. literature we therefore necessarily need to ask what happens based entities to take part in our web of language games. As responsive literary devices involved in linguistic and extra linguistic practices, it is worth asking how digital literary works partake in reconfiguri ng our rule guided intersubjective behaviours at the level of as expressed in Writing Machines material apparatus emb odying that creati to what extent does any interaction with a dynamic technotext or interactive digital literary artifact also reconfigure the range of language use instantiated practices in/on which our form of life is, i n Wittgensteinian terms, embedded and contingent? Considering e literature entities either as literary digital objects or as literary post machinic subjects is therefore contingent , rather than on any pre defined ontology of the digital , on the extent to w hich we allow them to change so called grammar propositions (sentences that express a rule) governing, for example, our language games of reading and writing . As a consequence, 7 7 the other formal. On the one hand, the fact that many a critic has stressed how Wittgenstein builds up a (see Wittgenstein, Mind and Meaning: Towards a Social Conception of the Mind ) makes his remarks particularly suitable to be put in conversation with the foundational work on distributed cognition in digital e nvironments provided by Katherine Hayles. On the opens space for intellectual explorations beyond the limits of any rigid philosophical system possibly dealing with the so called ontology of the digital. As Søren Overgaard notices in Wittgenstein and Other Minds: Rethinking Subjectivity and Intersubjectivity with Wittgenstein, Levinas, and Husserl , Wittgenstein imaginary or real interlocutors, and the point of these

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162 to ela borate a process potentially leading to the envisioning of a digital textual subjectivity for digital born literary works and, ultimately, to the con ceiving of electronic artworks as literary post machinic subjects that we happen to face rather than machin ic objects we merely happen to read content from. Facing Electronic Artworks Theoretical insights that might encourage a reframing of electronic works as subjectivity endowed entities seem to come from some of the most relevant contemporary scholarly cont ributions to digital media studies. For example, Noah Wardrip Fruin observes in Expressive Processing : Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies that rather than defining the sequence of words for a book or are increasingly defining the rules for system behavior 3). And, more generally, Kirschenbaum points out in Mechanisms : New Media and the Forensic Imagination that what is unique about computers as writing technologies [is] that they are material machines dedicated to propagating an artificial environment capable of supporting immaterial behaviors [emphasis added] ( 158). Literary authors operating in/with digital technologies with the purpose of creatively exploring the specific featu res of the medium in the production of text based electronic works seem therefore likely to be involved in designing behavioral entities within an ambience that encourages behavioral procedures. Behavior design, however, implies among other things an a rtful conception of conditions for the generation of textual expressions in the form of a rule guided activity. A digital entity whose procedural behavior relies on an activity instantiated by rules can be construed particular view on us as much as he is trying to get us to think carefully about certain philoso phical issues. To be sure, the point is usually that we need to think differently

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16 3 as family resemblant with the Wittgenste in ian notion o . In other words, designing behaviors for the performance of language games can be conceived of as designing behaviors for the post objectual abstraction I am setting up here when I refer to digital textual subjectivity in te rms of a Wittgensteinian form of life . When be havior enters the stage , in fact, the cultur al , alongside the technical and/or the biological , is to be recognized as a crucial factor especially in its relationship to expressiveness . well as effectively a series of philosophical problems and perspectives on how both the human subject and other inanimate entities such as artworks can express something. In the essay Rhie divide s the issue into two inter related problems that have traditionally concerned different groups of philosophers. The author terms the first problem, addressed by philosophers such as Jerrold Levinson, Stephen Davies, or Peter Kivy, as the attempt to elucidate the functioning of aesthetic expression in instantiating sentiments, moods, and emotions. According to this viewpoint, feelings can be externalized by artistic artefa cts because the latter refer to the inner feelings actually felt particularly relevant for literature departments and literary theorists, especially poststructuralists s uch as Paul de Man. This problems starts from the substantial philosophical questioning of subjectivity as reconfigured by poststructuralist theory and ends up with the incompatibility between talking about subjective phenomena such as the very existence of the subject itself, let alone of a subject potentially expressing itself

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164 by means of artistic artefacts. As we can clearly gather from this brief description, bo th problems start from the assumption that there must necessarily be some kind of relationship between the content that should be expressed and the medium that eventually and actually express it. As Rhie explains, it is here where Wittgenstein enters the s connect inner to outer, mind to body, or emotions to their expressions. What is expressed is prese nt in , and as expression as a relationship can be, once again, reconnected to the ways in which we regard the other possible intransitive ones. To have a sense of such misunderstanding, we can Art as Language: Wittgenstein, Meaning, and Aest hetic Theory (pp. 103 109) between the transitive and intransitive meaning of the works of art. Hagberg acutely highlights how the way we speak about artistic meani ng ends up creating a substantial objectification of the work of art that implicitly assumes meaning as a separate mental entity from the concrete artefact that is in front of our eyes. This illicit act of aesthetic reification is encouraged by the fact th at we speak of the face as having an expression, suggesting that there is an entity separable from the face to which we could point in giving the meaning of has a is is , we mean, is bound up with it; what it has 107).

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165 Once again, a focus on the way we speak about something, an attention to the language games we actually enact in attending to works of art, and a rigorous description of their grammar, can open perspectives previously unavailable to us, perspectives that extend well beyond the philosophical problem of human based of the human body is intrinsically expressive of psychological states, so too, can be the made cultural artifacts: lyric poems, mel odies, and and language, and so on, then the central issue becomes the way we interact, i.e. we enact language games, with other entities. Here is where the so called th eme of the alleged layers of digital and computational media at once and connect them with the visual renditions of their outputs on the screen. an say that in computational media, there are always texts that users (almost) never see, ranging from source code to object code to the alternating voltages that correlate with assembly 64). While this is undoubtedly a fact, what a Wit tgenstein ian approach to digital works would immediately rebut is that, while in attending to a piece of electronic literature w e can certainly imagine a depth taking the form of various layers (source code, binary code, down to the voltage power differen ces of the bit inscribed on the metal of hardware storage devices), we do not always do this . In other words, while always ideally possible in theory, t here are , however, certain circumstances and situations in which such specific language game is de facto not encouraged. In his late work Wittgenstein offers a wide range of examples in which specific circumstances

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166 regulate the engagement of certain language games as opposed to others. For the present purposes we can just mention two representative ones that account for the two discourses that I am here trying to join together: faces and computation. As the philosopher writes in Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology does that really make sense when you see him badly someone writhing in pain with evident cause I do not think: all the same, his feelings are terious and inaccessible in relation to hidden thought processes, there are moments, as the two remarks suggest, in which faces conversely become completely accessible. A somewhat similar dynamic occurs, though on a different level, when we scrutinize spec ific circumstances related to computation. As Wittgenstein writes in §77 in On Certainty , Perhaps I shall do a multiplication to make sure, or perhaps get someone else to work it over. But shall I work it over again twenty times, or get twenty people to g o over it? And is that some sort of negligence? Would the certainty really be greater for being checked twenty times? (12) game of mathematics that we do not doubt the certainty of multip lications. The language game of doubt is, in other words, not encouraged in these circumstances. Despite we behave as if some evidence exists that there cannot be any doubt about something, what we are confronted with is the simple fact that we merely do n ot doubt that specific something, i.e. we act precisely by not doubting certain things. Here, again, we can see that what we believe as reasonable assumptions are recast by Wittgenstein into an inability to doubt something. Our language induced inability t o doubt something, however, does not

