Digital Artist in Residence: Craig Saper

#Reading In Spherical Knowledge

*Coders
[Pre-Flight Instructions For The Designers & ^Printers of The Essay] 

In Edwin Abbott’s 1884 satirical novella, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, set in an imagined future of 1999, the inhabitants of Flatland can perceive only two-dimensional objects.[1] Abbott pseudonymously published the first edition as “A Square,” and sought to ridicule Victorian strictures and the flatness of his countrymen. Although the later connotation of square as pejorative slang for an insipid, conventional and old-fashioned nob did not gain wide-spread use until the 1940s among hep jazz musicians, one cannot help but read Abbott’s pseudonym as a poke at the one-dimensional man of his day. The main character, A Square, has a dream in which he visits Lineland, and, unable to convince the aristocrats of a realm beyond their flatland consisting only of points on a line, is threatened with death for his heresy. Later, visited by a sphere, A Square finds himself, much like the Lineland inhabitants, unable to see a sphere as anything except a two-dimensional circle. These warping of dimensions continues as the sphere character tries to inculcate A Square and the Linelanders about Spaceland’s third dimension that exists imbricated upon what they see as only points on a line on a flat surface or, in A Square’s case, a circle. In spite of the censorship, imprisonment and death sentences awaiting any who dare advocate for another non-linear reality, the reality of multidimensional reading and epistemologies still exist. Abbott implicitly challenge’s the instrumentalist’s flat view of reading that only identifies the “points” of an argument; spherical thought recognizes spatialized constellations of details. That is, there are other dimensions to reading including 3-dimensions beyond the flat page. With that recognition, one might speculate on a spherical reading’s aesthetic, formal, textual, and ideological implications. From another perspective, one might apprehend or take a reading in spherical knowledge (RISK) as a preflight conversation with designers or printers.

A hundred years later from Abbott’s book, Trinh T. Minh-ha‘s 1985 poetic film Naked Spaces: Living is Round offers a visceral meditation on the dwellings in six countries across West Africa (Mauritania, Mali, Burkino Faso, Togo, Benin and Senegal).[2] The cyclical rituals of work and home match the round-shaped buildings in these geographically diverse villages; the three different voices in the voice-over further unsettles the rectilinear logic and continuity typical in reports, whether in documentaries or written essays. The discontinuous editing style opens a space for the film to shift from voyeuristically spying on these West African villages to an examination of the typical Western style of ethnographic documentation and form. Min-ha explicitly offers a different spatialized relation to the subjects portrayed in the film: next to them not above or outside them; seen from above everything is flattened; next to the people and their dwellings living is round and without take-away points. The lyrical philosophical film highlights the richness of details now freed from the gridded hierarchy and the arguments’ points of most nonfiction films; in that sense, Min-ha offers a spherical alternative to the white patriarchies of the Occident. This counter-documentary suggests how forms of media might be remediated back into the printed page as a way to poetically theorize perhaps the most inaccessible aspects of these West African places: peoples’ intimate, if mundane, interactions with each other and their living spaces. Thinking and living always take place, or dwells, in a round space.

