Notes on the Gesture of Writing

Copyright The Cooper Gallery / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Copyright The Cooper Gallery / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Copyright The Cooper Gallery / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I asked the students on the MA Illustration: Authorial Practice course to read the essay.  The discussion ranged far and wide, as usual, and I fear we didn’t get to what I would call the heart of the matter, namely the features unique to writing.  It’s very hard to understand that Flusser is not actually talking about the use of specific media, so much as the way a given medium shapes a prevailing consciousness.  They wondered about the presence of text and image on a single page (entirely reasonable), and the only example I could give was the point in the Writing book where he talks about a mathetmatical equation functioning as a kind of island–visual–within a linear scientific text.  It’s a good example, but actually more complex, saying more about Flusser’s theory than these students were going to absorb at that moment.  There were several comments about the very last sentences, about “writing is necessary; living is not” sounding rather crazy.  They didn’t sound crazy to me.  I would put the difference down at a first approximation to age (I’m way older), and yet more evidence of different relationships to writing, and how dramatically they affect consciousness.

The painting is George Catterole’s The Scribe.  Date is unknown.

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