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167 make that something either known, certain, or true. As we can see, we are back again to how we actually behave in the presence of certain specific entities, including, in my case, digital entities. As Wittgenstein remar ks in Zettel §225, We do not see facial contortions and make inferences from them (like a doctor framing a diagnosis) to joy, grief, boredom. We describe a face immediately as sad, radiant, bored, even when we are unable to give any ot her description of the features. Grief, one would like to say, is personified in the face. It becomes then crucial, for the present purposes to try to get a better understanding of the implications of this philosophical stance when applied to our experie nce of digital literary works. The ultimate goal would be to find out what can be gained from reminding ourselves that, just like we do with computational alleged certainty, we act precisely by not questioning the existence of some hidden depth when we try to critically discuss e literature pieces. Before addressing this task in the next sections, it is worth, however, to clear the ground from one possible further misunderstanding. At the time I am writing, digita l media discourses can be said to revolve with a remarkab le recurrence around issues of materiality . The term is to be intended here as a cluster of interdependent concepts: it not only includes both the organic (the body) and the inorganic (silicon based devices), but also a series of challenges to processes of both rational and irrational (or, in a time reminiscent of fuzzy logic, it would be better generated imaging modalities . . . electronic digitality has been accused of eviscerating the real and

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168 8 . Such charges seem to have eventually resulted in increasingl (ma terial) nature of the digital. The Wittgensteinian perspective that I have started outlining here in relation to facing aspects in digital media artefacts might seem to encourage a tendency to f oreground the role of the medium in the ideal philosophical inter subjective responsiveness. However, the experience of electronic literary works as more generally, as an attention precisely to aspect prominence. Our attention, that is, will be devoted to the material aspect of the digital bodies, as it were, of e literature works as much as to their appearance and behaviors as immediate , i.e. non mediated, expressive ness. In discussing the grounds for a viable Wittgenstein ian perspective in the field of film studies in his interview with Andrew Klevan, Stanley Cavell makes the recom what the artist is thinking or intending, but ask why the work is as it is, why this is here in just that f appropriateness when it comes to films meaning making, can be posed in terms of aspects likeness when it comes to digital word based entities. Rhie reminds us that p Gesicht the case of faces has profound consequences for the language game that we call 8 This is a shift Lenoir sees as taken well into account by philosophers and new media scholars such as Paul Virilio, Jonathan Crary, Will iam Mitchell.

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169 literature. Although we are going to look and see how the term reading gets reconfigured by our actual experience of reading a piece of e literature such as Mirroring Tears , we can already detect a similar dynamic as virtually already in place also in so called first generation works of electronic literature. Facing Twelve Blue and although most critics dealing with digital literary productions analyze works produced in 323) they rarely present their work under the rubric of American literary studies. American literature, as a matter of fact , has often explicitly relied on the subject page identification both for aesthetic and metaphorical purposes. warn his readers before they could flip through his Leaves of Gras s in Beloved AI influenced author protagonist construct in Galatea 2.2 , literary representations of the subject have frequently drawn attention to the symbolic merging of text and flesh. Moreover, as dies featured so prominently in the debates that swept through U.S. literature departments in the late 9 T he issue has often also 9 Stanley Cavell and Literature Skepticism highlights a dividing line between theorists like George Poulet and Murray Krieger for whom the literary

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170 leaked into the representation itself. Fahrenh eit 451 , for example, features a conce ption of the literary work that is far from the idea of an object we merely dispose of. In the novel Bradbury symbolically suggests that, in order to survive, literature will have sooner or later to be transformed into something else: men shall conversely the opposite process by allowing us to create via guard li nks, adaptive hypertext technology , time based processing , Expressive AI m etaphorical textual organisms , as it were, th at react to human probes and stimulations. Along this suggestive developmental path Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce and by Judd Morrissey and Lori Talley can be singled out as significant interme diate links in the evolutional chain. Although relatively dated as text based digital narratives and in recent experiments in digital textuality, these works can be seen as unconventional forms of procedural literature whose attributes seem to encourage patterns of reaction potentially beyond strictly object targeted interactions. It is, in other words, possible to briefly sketch some of the ways in which such works can b e seen as indeed engendering an inherent subjective conceptualization. First of all, both works visually offer themselves to the reader as organic entities interweaving permanence and mutability. Both graphic interfaces, for example, present the reader wit h the possibility of seeing each work in its entirety. The graphic outline of coloured threads constituting Twelve Blue is , in fact, the whole (Fischer 43). Regardless of the life endowed or life deprived characterization of the literary work, it is however significant that the analogy between texts and human bodies were so pervasive in the critical debates of the time.

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171 narrative. Impenetrable to the reader in its graphic form, the narrative only waits to be pr obed by the reader by means of progressive interrogation of its various sections. A similar dynamic is at play in . The main screenshot reductively provides, as a matter of fact, the whole narrative content as potentiall y already there for the reader to be gradually requested by repeated mouse over based This comprehensive structural posturing is not limited to the visual surface but can also be found at the level of narrative voice. Both works deal with se tting up an evocative narrative atmosphere in which, rather than specific fictional characters, the digital texts themselves seem to enact the main narrative voices. In Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary e flow of the Twelve Blue the characters. Pronouns abound while proper nouns appear sparsely, teasing the player with ambiguities and arousing the desire to pr obe more into the 66). Similarly, in , according to Lori Emerson , indeterminate text that is not particularly about anythi 71). I n other words, rather than consistently relying on a definite story built by separate narrative perspectives (a paradigm to which modernist works have in many ways made us accustomed), both works seem to show how their textual frame is pervaded by a narrat ive language in which pronouns are nothing more than provisional and interchangeable formal landmarks. Such reconfigurable narrative chorus, in exploiting the disarticulated narrative modalities provided by the digital environment, often intrude the meta t extual

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172 level making possible to interpret words in the text as words offered by the text. In Morrissey themselves do not actually change; only punctuation does. As we have already observ Tree of Codes , we have a situation in which s yntax changes implicitly transform what were previously statements into questions and what were previously questions into indeterminate reconsiderations. As in Foer, sentences becom e different behaviours or, in Wittgensteinian terms, distinct moves within different language games regulated by different rules. It is not difficult to put this feature side by side with the consideration that most of Twelve Blue an hesitant sentient simulated narrative behaviour. The reader is frequently left only with hyperlinked three dots suspension pauses: a suggestive equivalent of moments of silence requiring sensitive inter subjective (literary) negotiations. Re aders can a sk the narrative to tell more or decide to interrogate the cognitively more enigmatic graphic segment represented in the left margin of the screen a language game difference conceivable in terms of the difference between reading alphabet symbols and read ing between the lines, as it were, expression. Moreover, these digital narratives at times explicitly do speak to the reader. Twelve Blue , with a fatality typical of existence itse lf (at least within the time frame of the single reading session). What matters most, in fact, is that the sentence inevitably keeps its promise by visually hiding the link in subsequent encounters with the same lexia . This is no isolated case. The sentenc

