writing machines, or a short lesson in typography

So I have always been very interested in art and design, but it hasn't been until fairly recently that I've started thinking about what that means for something to be a really good design, both aesthetically and functionally (also, I highly recommend everyone read Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart, a book about "remaking the way we make things" ).

Patterns and Randomness

In the Hayle's reading "Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers" she writes (on page 78) that, "the interpaly between pattern and randomness causes the system to evolve in a new direction." I assume that when she uses the word system she implies both the human body and technological systems as she has implied earlier in this essay. Doesn't a computer run completely on algorithms?

virtual bodies etc.

- "Once encoding in the material base has taken place, it cannot easily be changed. Prints and proteins in this sense have more in common with each other than with any magnetic or electronic encodings." (p.73)


"The immateriality of the text, deriving from a translation of mechanical advantage into informational patterns, allows transformations to take place that would be unthinkable if matter or energy were the primary basis for the systemic exchanges." (p.76)

The Footnote

After reading Hayles essay I thought a lot about my history with footnotes. My experience with literature mostly included footnotes that were citings to other texts. What I learned from this is that you don't need to read a footnote. But then I met some useful footnotes (alas, more reading). Publishers of Shakespeare texts often have an entire page of footnotes for every page of story, all translating the definitions of the words that Shakespeare uses that are no longer recognizable to us.


As soon as I saw Hayles' essay, I realized that I was supposed to read it online. The contents and endnotes all are hyperlinked. After five or so pages, though, my eyes cried mutiny. I much prefer reading on paper than on screen (I wonder how cultural vs. biological this is). I then read the print-out in front of the computer, which I used to access all the texts Hayles refers to. This worked for a time, but, with the sun shining merrily, I gave up and took the print-out outside.

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