Another analogy of spherical information design, or an image of wide scope, is The Powers of Ten film, made by The Offices of the Eames, and directed by an important special effects cinematographer, Alan Funke, in two versions in 1968 and 1977 for the American Physics Society, as a metaphor of how one might read big data. The film begins with a title card that reads in all capital letters, “A FILM DEALING WITH THE RELATIVE SIZE OF THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE” with a line space and then, “AND THE EFFECT OF ADDING ANOTHER ZERO”. The 9-minute long film’s clever construction, inspired in part by Kees Boeke’s 1957 Cosmic View photographic essay, moves the view out with an indicator of the scale and distance in the margins of the frame. It begins with a view of a lakeshore picnic in Chicago, Illinois, at 1 meter or 100 meters scale until reaching into distant space, 1024 or 100 million light years away from earth). For our purposes, the accuracy of the Eames’ “technoscientific, cosmological artwork” is of less concern than its simulation of the cinematic zoom using an “animated collage” of the imagined views (Woods 2020, 62-63). As an analogy, the spatialized notion of the zoom from one sphere to the next, intervenes in the model of distant, close, or patterned readings of data requires recognising a disjunction between these scales that is an effect of the metaphoric model, not of any quantitative or qualitative information. Of course, my analogy, that seeks to illuminate aspects not recognised in dominant models of reading, has its own metaphysical problems: it requires one to imagine a smooth continuity between data on a linear progression rather than spreading out in an assemblage of lateral connections. For example, the zoom-in from 100, the human scale including the skin on one hand, to 10-15 meters at the atomic level might be, following this analogy, an area that we have mostly ignored––the granular construction of serifs, texture, paper, inks, and on into the molecular structure of the materials. We can describe these small and intimate details not as an entirely separate style of interpretation, not as a close reading, but as a spectrum that includes big data on publishing (a global view) and intimate minutia, in a lateral sphere of constellations.

There have been other versions of the same idea portrayed in the Eames film, starting with the 1968 Szasz’s “Cosmic Zoom”, and, more recently, with the astrophysicist Obreschkow’s 2018 “Cosmic Eye”, a video viewed over 200 million times. Like the earlier Eames film, “Cosmic Eye” zooms up to unimaginably large scales of the universe, and then back into the most minute pre-atomic particles. There are many other examples all showing relative scale of objects and distances. In my analogy, we should not think of information and emerging knowledge as static at one scale, but rather dynamic as we change the scale of analysis. Big data is small data and vice versa as we float among bubbles of information zooming-in or out to ever smaller or larger spheres of information. One is not limited to studying data to one, and only one, scale or sphere of proportion. Counter to Franco Moretti, and the critics of digital humanities alike, there is no close reading or distant reading: one can zoom in or zoom out on all data in the same spatialized readings.       

In the history of conceptual writing, the best example of the highlighting of the different scales involved in reading, Dan Graham’s March 31, 1966 (first exhibited at Finch College, New York, in November of 1967), offers a poignant description of the type of zooming to different scales of reading a text (in fact, reading Graham’s actual text, or this one for that matter, from the absurdly distant “edge of the known universe” to the microscopic space between the reader’s “cornea to the retinal wall”).[3] Graham standardizes the distance as miles and further places the reading in time and place with dates, addresses, and very specific locations. Beyond a subtle allusion to Kees Boeke’s 1957 Cosmic View, andperhaps a winking parody of military precision targeting, satellite mapping, or planned space flights to the moon, is no longer about choosing either the close reading, which Graham exposes as merely one equal scale of reading from the “typewriter paper page,” or the distant reading, which Graham exposes as merely one not so distant scale still located in “New York, N.Y.”, and not even to the spherical level of the global earth let alone to the far reaches of the “solar system” or the “edge of galaxy (Milky Way).” Here is Graham’s vertiginous description of reading below.

Dan Graham. March 31, 1966 (shown November, 1967, Finch College, New York):

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.00000000 miles to edge of known universe

100,000,000,000,000,000,000.00000000 miles to edge of galaxy (Milky Way)

3,573,000,000.00000000 miles to edge of solar system (Pluto)

205.00034600 miles to Washington D.C.

2.85100000 miles to Times Square, New York, NY.

.38600000 miles to Union Square subway stop

.11820000 miles to corner 14th St. and First Ave.

.00367000 miles to front door, Apt. 1D, 153,

First Ave.