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173 of disappearing links remindful of evocative whispered explanations at least until you reach 71) so that the audience can be in many a passage assumed as the legitimate subject addressed by The 140) fit particularly well the kind of reading interaction the work is supposed to encourage. In addition, as a digital virtual storyteller, the work even reveals to the reader secrets about its own nature. On screenshot 24, offers as a viable link only a parenthesis, something that potentially invites the reader either to go beyond cognitio n level (to interact with a typographic symbol has roughly the same rule following indeterminacy of interacting with a visual thread of yarn in Twelve Blue ) or to receive from the text the implicit suggestion that you have, in fact, been wandering within a textual sublevel thus far (i.e. to use the typographic sign as a signal of hierarchical layer, something for which parenthesis are commonly used in our reading conventions). Even he implicit expressive allusion to the unusual/deviant rule following occurrence in a mathematical sequence (repeatedly discussed by Wittg enstein in various works), the jump results in a p arenthetical sequence of words typed in real time on the screen befo re the eyes of the reader. The passage content refers to a decapitated female body and the numerous typing errors, together with the unexpectedness of the textual event itself, suggest the symbolic occurrence of a (digital, subjective) trauma in an

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174 other wise plain narration. It is no surprise, in fact, that both works seem to ask for sensitive interactions. As Hayles remarks before beginning her critical investigation of in Electronic Literature Twel ve Blue takes time to develop and cannot be rushed. Let us begin, then, with a leisurely embrace that wants to learn everything it can a 64). What Hayles is ascribing to Twelve Blue is a fascinating, alluring subjectivity able to st imulate the negotiation of literary information in ways that go well beyond the mechanic clicking equivalent of page turning. As we can extrapolate from this cursory description of the subjective dynamics put in place by these first generation digital wor ks, a dvocating a need for forms of mean to discover specific attributes able to qualif y the narrative as eligible to special treatment. It rather means to assume a stance toward storytelling that privileges meaning as inter subjective in its use based and use regulated practice involving both linguistic and extra linguistic elements. In Soren in Wittgenstein and Other Minds the issue is more of an e recognize someone as another human being is not merely to discover certain features of an object; it is, rather, something that is already interwoven with characteristic attitudes and normative patterns of react 9) (i.e. in our case the ones typical of human to human relationships). This is why Twelve Blue and , from this point of view, can be conceived of as machinic storytellers asking for behavioral strategies and literary negotiations. In so doing, they remarkably multiply the rules defining our language games of reading ( and writing ) and therefore rearrange the

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175 shifting patterns of reaction constituting our language use based form of life. Their unavoidable connections to the pre existi ng object like modes of print as (digital) literary productions should not overshadow their procedural and temporal potential for (both human and machinic) performance reconfiguration. Lori Emerson makes clear that Morrissey its reworking the bookbound page, nonetheless over on each page, the text can only change in one pre deter terms, however, what is decisive about rule following is not the occurrence of many encounters with different and ever changing subjects, but the many different occasions in which the rule following performance is required. In suggesting that these selected modification, I imply that this is made possible precisely by the alleged stability provided by their apparent nostalgia for the page based format. In other words, conceived of as interactive subjects, the digital narratives I chose as exemplary embryonic representatives of digital subjectivity are not too alien from what we culturally count as books. This does not prevent them, however, from encouraging interactions able to displace the settled grammar conven tions of our interactions with . The paradoxical dynamic in , for example, is that the search box tool is likely to appear to the reader as both plausible and incomprehensible at the same time at least from the point of view of a narrating subject conceptualization. Though it allows the reader to directly jump to a particular page, the search box can probably be useful only for re reading purposes. Therefore, whereas asking for occasional repetition can most of the times be seen as a legitimate practice in oral storytelling related language games, hardly anyone would ask a storyteller to jump

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176 at some random point forward in a story unless, of course, someone would be willing to engage in a playful narrative game that wo . As I had anti cipated, c onsidering such entities either as literary digital objects or as narrative post machinic subjects is contingent on the extent to which we allow them to change grammar propositions (sentences that express a rule) governing our language games of r is expressed in §372). It is now the time to move to a more in depth analysis of how such post machinic entities c an offer themselves as sources for the description of the grammar of reading based language account of ho reading comes into view as noticing aspects in Penny Florence and John orative work Mirroring Tears that has been introduced in Chapter 1. Looking and Seeing Mirroring Tears use . As he writes large class of cases though not for all we do not experience meaning as a mental state as, say, we can exp erience sadness or joy. According to Wittgenstein, however, there are things we can experience in relation to meaning. One of these things, just to mention one example, is the loss of meaning of a word something we sometimes experience by perhaps repeati ng the word many times in a rapid succession. As we easily understand, such practice, rather than a mental failure, can be more adequately characterized as one use of the specific

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177 alifies as a useful example to anticipate that, in a similar way, the seeing of an aspect can be characterized as a practice rather than a mental state. As Wittgenstein extensively discusses in xi of the second part of the PI, we can see specific objects ( such as picture objects for example) under more than one aspect. As Hans Johann Glock puts object we are looking at, that is, if we come to see it as 6) In order to come to see something as something different, we need to be able to manage the different aspects that dawn on us. In our specific case, if you had never seen a poem before, it would not make sense to say that you are trying to see Mirroring Tears as an animated poem. Just like if you had never read or even heard about Mallarmé, it would not make sense to say that you are trying to see Mirroring Tears as a reconfiguration of Mallarméan poetry. Seeing aspects is, in both cases, contingent not s o much on your ability to see as on your ability to see what you are looking at as something else. When discussing seeing aspects in Mirroring Tears , however, we need to make a necessary preliminary qualification. Aspect seeing is somewhat different when a nalyzed in the notorious cases rabbit (or in the orientation of the Necker cube if you prefer) from how it appears when analyzed in the case of noticing an aspect in a face . I contend that e literature pieces such as Mirroring Tears imply language games of both kinds. This can be easily explained by keeping in mind two inter related issues. First of all, Mirroring Tears as an algorithmic based translating reader in action is not

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178 visually ambiguous or vague. The wor ds appearing on the screen are clearly either English text or French Text. If we want to use a metaphor taken from experimental psychology, we might say that Mirroring Tears ofar as we engage in reading one language or the other or insofar as we shift from one to the other. Secondly, the appearance of words as mutual translations depends once again on our linguistic ability to articulate the concept of translation. The crucial aspect of aspect seeing is in fact that, in order to share what we see differently, we need to articulate it by means of language, namely we need to say it. The act of showing a second time, in this case, would never suffice. In other words, it is not rea sonable to expect that someone will see what I see by means of simply pointing at what I see without uttering a word. This is the reason why I am here attempting a word based description of Mirroring Tears in order to let its many aspects ers. As Reshef Agam Preparatory Aspect seen not merely interp reted but literally experienced , perceived in a different way. Nevertheless, such experiences are reflective: the duck rabbit aspect shift does not take place within a given conceptual map, so to speak, but involves a reorientation of the map [emphasis add only are we able to see what we look at in a new way but a whole new set of questions arise because they now start to make sense in relation to the new aspect we are perceiving.

