Monday, 18 January 2016

Narrative Collage Made Easy

As Bonnie Mak points out, the page’s construction itself necessarily changes the readers relationship with the text visible upon it. This presages the various approaches to reading that exist in digital settings, prompting questions about how readers perceive differently on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and mobile devices that can get quite petite. I have been turning over the ideas in her analysis of the processes of book-making and pagination as they relate to other media. Imagine, for instance, if one applied the materiality of fund-raising materials to press releases? Or the scissor and paste to storytelling...
All that to say, as Sheldon constructs (and reconstructs) his own narrative experience in the text adventure, he is applying the mental-digital variant of Eisenstein's metaphorical scissor and paste. The collage of information or imagery, as Mak would remind us, whether through imagination and algorithm is hardly a contemporary innovation.

Others make the same argument, and Eisenstein is basically suggesting that nostalgia itself is ephemeral as media basically remake fundamental human habits of communication in overlapping ways: collage, echo, sensationalism, commercialism.

So inasmuch as ancient mediated communication forms a basis for contemporary media; it is sometimes too abstract for me to think about practical habits professionally or even personally! But I've been chewing on it, as I go through my day consuming news and narratives voraciously. It binds me in some ways to the heritage and ritual of reading and writing; and it feels cheap and pulp at other times.

In that way, the collage is not merely in page layout, or civic constellations of power; rather it is the metadiscursive media mix we each uniquely abide, carefully calibrating a digital and traditional media experience that shapes us as we shape it.


Eisenstein, E. L. (1995). The end of the book?: Some perspectives on media change. The American Scholar, 541-555.

Mak, B. (2011). “How the Page Matters,” Retrieved from

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