.00021600 miles to typewriter paper page

.00000700 miles to lens of glasses

.00000098 miles to cornea from retinal wall [4]

In terms of the idea of zooming-in on a text on a page, another analogy comes from the January 1931, collaboration between Nancy Cunard’s Hours Press and the visual poet-publisher, Bob Brown, who published Words as two sets of poems on each page printed in a single volume.[5] The book was subtitled “I but bend my finger in a beckon and words, birds of words, hop on it, chirping.” One set of poems was printed in 16-point Caslon Old Face, a classic font style used in all Hours Press publications. The other was relief-printed from engraved plates at less than 3-point size (perhaps, according to Cunard, less than 1-point). Because the subtitle was also printed in the microscopic text, archives, libraries, and bibliographies often mistakenly omit it. One can place Words at the intersection of three lineages. Nancy Cunard wanted to produce elegant modernist works in the fine-press artists’ book tradition that Hours Press helped initiate: “to achieve impeccably clean things with fingers grease-laden” (Hours, 9). Brown wanted to demonstrate how microscopic texts for his reading machine might appear if printed next to poems set in 16-point type. A reading of the book from the perspective of an avant-garde audience places it in the tradition of art- stunts. (In this regard, Brown’s friends, George Antheil and Marcel Duchamp, influenced his interest in art-stunts involving machines and mechanisms.) As a performance of reading strategies, Words, with its magnifying glasses and hidden clues, alludes to detective stories or to the paranoid’s micrographia and art brut.             

In relation to the self-reflexive poetry about the work and pleasures of printing, both Brown and Cunard had intense, even erotic, connections to their work. Cunard named Hours Press as an allusion to the work and work habits of her friend Virginia Woolf, who, with her husband Leonard, gave Nancy advice about the endeavor she was about to undertake; the Woolfs knew from their Hogarth Press that “Your hands will always be covered in ink.” The process of printing and writing are rarely the motif of poetry, but for Cunard, “the smell of printer’s ink pleased me greatly, as did the beautiful freshness of the glistening pigment. There is no other black or red like it. After a rinse in petrol and a good scrub with soap and hot water, my fingers again became perfectly presentable; the right thumb, however, began to acquire a slight ingrain of gray, due to the leaden composition” (Hours, 9). They were “looking at possibilities, at possibilities say, of bringing about the relation of thought to type on the page, and yet another complains comically about writing with a fountain pen (using the image as a way to consider the larger issue of writing technologies). The mini-poem “Death of Words” suggests a textual script for a comic book or movie treatment by using all capitals to indicate loud sounds, and em-dashes to suggest a shorthand system much like the system used in the Readies anthology, with its cinemovietone quality. The condensed poems, packed in a small space like the condensed soups that soared in popularity in the 1920s, provide an analogy for the post-book reading experience, with variable magnifications and focus. 

In the condensed poem “New York 1930,” Brown again illustrates the analogous relationships with other technologies, like cranking Ford cars (a favorite theme of Gertrude Stein’s), talkies, telephones, vending machines, audio plugs, phonographs, and the experience of watching a movie of a Rhino braying when someone twists its tail and cranks the camera (perhaps an allusion to Simba, released in 1928, one of the first nature documentaries). The poem uses a staccato style suggesting a series of similar images (wires, cranks) and activities (jiggling, twisting, turning) to produce a new type of cinemovietone poetry. Changing the focus (literally) to the larger poems, one sees the same satirical intent and a similar focus on printing, reading and writing, through titles like “Lament of an Etcher,” “A Grace Before Writing,” “Writing,” “Sonnet (count the lines),” I But Bend My Finger In A Beckon and Words Birds of Words Hop on it Chirping” (the poem’s title as well as the subtitle of the collection), and an homage to Harry Crosby, the printer-poet.            

Opening up Words suggests an alternative (untaken) path for layout and design as emerging knowledge production. Flipping through the book, one might find a poem that focuses on the need for a new poetry more attuned with the technologies of speed than is traditional poetry. In one such poem, Brown announces that “cloddish earthen poetry feet,” with the pun on feet suggesting metrical units stuck in the mud, await a change in word production and distribution analogous to the airplane’s impact on travel. Although not a new idea, since the Futurists had begun exploring it more fully twenty years before, and even advertising had explored the notion, Brown sought to enter a conversation about the teaching of reading and how mainstream culture published texts.            

