Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"James Joyce Saves the Day" or ""And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?"

At one point in Wark’s article, he mentions Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” as being a sort of “precursor” to “the emerging world of codework,” in the sense that Joyce’s text is incredibly saturated with neologisms and composites of pre-existing words that create a language that is both frustrating, yet interesting to read throughout an entire novel. The entire concept of codework and hypertext and their functions were somewhat fuzzy for me, but Wark’s comparison to Joyce sort of allowed me to think about the whole mess in a less confusing way. I wasn’t altogether sure how to think of a codes and hypertext as a language or text, because of their ability to open up several different “permutations” and links to god knows where. But suddenly, at the mention of Joyce it all made sense. One word or a few words can read one way on the page, yet they can mean something [or many things, often times] entirely unrelated. And what’s more important is that it takes a great deal of effort to get through Joyce’s words to their actual meaning, something akin to codes/hypertext. This is something I can understand/appreciate, especially when given something like
:: : :: :
][][][][][][][in][Form.ational Sauces
>+::drenching wurds with cauls of gritty re:][d][wined rims & gra.][k][nit.e longing
>++< hearts of c.hun.king stone
::shifting l][iquid polyvalent][ucre melts gigabyting fronts
>+.+.< removable feldspar ][s(ta][c][tic)nakes & jacob][ladders
::whole twitching N.titees d][cl][own.loading l][m][uddite dust

Granted, the first example is a bit much for me, but the second isn’t as trying. Thanks to Wark and his Joyce comment, I can sort of see where codework is trying to reach out past the typical ::type type type:: of a keyboard or typewriter or whatever. At this point, I’m sort of left agreeing with Saussure and the arbitrariness of what we read/hear and what we conceptualize.

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