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179 The most com mon situation in which we are likely to experience a change of aspect is when something about what we see strikes us as subject to possible Mirroring Tears white text with colored frag ments of groups of English words hovering around zones of shades where the previous French words used to be, we realize that the digital piece is challenging us on the level of the very legibility of the work as a whole (see Figure 4 1). Figure 4 1. Mirr oring Tears with full active Readers After a while, however, the challenge to legibility shifts our attention to possible see how the work can make sense for us. One way might be to look at the ways the work, rather than having meaning, can encourage us to deal with it in a meaningful way. It is at this (in terms of affectivity, appropriatenes s, telling ness, and so on) we are likely to pay

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180 attention to its expressiveness . It is mainly here that the work partakes of the two sides of aspect change that I mentioned above. Mirroring Tears rabbit or the Necke r cube for the simple reason that the sense of estrangement and surprise that we get in aspect shift in the case of those objects comes from the fundamentally static nature of those figures. As John Verdi writes in Fat Wednesday ange because our experience of the change is one of seeing In Mirroring Tears both the colors and the configuration of the words do change in front of our eyes. However, what is crucial is that the virtual incompa tibility between the textual animations and practices of traditional reading awakens us to a different aspect not the point. We are likely to suddenly pay attention to a different dynamic. If we keep observing the e literature piece and its evolution over time, we might Mallarméan lines where the colored words might or might not find their place. Sometimes intermediate interline spaces between the already existing verses (see Figure 4 2).

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181 Figure 4 2. Mirroring Tears : sequential snapshots showing Readers in progress. Such textual a nimations impact the work at the level of visual structure and can Mirroring Tears through such characterizations, of course, repres ent aesthetic responses to it and the fact that such words might be more likely used for subjectivity endowed entities should not lead us astray here. As Reshef Agam Segal remarks, consider the following example: A musical theme leaves a certain aesthetic impression on us. We want to living creature and does not have a mind. Here again, we are trying to grasp an experi ence by means of language, and the experience does not give itself easily. We need to get imaginative. (1) A central distinction in language games related to aspect seeing is at work here. To genstein would have it, it is possible to engage in the seeing of aspects but there is probably little sense in

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182 engaging in the seeing of colors for example. We can ask someone to try to see something as something else but it would not make sense to ask so meone to see the color red as green, unless we are asking the person to imagine the red as green and then maybe tell us if it would be more appropriate in connection with some kind of seeing is the involunta ry part, the as is As we can see from the above description of Mirroring Tears get an idea about to what extent it makes sense for us to say, in reading a work of and many other qualities of the physical objects (and of their digital materiality). M ore importantly, however, once we attend to the variety of language games involving the we might start saying that we seem to see some specific expression of the dig ital work, just like we would say that we see the expression of a face or that we see the resemblance and then suddenly notice its likeness to another. I see that it has not changed ; and yet I from seeing the two poetic fragments populated by colored textual animations to seeing Mirroring Tears ace, we notice an aspect, i.e. we experience a change of aspect. Nothing has actually changed but we now see something new in it. Even in this latter case of aspect seeing, however, just like with our shifted perception of

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183 Mirroring Tears would produce the exact same result as when attempting to reproduce the work by basing our drawing on our first perception. These abilities to see such kind of human based expressive qualities in what we see, are, precisely what I am writing, abilities . example of the recognition of timid behaviour in inter su bjective relations. Rhie observes that, though we can often immediately see emotional expressions in a face, that a kind of skill or technique that therefore requires encultur ation (the full seeing in that f ace to any ideal interlocutor. What matters most, just like I would not be able to provide verbal instructions to cause the change of aspect to occur in my interlocutor, I would not be able to tell myself that I see timidity within a facial expression. Hen ce my ability to see aspects is fundamentally connected to my language abilities, i.e. to my mastery of language games related to the aspect I might either start (aspect dawning) or try (aspect shifting) to see. applied to our seeing of expressiveness in digital artifacts provided we master literary concepts by means of language. Of course, our literary criteria in such cases will come out of comparison between ways of critical description of literary pieces. A c ritical reader will recognize that another critical reader sees what she sees only if the second reader is able to describe the aspect experience in a way that is similar to his or her description. The difference in

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184 such kind of criticism would be to inves tigate why we feel compelled to describe what we see in some specific way rather than scrutinizing the hidden cause that is the source previous sentence, we can easily get a sense of how and why close reading has usually focused on precisely on such cause: texts are usually seen in close reading as the source of interpretive thinking/seeing. A critical reading of digital literary works carried on by means of an OLP orie nted perspective would conversely focus on putting side by side descriptions of how we see such works, i.e. of what aspects we notice in them, and ultimately what we might see them as . Everything seems to go back, once again, to the domain of imaginative t hinking and its role in an age of digitally enhanced textual studies. Prose pour Des Esseintes that have been left out of the specific fragments featuring in Mirroring Tears , the poet refers to the failure of the hyperbole i n his contemporary times. He points out in his poem how, in the age of reason, hyperbole (i.e. the spiritual ascension towards a direct knowledge of the Mallarmé goes on, if I reality (and therefore reach a poetry which can be a form of knowledge at the same time), I must do it ponderously, patiently, in a mediated way, by using The effort is itself the medium. In our specific case, the effort is the attempt to make Mirroring Tears expressive.

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185 From the specific OLP/ODP point of view I am here proposing, it is in such identification of the medium with expressiveness that Mallarmé seems to prefigure the in contexts interested mainly in the computational element in e l iterature creation or critical understanding thereof). mistrust in reason, Mirroring Tears is willy nilly conversely born as well as caught up in an cultural atmosphere of emergent faith in machinic rea soning, so to speak. It must use, for example, computation processes and the RITa library. A legitimate question unfolding the secrets of reality, what equivalent goal might M irroring Tears be aiming hyperbolic imaginative powers of language, what is the situation for someone producing digital poetry in an age of digital humanities, i.e. in an age conversely heavily characterized by a faith in unknown knowledge and unrealized possibilities of positivist quantitative analysis and computational scan of big data? The next sections address precisely what kind of repercussions might my proposed poetics o f attention have on some of the major discourses circulating in the blooming field of so called digital humanities. Seeing Aspects in DH Discourses: Mark Up Coding, Machinic/Distant Reading, and the Management of (New) Knowledge As we have seen, the aspect discussion of Mirroring Tears from a comprehensive theory of seeing but from an attentive looking at specific details. As Marie McGinn observes in Wittgen stein and the Philosophical Investigations ,

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186 What Wittgenstein wants us to see is that the problems that our picture of the essence of visual experience generates are not ones that can be resolved by means of a theory of perception, for the problem lies in the very first steps in which this picture of visual experience and of what is seen gets a grip on our imagination. Our problems, he believes, will only be solved if we return to the roots of our trouble and clarify how the concepts of seeing, of what is s een, and of visual experience, actually function. For he believes that there is no route to an understanding of the nature or essence of visual experience except through a description of the grammar of the concepts that figure in our language game of ascri bing visual experiences to ourselves and others, of representing what is seen, and so on. (179) For this reasons, what follows in the next sections is a distributed discussion of specific instantiations of language uses that the discourses currently operat ing in the emerging field of so called Digital Humanities are encouraging Such language uses concern ing of In addressing each discourse, in particular the latter ones discussed in detail in the section about the obsession of knowledge and especially of new knowledge it is that it cannot be investigated further by recourse to neurological, physiological, or biological knowledge. Contrary to optical illusions or visual phenomena connected to Gestalt psychology, cientific approach that can reveal something we do not know yet about our vision system and its relation to the brain. This is a consequence mainly of the fact that in aspect seeing what we see, i.e. its elements and their distribution or configuration, do not really change during our shift from one aspect to the other. At the same time, we do not see differently because systemic conditions might have changed or because we have made rational inferences about what we see. Our seeing different aspects belongs to us as human beings, i.e. it is a language