The effort to conceive and print Words produced poetry demanding a technological solution just to read it; it thus put reading at a further remove from a natural human activity (i.e., you cannot simply read this text, nor can you look at it as art design without meaning). In order for the reader to see the smudge at the bottom corner of the page as a microscopic poem, he or she needs an external apparatus (a machine either as simple as a magnifying glass or as complicated as a computer). The human eye has no zoom function. Words focuses on the z-axis. Imagine a machine that supersedes the un-aided human eye with scanning and magnification in constant change and motion; this volume presents a print-version simulation, where you toggle between large and small texts. Reference to the history of micrographic writing, neither explicit nor exact in Words, begins at least by the time of Cicero, who reportedly saw an example of it. By the seventeenth century, it had been used in printing. In terms of using microscopic text to avoid censors, Micrographia (Hooke, 1665; new edition edited by Ford, 1998) discusses miniature writing and its possible utility in sending secret messages. Microfilm was used in libraries before the turn of the twentieth century. 

The surrealists’ interest in miniature writing arose with reference to Jean-Martin Charcot, an influence on Freud, discussing micrographia as a symptom of neurological disorders at the close of the nineteenth century. Miniature books and book collecting were popular around the turn of the century as well. In banking and business, microfilm became more than a novelty or secret in the late 1920s, and those uses inspired Brown. His microscopic print alludes as much to condensed foods as to the precise history of graphic design, and his conception of the history of microscopic printing and writing was filtered through his own adventure-story imagination rather than through a scholar’s erudition. McCosker and Wilken, in an article on big data as visual knowledge, note that visualisations, whether graphs, charts, word-clouds, or spread-sheets “never” fully capture “the totality of the object, and in its dynamism”, and always include a “gap between the extraction and abstraction of data” (McCosker and Wilken 2014, p. 157). Quoting Derrida, McCosker and Wilken note that by cleaning data and stressing the eloquent and beautiful simplicity and neatness of the visualisations, scholars seek a “total knowledge, which seeks to ‘objectivize with no remainder’” (McCosker and Wilken, 158; Derrida 1996, 68).[6]The remainder are all the details that do not fit in the imaging of big data sets. Instead, there is “a kind of aesthetic engagement with big data” in which one is tempted to “fetishize” the clean beauty and neatness of the visualisation rather than the dynamism of the data (McCosker and Wilken 2014, 156). However, rather than dismiss big data analysis, in their case for the social sciences, McCosker and Wilken argue, citing de Landa, that “the visualization […] does not stand as the final stage in a process of problem-solving”, but, similar to Howard Gruber’s argument, is “better understood as the actualisation of new ways of problem posing” (De Landa cited in McCosker and Wilken 2014, 163).[7] Royston, in Material Noise, suggests that “the remainder is not only linguistic, but material; it is the distracting typography or the jarring audio clip, for example, that the reader is tempted to attend to but feels compelled to ignore in favor of the more serious stated argument. But to more fully understand artistic arguments, it is crucial to give in to this temptation, to seek meaning in material.”[8]

Julia Flanders examines the turn to “big data” and “the comparative insignificance of any individual item in the research landscape”; after discussing Moretti, she returns to ponder “the many potential valences of the relation between individuals and systems: for instance, a “collective” logic through which the meaning of individual cases is most effectively realized or a “system” logic of industrial management in which individual distinctiveness and locality is set aside because it cannot be thought.”[9](Flanders 2013, n.p.). This is precisely the issue involved in big data versus what I am calling intimate or foamy data. The one should not be thought of in subordination to the other but rather on a Mobius strip continuum in which the smallest data opens to the biggest big data and vice versa. Flanders asks to us to consider big data that studies the “statistical aggregation—the large corpus, the visualization, the database—as a coordinate plane populated by data points, each of which carries its tiny payload of information (metadata, word frequency, demographics, and so forth)” in terms of the “connection between each data point […] a text or an artwork or a human being or a linguistic transaction” (Flanders 2013, np.) or, in this case a magazine, its readers, writers, editors, publishers, and its circulation numbers.  

