Diane Gromala’s response (excerpt)

Diane Gromala’s response (excerpt)

2004-03-23

Derrida’s territory - “discontinuities, contradictions, ambiguities, materiality, silence, space, conflict, margins, and figures” - is Bill Seaman’s, as Diane Gromala notes.

First, beginning with text, Seaman seems to refer to it not in the sense of reading for an author’s intent, but in the sense of textuality, an open, infinite process that is meaning-generating and subverting. There is much discussion to be had in subsuming “other media elements” and bodily response exclusively within the linguistic domain, but I would like to focus on textual elements of words themselves.

The technological properties of emergence that Seaman alludes to could be a compelling extension of Jacques Derrida’s “other” ways of writing and reading, where we take seriously “other” logics of the structure of signification. Akin to Freud’s concern with dreams and slips of tongue, Derrida is concerned with the signifying gaps that a standard reading disregards or represses: discontinuities, contradictions, ambiguities, materiality, silence, space, conflict, margins, and figures. Derrida’s concern, of course, relates to parallel concerns in modern and postmodern art. For artists, one instance that can be understood most clearly, perhaps, is in the historical example of Mallarme’s poetry, where the character of the typography and its placement on a page is not transparent to the meaning, but calls attention to itself and to the ways it allows for multiple kinds of readings. Seaman’s work with technological emergence, it seems to me, could be a quite compelling part of looking at textuality in this way, because it could make us aware of “other” aspects of text.

Bill Seaman responds