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187 formalized into algorithmic procedures or artificially reproduced or implemented into computational based machines. In order to look at many different features that make might see differently the practice of marking up text for digital processing. Text Encoding: Seeing Meta Levels Anew in Markup Encoding The issue of connecting the meta level of markup encoding with the OLP perspective can hardly be discussed in one sub section and it would be more adequately addressed in a manuscript length format. However, what I plan to draw attention to concerns how the Wittgen stein ian perspective can generate some kind of aspect dawning about this complex issue. Mark up encoding, especially because usually applied to pre existing text, is usually perceived as meta language. 10 Such meta (i.e. based on conventional symbols the fact that programming languages are not intuitively transparent to the average speaker, markup meta languages become generall y aligned and assimilated with what average reader in terms of access to mere content , such foreign meta language might however be reformulated, in Wittgenstein ian terms, as a set of family resemblant practices or language games. In this guise they are likely to become more transparent. 10 how we linguistically move between marked text and its interpretation. XML encoding samples are XML schemas (meta rules for the elements descriptions) are, from the Wittgensteinian point of view still

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188 expressions are uttered (or in this case encoded), the re are ways to infer the rules by means of which they are used once we shift our attention from meaning as content to Think of the behaviour characteristic of correct ing a slip of the tongue. It would be (PI §54) Markup language games become therefore more transparent if we think about them in terms of goals and intentions. As Jerome Mc Gann acutely and extensively explains in Radiant Textuality: Literature After the World Wide Web , no such thing as unmarked text exists. However, when we mark text up for digital processing we need to keep clear in mind what are the reasons for the specifi c encoding we might be operating. From this point of view, markup languages share elements with other programming languages. Even a brief look at the history of software and programming languages yields a picture that tends to separate fundamental chore as pects of Java , C , C++ , Processing , or JavaScript have, for example, come to be characterized by specific syntax developed out of emphasizing specific code based aspects of on e or the other, the basic principles of programming might be said to revolve around a few basic recurring elements (and the language games within which they are employed) that they all share: variables, conditions, loops, and functions. Such an aspect, pot extra linguistic practices, has however frequently been downplayed in favor of an attention to the synchronic characterization of code as a system of signs. The alleged

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189 parallel between natura l languages and programming languages, in other words, often ends up overlooking some of the use based language games encouraged by digital and computational environments precisely in relation to the predominance of Saussurean and post Saussurean theories in the treatment of language issues. It is sufficient to widespread concepts in computer idiolect to get a sense of the extent to which programming languages seem to operate according to the signifier signifed dynamic. Both concepts are, in fact, based on meaning as content that can be precisely based container to another. In order to get a sense of the consequence of such a theoretical attitude, I mention here the example of humanities in order to show how even scholars who firmly supports humanistic priorities in computer assisted criticism, seems not to escape the general pattern I am here discussing. In Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism , Ramsay develops his so transformation of the original text. In unfolding his argument Ramsay offers a survey of critical appraisal of a text mean s to transform it, according to Ramsay we should take potentialities in the text that are no t immediately apparent (remain un visible, i.e. hidden

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190 from our attention ) without such algorithmic manipulation. His argumentation, however, in stating that every critical interpretation is equivalent to an algorithmic transformation resulting in the rewr iting of the original text, can be accepted only inasmuch as we accept the notion of meaning as propositional content . Only if we believe that a critical act is a paraphrase that translates content from one format to another (or from code to another), we c an engage in either playfully transforming (Rob Pope), deforming (Jerome McGann and Lisa Samuels) or machinic driven reading (Irizarry) of a text and still think we are just merely rewriting the original text (content). Only if we start from the assumption of a roughly stable content, we might think we are manipulating the text just on the surface, so to speak, and re offering its substance merely in a different format that highlight certain aspects over others of the same of C hinua Achebe). From the Wittgenstein ian point of view, any rewriting produces instead a (incommensurably) different text . 11 Once we focus on meaning as use rather than meaning as content, in fact, we cannot but notice that a rewriting results necessarily i n a text that works as a distinct (multifariously connected but different) speech act . Such speech act, when looked at attentively, is found to exist within its specific rules and procedures. From this point of view, once we engage in transforming a text i n a specific way, we are already playing a different language game than what we originally called means of which we carry on one is part of the current rules of the language 11 In a famous quotation Wittgenstein pointed out that if Tolstoy wanted to paraphrase its novel he woud have to rewrite the same book.

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191 that we perform such games such as summarizing, quoting, close reading (and now contexts. The best example to be put side by side with such a dynamics is when Wittgenstein discusses the teaching of a word by ostensive definition (see PI §30). As the philosopher remarks, it is not by pointing to an object that we teach th e meaning of a pointing . The reframing of the text parsed through algorithmic manipulation addresses the fun damental problem of how knowledge is produced in the humanities. As Ramsay uncompromising logic of algorithmic transformation as the constraint under which critical vision may flour based transformation the text undergoes shares with Oulipo means of applied constraints imposed by algorithmic logic. In order to show how logic is, rather t han a fixed methodological assumption, a language game we play upon the text, we need to address a more general reflection on what it means to produce knowledge and especially new knowledge in the humanities. The Obsession with Algorithmic Processed Kn owledge the algorithmic procedures imposed by John Cage upon pre existing text, far from resulting just in creative efforts that find in themselves their ê tre , can sh ed light on critical visions about their literary sources. As Cayley observes, stitch together a range of concerns inter media art, procedural composition, the rereading (and imp licit deconstruction) of the High

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192 Modernists which are highly relevant both to contemporary poetics and to writing in networked and programmable media. While it is important not to overlook on the potentialities for criticism implicit in the specific alg Cantos , it can be even more productive to asses the contribution imported from Pound about critical ways of reading literature study of l iterature is perhaps best expressed in his work ABC of Reading . Although not formally a textbook, Pound points out that the book should be impersonal enough to fetched to highlight that the book becomes a speech act in the sense that it is at some level used by Pound as a textbook. If we pay attention to the instructions such textbook can provide to the student ph ilosophical Weltanschauung to the literary domain discussed in the previous chapters, we come up with a striking similarity between the Austrian philosopher and consistentl ABC of Reading . As Wittgenstein notoriously writes in PI §66, his exhortation is of the kind (or, it would be better to say takes the abstract knowledge in favor of direct observation. study of literature is well summarized in ABC of Reading by his reference to the hand examination of the matter, and continual COMPARISON of one 12 12 The anecdote, as narrated by Ezra Pound in ABC of Reading , is the following: graduate student equipped with honors and diplomas went to Agassiz to receive the final an d finishing touches. The great man offered him a small fish and told him to describe it.