As J. Schnapp notes, “[b]ig data, however defined, are built out of small data, and even the smallest of data are hardly given or captured (as the Latin datus and captus misleadingly suggest). Rather, data are constructed; and, when captured, it is these constructs that are seized” (Schnapp 2018, 424).[10] The magazine circulation data are constructed by parsing the copies printed, sold, and distributed to subscribers, and subsequently placed on a graph, which, in this case, does not include enough detailed distinctions in the x-vertical axis between the magazine’s founding and 1924 when Hearst bought the magazine. One could easily imagine constructing the data differently as I have already hinted above by finding a metric that organizes details and constructs data according to lasting cultural influence. Although I do not know what that metric might focus on or measure, the example explains that the data and the representation of the data is contrived. It is an idealised version of raw data. Schnapp makes a similar argument by recognising that it is “not big or small” but rather “the webs of interconnection, the zooming spaces, between different scales and points of entry” (Schnapp 2018, 424). Kuhn, too, challenges the usual binary construction “of quantitative versus qualitative methods, or even formal analysis versus critical theory” (Kuhn 2018, p. 301).[11] She correctly worries that “criticisms of close reading have alienated many humanists”, and, instead offers a “strategic” mixed methods approach that chooses the “appropriate methods for a particular project rather than simply denouncing any particular one a priori” (Kuhn 2018, 301). The very distinction between big and small or close and distant is an inadequate construction mapped on to a mass of details. One cannot arbitrarily discount or dismiss particular types of data, big or intimate, or approaches to reading, distant or close; all scales carry intellectual weight in a foam of thought. 

The very ontology of the small data set, as we zoom-in on smaller and smaller bubbles of information, opens up bigger than the big data and contains multitudes; small data is bigger than the big data. Similarly, when one zooms out from the evidence to a distant reading, patterns appear that challenge or support the construal of close readings and primary research. The big data is the foundation of the small data sets. When one zooms in on the same evidence, the patterns vibrate like a refracted moiré effect, and the close reading challenges the construal of even the most complete set of big data. The smart set of data, whether fuzzy, clear, or both (and also to varying degrees), always depends on appreciating the continuum rather than binaries between big data and intimate stories; theories of reading and epistemology and between the practice of archival research and literary readings.

What would the machine-eye look like that was made for spherical texts? The struggle to print Words was so intense that the printers working with Cunard found it nearly impossible, and had to custom make copper plates to print the micrographic poems; their struggles suggests a concluding analogy for the readers of this essay (including the editors and designers) on the dream of a machine that could produce microscopic/global texts of spheres. This foamy reading machine would make the reader’s eyes figuratively pop out of the human head and, to borrow the title of Brown’s first visual poem produced for Marcel Duchamp’s magazine, float away like “Eyes on the Half Shell” (Brown, Blindman, 3). Whether foam is a future platform for information design and retrieval or a captivating surrealist art-stunt, we may now be ready to refocus our eyes on the future of reading as revealed by what once seemed a mere novelty, an avant-garde artwork, a clever joke, and now is part of a mundane reality of the spherical foam of knowledge. It might be impossible. As Anne Royston notes, “Nonsemantics posit that artistic arguments, as a category, are driven by self-conscious materiality and function. They suggest that what we tend to think of as argument is . . . not wrong but simply narrow, indicating a potential scope of signification well beyond printed words on a page.”[12] What the page will look like as a reflection of the future of inscriptions will be to imagine our eyes looking back at our spheres of knowledge beyond the printed page as foamy bubbles oozing out in a multidimensional all-at-onceness of rhizomatic significations and remainders of nonsemantics.

