Monday, February 14, 2011

Scenes of Writing and the Staging of Theory

Scenes are a recurring descriptor throughout the first half of W. J. T. Mitchell's Picture Theory.  He interprets the aesthetic/philosophical stances of both Panofsky and Althusser on the basis of (what he takes to be) each of their primal scenes (i.e., "a moment of traumatic origin and irrevocable commitment").  A defining characteristic of what Mitchell calls "metapictures" is that they function as (if not directly depict) a "scene of interpretation" (76).  Scenes from Sunset Boulevard "provide both a description language for and a specific instantiation of the cinematic imagetext" (104).  Moreover, Mitchell's chapter on William Blake revolves around Blake's pictures of various scenes of writing, adding that the moment of writing for Blake is a primal scene from which all writing is best described as "'original derivations'...Blake can seem to be both the author of original writings and merely a conduit through which innumerable writings (tradition, historical reality, textual and pictorial influence) transmit themselves" (140).

For now, I just want to stage a juxtaposition (which I will return to in a later post) between the scenes of writing catalogued by Mitchell (keeping in mind his theoretical figures: image/text, metapicture, etc.) and the scene of writing depicted in the follow video clips of various AR apps in use.

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