Monday, February 11, 2008


In “Speech, Writing, and Code” I found it very interesting when Hayles wrote about HTML documents and “reveal[ing] code” (pp. 54). Many of my friends and family know how to tweak HTML coding on websites and also use dreamweaver - even those who aren’t concentrating in digital media and computer science. While I read this, I thought how manipulating HTML to construct and hide certain things enhances the feeling of individuality on the internet. People are allowed to add and change HTML codes on blogs and Myspace in order to personalize their site and make it their own. This is similar to what Hayles said later in the chapter on page 60, referring to the computer as an “expressive medium.”
I completely agree how computers often reflect “real conditions of existence.” It’s true: there’s a trashcan on my desktop for me to put in unnecessary documents and objects. On my Mac, there are even “Sticky notes” that stick to my desktop so that I can write little reminders. I’ve got a dictionary, “iChat” for video chatting and instant messaging, iTunes to listen to my music, a calender to schedule appointments -- aside from food, there’s not much more I need to sit for days with just my computer. However, I don’t understand what she means when she says that the machine is disciplining us to become a “certain kind of subject.”
This is also similar to what Lev Manovich writes about in “Generation Flash.” Flash and software programming gives people to ability to CREATE rather than CRITIQUE. This is a very good thing, exercising creativity and interaction between people via flash/shockwave projects. These projects do not force messages (or merely present them); on the contrary, they present data to be analyzed. It reminds me of what Barthes was describing “writerly text,” in ways that it presents a “new rhetoric of interactivity” in which the viewer is “actively working with the data: reorganizing it, uncovering the connections, become aware of correlations.”

No comments: