Diffusé par Adcash

Hands and Writing: A Digital Sample


 

You're watching video Hands and Writing: A Digital Sample

Diffusé par Adcash
This project explores the relationship between hands, technologies, and writing and asks viewers to consider the social implications of this relationship.  It is especially interested in the different conceptions of community arising from this relationship.

While the transition from pen to keyboard has been a lively area of study (see F. Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter for an example of such scholarship), the transition from keyboard to texting, or "thumb writing" has not.  The attention "thumb writing" has received usually leans toward the negative.  I can't count how many times I have heard disparaging comments such as "thumb writing leads to short and sometimes incomplete response," or "thumb writing relies on abbreviations that diminish our already weak grammar skills."  My digital sample argues that thumb writing provides Compositionists with massive potential.

I am interested in "thumb writing" because I see it as that which finally provides a challenge to traditional and oppressive models, since it is impossible to write with the thumbs like we write with the index finger and thumb or with both hands moving together.  Moving the thumb to the forefront takes the emphasis off of correct spacing and keeping things stable: traditional roles for the thumb.  It takes the emphasis off of the index finger, long aligned with phallogocentrism and a stable identity ("I am").  It takes the emphasis off of the illusion of consensus and common sense ("we are"), and moves toward the "singular plural" ("i r").  This description of community ("i r") places people alongside one another in order to intervene in the world without the illusion of consensus.

For instance, Howard Rheingold famously describes "generation txt," which, through massive text messaging and only through text messaging, toppled Filipino president, Joseph Estrada in 2001.  He writes: "Like the thumb tribes of Tokyo and youth cultures in Scandinavia, Filipino texters took advantage of one of the unique features of texting technology -- the ease of forwarding jokes, rumors, and chain letters [. . .] only a few thumb strokes are required to forward a message to four friends or everybody in your phone's address book."  The "thumbstrokes" common to texting also elicit more emotional response among participants, since "thumbing" happens so quickly.  This type of response is difficult to accomplish through writing with all of the fingers.

I assembled this remix so viewers might create associations.  We see a variety of hands writing with various technologies and for various purposes.  The first part focuses on traditional roles for hands and writing and the values associated with these roles.  Toward the end, the remix puns on the associations linking text -- txt -- felt: materially speaking, from text(ile) [woven] to txt to felt.  In short, I try to show that felt (as a composed and pressed material) ironically and more accurately represents thumb writing and "txting."  I encourage viewers to watch the remix several times and to discuss associations.  

Sample Sources:
Kittler, Friedrich.  Gramophone, Film, Typewriter.  Trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz.  Palo Alto: Stanford UP, 1999.
Rheingold, Howard.  Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.  Cambridge: Perseus P, 2002.
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