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193 (17) works precisely along the same lines. The important aspect of the anecdote is that it shows how observation does not have to necessarily be oriented towards scientific emp iricism and I hope that my specific treatment of digital literary artefacts in this blindly positivist fashion. We can ideally agree with Pound when he points out that: If you want to know something about painting you go to the National pictures. For every reader of books on art, 1,000 people go to LOOK at the paintings. Thank Heaven! (23) However, th ere is no real need to agree with its scientific corollary unless you agree with a conception of the history of literature as a long sequence of formal innovations that are conceived of as objectively recognizable and whose turning points or technically vi sible revolutions (as it is allegedly thought of avant garde experimentations) are conventionally easy to pinpoint. The scientific corollary of how In the middle ages when understand it, when human knowledge could not make automobiles run, or electricity carry language through air, etc., etc., in short when learning consisted in little more than splitting up of terminology, there was a good deal of care for terminology, and the general exactitude in the use of abstract terms may have been (probably was) higher. . . . but all your teachers will tell you that science developed more rapidly after Bacon had Post After a few minutes the student returned with the description of the Ichthus Heliodiplodokus, or whatever term is used to conceal the common sunfish from vulgar knowledge, family of Heliichtherinkus, etc., as found in textbooks of the subject. Agassiz again told the student to describe the fish. The student produced a four page essay. Agassiz then told him to look at the fish. At the end of three 18)

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194 suggested the direct examin ation of phenomena, and after Galileo and others had stopped discussing things so much, and had begun really to look at them, and to invent means (like the telescope) of seeing them better. (19 20) This quotation ideally well connects with the passage by W alter Benjamin in Chapter 1 where he described the power of cinema in allowing us to see details previously unavailable to human observation. It is precisely such a favorable attitude towards unavailable looks over critical practices in the humanities that foster the current creation of supercomputing tools for so called distant reading . My poetics of attention, especially to suggest how you do not necessarily need too ls to see texts better . Where does such a focus on the production of new knowledge come from within the domain of humanistic practices? And who, i.e. what entities, should ideally produce such new knowledge? As Wittgenste in remarks in Culture and Value are there to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc. to entertain them. That the latter have something to teach them; 42) It is interesting that, while d iscussin g the results of highest recurrence in terms of word frequency in the oeuvre of Homer and Shakespeare as provided with WordHoard 13 , Stephen Ramsay shows some kind of already know (p.70). Ramsay observes in Reading Machines that the results would first hit us with the force of the obvious while at the same time causing us to construct narratives . . . An analogy with science suggests itself, but not the usual analogy. Througho ut the process, and in spite of 13 A quantitative analysis tool developed, among others, by Martine Muell er. Another example is Vouyeur by Rockwell and Sinclair.

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195 ourselves, we would teeter between confirming our own theories and forming new ones. [emphasis added] (71) As emerging from this passage, literary criticism is seen as proceeding perhaps as progressing only inasmuch it p rovides us with new theories. We might even say that the available options, according to the quote above, seem to span merely between producing either old or new ones (the latter being preferable). We might wonder whether this aspect of digital humanities is so dominant because of the computer assisted component that lies at the root of this field. We would be in a better place if we acknowledged, however, that such an aspect informs literary criticism well before humanities computing entered the stage. The need to overcome so merged as an attempt to provide literary studies with a more rigorous methodology. As I have reiterated throughout my study, OLP goal is not the formulation of of spe cific family resemblant samples that can never resolve in an encompassing formulation embracing different sets of phenomena. Although it derives its features in part from the logical positivism that lies at its historical philosophical roots, OLP recognize s the importance of neat precision and discernible conspicuity in understanding everyday uses of language without aiming at any general view of such on contingent and cir cumstantial specificities. This is the reason why, even when in conversation with technological based artefacts such as digital literary works, OLP

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196 cannot embrace the models of scientific observation. Walter filmed behavior item l ends itself more readily to analysis because it can be isolated Ordinary Digital Philosophy point of view as the one I am suggesting, we migh a reflection on what we mean by observation and the investigation of whether what we call (i.e. use as) observation can be promoted along different lines. As I have tried to show, the point often is not to focus on hidden details of familiar objects that are now brought into visibility via technology (the equivalent of close ups or sequences of single snapshots in film). Rather, the point is to focus on the pre assumptions that prevent us from seeing things that lie already potentially visible in front of our eyes: things that we do not notice because they are embedded in an often rigidly order to have a sense of the difference in terms of visibility which I am referring to, let us consider as a final ex 14 effectively describes Flan and semantic significance of these words, to restore them to our field of view. Their absence from our field of view, their non existence as facts for us, is precisely because they are so much there, so ubiquitous that they 14 distant reading and macroanalysis/

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197 gathering information about texts, of access ing the details. The information is different from what is derived via close reading, but is not of lesser or approach, although it wears its statistics prominently, foreshadows a subtle á vis the detail is imagined. It foregrounds the computer not as a factual substantiator whose observations are different in kind from our own because more trustworthy and objective but as a device that extends the range of our perceptions to 2005) same lines and can be as much misleading. Ramsay remarks in Rea ding Machines that It is one thing to notice patterns of vocabulary, variations in line length . . . Or, rather, it is the same thing at a different scale and with expanded powers of observation. (pp. 16 17) From an Ordinary Digital Philosophy perspective, I would maintain that the one described by both Flanders and Ramsay is not at all the same kind of observation that we discussed in relation to our attempt at noticing aspects in Mirroring Tears . Computers do not enhance our reading. As my treatment of re ading e literature as aspect seeing suggests, they simply read differently . That is to say that the term ng to the impossibility to formalize (and reproduce) aspect seeing within the coded set of instructions typical of machinic reading, we might conclude that a description of such procedures shows machinic reading as a different kind of observation, i.e. a d ifferent kind of attention . In attention usually considered the two polar opposites in the reception of a work of art (see Benjamin p.

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198 OLP I have tried to show examples first (re ading based experimental literature, codework, e as a well formed concept but as a multi vector term that defines our text related practices in digital environments. Wittgenste chapters the first instantiation of such an attention as a simultaneous phenomenon that does not distinguish between praxis and theoretical reflection. As Richard Lanham remarks in the Preface to his Economics of Attention : Style and Substance in the Age of Information rhetorical figure called oscillatio world and step back and reflect ho w we attend to it. We first write, absorbed in what we de facto establishes the fundamental idea of intellectual work as hinging on meta levels of conceptual domains in r elation to language. If the writing activity is followed by thinking takes place outside writing, i.e. outside language based practices. The kind of attention I have been a dvocating throughout this study is conversely based upon a necessity to actively look (something that can even be intended as producing writing as in the reading as writing described in Chapter 2) in order to see. As John Verdi phrases fers his readers something like sketches that he makes while thinking to creating art. His writing, that is, coincides with his creating sketches of

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199 language and this is e words, whereas won, the attention I am discussing is not an a priori attitude, i.e. a given that needs capturing, but an a bility, namely the mastery of a technique in seeking self knowledge that needs language to unfold.

