There are two quotes that have really stuck with me after reading the Elika Ortega piece. First and foremost it’s Ortega’s comment on Carrion’s reflection on a book’s existence”For him, a book needed to be created and read as a spatio-temporal entity in which language was complementary to the object, a part of a structure, in the process of creating meaning and, crucially, specific reading conditions.” This made me think a lot about Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of books in Thousand Plateaus where they say “A book has neither object nor subject; it is made of variously formed matters, and very different dates and speeds. To attribute the book to a subject is to overlook this working of matters, and the exteriority of their
relations” (3)

In his moment I finally had a way of understanding Deleuze and Guattari’s concept in a way that was only possible with Carrion’s concepts—which oddly enough makes me realize that the materiality of a book becomes easier to comprehend through layered meaning making, where books are understood only through other books even though they’ve never been in conversation with one another—materiality is inherently a spatio-temporal phenomenon, discursively and culturally produced, understood most clearly in the relations we build with those texts. Language just so happens to be one of the ways we understand the concepts of a text, there is a possibility then that texts could be understood in different ways… Which brings me to the second quote from Ortega:

“Multimateriality should be understood as the bringing together of different media and/or interfaces that guide specific reading conditions, and which cannot be broken down into its individual components without crippling the textual configuration of the work.”

If a book is formed by various matters—it is multimaterial—and it should be understood as a spatio-temporal object—then there might be ways in which we understand books as a set of relations and that new analyses which try and understand those relations becomes a new form of literary criticism? What does it mean to unpack and understand the materiality of the spatio-temporal traces of a book? I have no idea….But I think there’s something there, I’m just not sure what.

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