Critical Vices: The Myths of Postmodern Theory (Critical by Nicholas Zurbrugg, Warren Burt

By Nicholas Zurbrugg, Warren Burt

Imprint. In those essays, Nicholas Zurbrugg charts the advancements in overdue 20th-century multimedia artwork. He demanding situations bills of postmodern techno-culture, and interweaves literary and cultural conception and visible reviews to illustrate the neutering of mass-media tradition and the exceptions to it. Warren Burt is Melbourne-based.

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As has been suggested, it is possible to identify two kinds of intercontextual problems. The first of these, exemplified by Gysin’s appropriation of collage and montage techniques from the fine arts, concerns work in which discursive conventions from an extra-literary discursive space are used within a literary discursive space. The advantages of intercontextualizing this kind of problem become particularly clear if one considers the case of concrete poetry, an international movement with practitioners in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Japan.

With the computer you can splice a lot finer than you can on the tape-recorder, and so you are able to produce new words, new sounding words, out of the fragments of old words. It’s a whole new bag of tricks one can play on language. With tape-manipulation you have little bits of tape all over the floor—you’re removed from the actual physicality of producing that sound. New technology would give you more real time control—with a micro-processor you get more immediate control. Distinguishing the work of the French pioneers—or primitives—of early tape-recorder poetry, and the Swedish and American, West Coast primitives of computer poetry,43 Wendt suggests that whereas poets like Bernard Heidsieck and Henri Chopin may now be defined as masters of early recording technology, the primitives of early computer poetry still risk considerable “brain damage” in the effort to master their instruments.

Barthes’s suggestion that the twentieth century is an era of unbroken textual “repetition” is doubly disadvantageous. It not only distracts attention from the peculiarly contemporary problem of explicating the innovations of radical discourse, but (what is worse) encourages the conservative intertextual practitioner’s tendency to privilege the very banalities of prior discourse that least resemble radical discourse. Laurent Jenny offers an interesting exception to the rule of conservative intertextual practice, in so far as his reflections upon literary variants of collage in “Sémiotique du collage intertextuel” advocate the comparison of literary and pictorial practices (176).

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