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200 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION Any survey of works related to the issue of exploring the aesthetics implicit in oss four main areas of critical work: Wittgenstein and aesthetics as a philosophical discipline; analyses of selected topics related to aesthetics carried on through the l contemporary digital studies and help to better unde rstand cultural and theoretical implications of new media artifacts produced in North America. As a consequence, in with creative writing practices, the last two categor ies have been significantly privileged over the first two ones. 1 As it should be clear, my overall project was not intended to operate from a premeditated selection of representative examples of the poetics of attention. What has been described, the object of description, so to speak, has not been a group of particular and peculiar works of art but the practices that revolve around them. My attempt to resist the characterization of the specific works I discussed as exemplary artifacts does not lie in the fa ct that, as Fredric Jameson puts it in Postmodernism Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism 1 Wittgenstein explicitly confronts ae st hetic s only in Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology, and Relig ious Belief and he mainly deals with the analysis of propositions such as relevant results for literary studies.

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201 2 (xvi) makes creative products fall under t with our so called postmodern times. My decision to focus on practices rather than on products did not stem from and it can therefore become also an implicit critique of the poststructuralist incommensu rability between text and work. My decision stems from the fact that rarely we attend to the intricate web of relationships among creative practices and the variegated language uses . My research has tried to shed light on the interconnectedness between the way we create and they we speak. Throughout my study my perspective did not treat the way we speak about art (theory) as a pre condition for art production. My perspective has tried to treat the ways in which we create as inscribed within the ways in whic h we use language, the ways in which we ways in which we use the digital as an inter relational modality in all its inter subjective/objective variety. This is also a consequence of the fact that t he Greek term prattein or praxis is also less stable than we usually think. Besides the active meaning praxis in Aristotle therefore can 3). From th is point of view, the idea that the World Wide Web expanded , in Louis the field of contemporary p emplacement is, at least, problematic the e . As Heidegger observed, it is 2 Jameson, Fredric, Postmoder nism: or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism .

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202 modernity that tends to portray technology as predominantly instrumental and ideally opposed to non functional activities such as artistic productions. Adequately enough, a the current debate s in Digital Humanities takes the form of an ethical concern. In discussing the style of the Philosophical Investigations Stanley Cavell highlights how the book insta ntiates the mode of confession: there is the temptation tone, and then the ). As he goes on to explain, writing is , it wishes to It is my hope that my scholarly contribution might represent a first step towards a self conscious the due attention

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203 LIST OF REFERENCES Aarseth, Espen J. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature . Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 1997. Print. Agam non Preparatory Aspect Journal for the History of Analytic Philosophy . Vol 1. Issue 6 (2012). Web. Allen, Richard, and Malcolm Turvey, eds. Wittgenstein, Theory and the Arts . New York: Routledge, 2 001. Print. Armand, Louis. Introduction. Contemporary Poetics . Ed. Armand. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007. xiii xxx. Print. New Literary History 42.1 (2011): 87 113. Print. Augustine. Confessions. With an English Translation by William Watts. 1631 . London: Heinemann, 1917. Austin, J. L. How to Do Things with Words . Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962. Electronic Book Review . 13 Aug. 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. Image Music Text . Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1988. Print. Annals of Spiru Haret University. Journalism Studies . Volume 10 (2009). Web. School of Theatre, Film, and Television. Transcribed by Andy Blunden 1998. Proofreaded and Corr ected Feb. 2005. Web. Jacket 1 (1997): n. p. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. Tree of Codes Comparative Literature and Culture . 13 Mar. 2011. Web. Critical Inquiry . 28. No.1 (2001). Print. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 55.3 (1997): 305 308. Print.

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204 Cavell, Stanley. "The availability of Wittgenstein's later philosophy." Philosophical Review 71 (1962): 67 93. Print. Reprinted as chapter 2 of Must We Mean What We Say? (updated edition) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. --Film as Philosophy: Essays in Cinema After Wittgenste in and Cavell . Eds. Read, Rupert and Jerry Goodenough. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 167 210. Print. Cayley, John and Daniel C. Howe. The Readers Project Artists Statement . Howe 2009. Web. 4 Feb. 2011. --Electronic Book Review . 10 Oct. 2002. Web. Chomsky, Noam. New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print. Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs . New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. Cramer, Florian. Netzliteratur.Net . Web. Danto, C. Arthur. The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art . Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983. Print. --The Journal of Aesthetics an d Art Criticism 33.2 (1974): 139 148. Print. Dauber, Kenneth, and Walter Jost, eds. Ordinary Language Criticism: Literary Thinking After Cavell After Wittgenstein . Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2003. Print. Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology . Bal timore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. Print. American Philosophical Quarterly 6.3 (1969): 253 56. Print. Drucker, Johanna. Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Pr int. --Modernism/Modernity 9.4 (2002) 683 691. Print. Dworkin, Craig, and Kenneth Goldsmith, eds. Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing . Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2011. Print.

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205 Wittgenstein: The Terry Eagleton Script and the Derek Jarman . By Terry Eagleton and Derek Jarman. London: British Film Institute, 1993. 5 14. Print. The Em ily Dickinson Journal . 17. 2 (2008). 55 76. Print. Digital Humanities Quarterly 5.3 (2011): n. pag. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. Philosophical Investigations . Volume 35. Issue 2 (2012): pages 127 137. Print. Evens, Aden. Sound Ideas: Music, Machines and Experience . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Print. --Codework Workshop. West Virginia University. April 2008. Fann, K. T. . Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. Print. Fisher, Michael. Stanley Cavell and Literatur e Skepticism . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. Print. centred Poetic Critique Might Look Like . poetry 2011. Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close . Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. --. Tree of Codes . London: Visual Editions, 2010 Avant October . Vol. 70, The Duchamp Effect (Autumn, 1994), pp. 5 32 The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends Galloway, Alexander. Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization . Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. Print. Gefwert, Ch ristoffer. Wittgenstein on Mathematics, Minds, and Mental Machines . Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 1998. Print. Gibson, John, and Wolfgang Huemer, eds. The Literary Wittgenstein . New York: Routledge, 2004. Print.

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206 Glazier, Loss Pequeño. Digital poetics : The Making of E poetries . Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002. Print. Glock, Hans Johann. A Wittgenstein Dictionary . Cambridge: Blackwell, 1996. Godfrey, Tony. Conceptual Art . London: Phaidon Press, 1998. Print. The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories . Schulz, Bruno. New York: Penguin, 2008. xi xxix Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing . Eds. Dworkin, Craig, and Kenneth Goldsmith. Evanst on: Northwestern University Press, 2011. Print. --Conceptual Poetry and Its Others Conference, University of Arizona, Tucson Goodman, Nelson. Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols . Indianapolis: Ha ckett, 1976. Print. Nonsite.Org . Issue 4 (2011). Web. Hagberg, Garry. Art as Language: Wittgenstein, Meaning, and Aesthetic Theory . Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995. Print. Har rison, Charles, and Paul Wood, eds. Art in Theory: An Anthology of Changing Ideas . Cambridge: Blackwell, 1992 Harrison, Charles. Essays on Art & Language . Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literar y . Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 2008. Print. --. John Cage: Composed in America . Ed. Perloff, Marjorie and Charles Junkerman. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994. 226 241. --Electronic Literature Organization . ELO, 2 Jan. 2007. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. --. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Print. -. 210. --. Writing Machines . Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.

