Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Error and reflection

In the act of typing I am experiencing error with repeated frustration.

This leads me to consider my own relation with the laptop keyboard and the more gentle approach it seems to require by comparison. 

Vilem Flusser explores the act of writing as digging, a penetrating gesture which cuts away rather than constructs, he makes the connection even to the typewriter despite resembling the piano:

The pointed pencil […] reminds us of course much more of the original gesture of scratching than does the typewriter, which reminds us of nothing in our tradition except the piano […] it is evident that to type is still to ‘impress’, namely a gesture that presses into a surface, although in fact it presses ink onto a surface. Its intention is one of digging.

But I am aware of how little the laptop keys impact or press on either the paper or my own body. 

Except perhaps the bodily cramp which comes from being unaware of how long I have been sat writing and staring at the screen for. The gritty dry eye is by far my biggest physical discomfort.

Today people have come back to comment on how their fingers are still vibrating even after finishing a short burst of typing.

The typewriter has been a revealing object which tells something of peoples age in their encounter with it. Many have stories to tell of using them, as well as those who have come curious and excited for their first encounter.

The laptop screen seems a portal which links to a wider space, whereas the typewriter focuses attention towards a single letter and is a much more contained activity.

There have been discussions about process. How the thinking process disappears when writing digitally. Marginalia, notes, scribbles, errors and corrections all vanish, leaving little evidence of the effort or editing that has gone into sculpting the final result.

Auto correct and the difficulty of working without a safety net has been apparent today, yet there have also been discussions around the errors which are corrected by the computer unnecessarily, as well as the restrictions which we will accept and work under in our relation with technology and machines.

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