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207 Ject: On the Ephemeral Nature, Mechanisms, and Proceedings of the Di gital Arts and Culture Conference, 2009. After Media: Embodiment and Context Context (Irvine, CA: UC eScolarship, 2009). 12 Dec. 2009. Web. The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays . New Y ork: Harper & Row, 1977. 3 35. Print. The New York Times . 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 09 Feb. 2013. Herwitz, Daniel. Making Theory Constructing Art: On the Authority of the Avant Garde . Chicago: Universit y of Chicago Press, 1993. Print. Jakobson, Roman. "Closing Statements: Linguistics and Poetics." Sebeok, Thomas A. Style In Language . Cambridge: MIT Press, 1960. 350 377. Print. Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism, Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism . Du rham: Duke University Press, 1991. Print. Janik, Allan, and Stephen Toulmin. Wittgenstein's Vienna . New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973. Print. Joyce, Michael. Twelve Blue . Watertown: Eastgate Systems, 1996. Kirschenbaum, Matthew. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination . Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008. Print. --. Machine Vision: Towards a Poetics of Artificial Intelligence . . Web. 11 Nov. 2012. Teaching Literature at a Dist ance: Open, Online and Blended Learning . Ed. Takis Kayalis and Anastasia Natsina. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2010. 123 136. Print. Krausz, Michael, ed. Is There a Single Right Interpretation? . University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ ersity Press, 2002. Print. Landow, George. Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Critical Theory and Technology . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Print. --. Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization . Baltimore: Jo hns Hopkins University Press, 2006. Print. Lanham, Richard A. Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information . Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2006. Print.

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208 n Mark New Philosophy for New Media . Hansen, Mark. Cambridge, MIT Press, 2004. Print. Lessig, Lawrence. Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace . New York: Basic Books,1999. Print. Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding . New York: S. Marks, 1825. Print. Mallarmé, Stephane. . Trans. A. S. Kline. Poetry in Translation , 2007. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. . Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media . Cambridge: M IT Press, 2000. Print. --Debates in the Digital Humanities . Ed. Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Electronic Book Review . 2010. Web. 46 Philosophical Investigations The Engaged Intellect: Philosophical Essays . Ed. John McDowell. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009. 98 108. Print. McGann, Jerome. Radiant Textuality: Literature After the World Wide Web . New York: Palgrave, 2001. Print. McGinn, Marie. Wittgenstein and the Philosophical Investigations . New York: Routledge, 2002. Web. Memmot, Talan. Digital Rhetoric and Poetics: Signifying Strategies in Electronic Literature . Diss. Malmö University, 2011. DSpace , 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. New Literary History 40.4 (2009): 801 24. Print. Monk, Ray. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius . New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1990. Print. Monk, Ray. How to Read Wittgenstein . London: Granta, 2005. Print.

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209 Moretti, Franco. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History . New York: Verso, 2005. Print. New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories . Eds. Morris, Adelaide, and Thomas Swiss. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2006. Print. Morris, Adelaide, and Thomas Swiss, eds. New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theorie s . Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2006. Print. Swiss 1 46. Morrissey, Judd, and Lori Talley. . Web. Murray, Gilbert. Preface. Aristotle, On the Art of Poetry . Tran s. Ingram Bywater. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1920. 3 27. Print. Negroponte, Nicholas. Being Digital . New York: Knopf, 1995. Print. Nelson, Theodore. Literary Machines . Sausalito, CA: Mindful Press, 1992 Overgaard, Søren. Wittgenstein and Other Minds: Rethin king Subjectivity and Intersubjectivity with Wittgenstein, Levinas, and Husserl . New York: Routledge, 2007. Perloff, Marjorie. Ordinary . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. Print. Po LEA 14.05 06 (2006): n. pag. Web. 6 Nov. 2012. Pound, Ezra. ABC of Reading . New York: New Directions, 2010. Pressman, Jessica. Digital Modernism: Making it New in New Media . New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print. Book History 7 (2004): 303 20. Print. Electronic Book Review . 8 Sep. 2002. Web. Ramsay, Stephen. Reading Machines: To ward an Algorithmic Criticism . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Print. Rasula, Jed. The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book . Eds. Andrews, Bruce and Charles Bernstein. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University press, 1984. 52 53

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210 Nonsite.Org . 14 Oct. 2011. Web. Ruland, Richard and Malcolm Bradbury. From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature . New York: Penguin, 1992. Rutsky, Randy. High Techne: Art and Technology from the Machine Aesthetic to the Posthuman . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Print. Wittgenstein, Theory and the Arts . Eds. Allen, Richard, and Malcolm Turvey. N ew York: Routledge, 2001. Print. Schulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories . New York: Penguin, 2008. The Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy . Ed. Cheryl Misak. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy P ress, 2008. 449 81. Print. Sperberg TEI Encoding Initiative . 17 Jan. 2013. Web. Stich, S., and Warfield, T., eds. Mental Representation: A Reader , Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1994. Print. Stiles Kristine. Introduction. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A . Ed. Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. 1 10. Print. Contemporary Literature . 49. 2 (2008). 311 331. Print. A Companion to Digital Humanities . Eds. Schreibman, Susan, Siemens, Ray and John Unsworth. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. Verdi, John. Fat Wednesday: Wittgenstein on Aspects . Philadelphia: Pal Dry Books, 2010. Print. Wardrip Fruin, Noah. Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies . Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009. --The New Media Reader . Eds. Wardrip Fruin, Noah and Nick Montfort. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003. 65 66. Print. Contemporary Poetics . Ed. Armand, Louis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press , 2007. 279 285. Print.

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211 22 June 2011. Conference Presentation. Winkenweder, Brian. Reading Wi . VDM Verlag, 2008. Print. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Culture and Value --. Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology . Eds. Von Wright, G.H and Heikki Nyman. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982. Print. --. On Certainty . Eds. Anscombe, G.E.M. and G.H. von Wright. New York: Harper, 1972. Print. --. Philosophical Investigations . Trans. Anscombe, G.E.M. Okford: Blackwell, 2001. Print. --. Remarks on the Foundation of Mathematics . New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1991. Print. --. Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology . Eds. Anscombe, G.E.M. and G.H. von Wright. Oxford: Blackwell, 1980. Print. --. Tractatus . Trans. Pears, D.F. and B.F. McGuinnes. London: Routledge, 1988. Print. --. Zettel . Eds. Anscombe, G.E.M. and G.H. von Wright. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1967. Print. Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads and Other Poems 1797 1800 . Ed. Butler, James and Karen Green. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992. Print.

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212 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Maur o Carassai received a PhD in English at University of Florida in 2014 . He holds a Masters of Arts in American Literature and Culture from University of Leeds (UK) and was a Fulbright visiting student at Brown University in 2007 2008. His research combines literary theory, Ordinary Language Philosophy, and digital literatures within the larger frame of American literatures and American studies. His scholarly work has been published in journals such as Culture Machine , LEA Almanac (MIT Press) , and Digital Hum anities Quarterly . He was a 2010 11 HASTAC scholar.