As in the emergence of the avant-garde during the fin de siècle, when poets and writers rethought the role of printed texts’ layout and design in relation to film and photography, creating the opportunity for Apollinaire’s Calligrammes,[13]Constructivist and Futurist poster-poems, and the Bauhaus-inspired Concrete Poetry, the Situationist-oriented Lettrisme and all later known as visual poetry, text designers now face similar issues in relation to new technologies. As ever-accessible online electronic media clearly become the preferred modes of disseminating and accumulating information, the purpose of printed on paper and bound texts, like Inscriptions, has fundamentally changed. This change allows artists and writers to explore new layout and design of information and to explore new ways of (literally) unfolding a journal essay, and to explore the physical reading experience as it is remediated from the future of online information design back onto the page; just as the multiplicity of perspectives, made possible by cameras, changed text layout, the new virtual shape and space of information, changes the possibilities of the page suggesting how the non-fiction essay might spatialize information.       What might appear a defamiliarization of the page’s layout and design might also simply reflect the spatialization of information available online. Instead of reading this essay as an individual text alone, it can be read through its design in relation to, or in an assemblage with, other apparatuses of reading like book-shelves, libraries, archives, binderies, and all of it part of a lineage of considering the spatializing of knowledge and texts now highlighted by the virtual space of information online. This essay tests–suggests instructions for an experiment with the readers (and perhaps designers) of Inscriptions–whether one can translate the very qualities of the printed essay form through a backward translation from a proposed online environment and platform called foam. Opening out to the conceptualisation of modes and platforms for information organisation, retrieval, and archiving, suggests the need for a new spatialised notion of knowledge.     

This essay offers a blueprint for how a new presentational platform or structure of research might work. Ideally, one would be able to visually zoom into the data sets to find the dynamic “smart set” and to challenge “dumb” information that might have viral power with evidence supporting claims. The layout of the page, and the entire regime of the flat-page interface, would change as we begin to think of information in depth, distance, and spatial relationships all at once: zoomable configurations into a multiplicity of bubbles. The founders of one proposed platform, called Foam, suggests a spatialized model of reading. Foam embodies what Peter Sloterdijk calls a “sphereological” model of spatialized and “atmospheric” knowledge production.[14] Using the Foam space, readers and writers gather information, data, and media within multi-dimensional bubble-worlds. In these bubble-worlds, curation, mnemonics, historiography, narratology and visualization are imbricated together with montage editing techniques. Those techniques also include zooming, sequencing, and weaving. The reader, writers, and users deploy foam space in order  to create novel powers of storytelling and contextualization.[15]

In the Foam platform, one might have the opportunity to conceptualise data on a timeline and then zoom-in on one year, one date, one name, one moment, and, on into the materiality of the page––this page even. The Foam platform has the same goals as other efforts to spatialise knowledge and to consider the scale of reading practices central to debates and issues confronting text analytics, data analysis, and the digital humanities, especially in discussions of distant or close readings, anonymised or named data, algorithmically or rhetorically parsed texts. It also changes reading and the event of a reader’s scanning a page.To visualize this emerging knowledge design, one can use the earlier concrete poetry, and one particular poem, as an analogy for the technology inspired notion of sphereological layout and design of knowledge. In the 1960s, one variant of Concrete poetry was influenced by manifestos and poems from the United Kingdom, Europeans and Brazilians as well as the vibrant international art scene in New York City, the anti-war and pro-civil rights protests throughout the States, and popular culture’s fascination with systems and technology. These cultural influences made the United State’s version of Concrete poetry unique and particularly popular. An exemplar of these tendencies appeared on the dust jacket of the definitive anthology, Concrete Poetry: A World View (1970).[16] The editor-poet, Mary Ellen Solt (1920-2007), composed her poem, “Moonshot Sonnet,” from reformatted diagrammatic-codes initially used by NASA-engineers to plan and execute the moon landing. The engineers placed the diagrammatic-codes over photographs of the lunar surface, and Solt abstracted the diagrams without any photographic reference. Using the codes, she transformed the result into a sonnet, with the codes appearing in “exactly fourteen “lines” with five “accents,”” a Petrarchan or Italianate sonnet.[17]Her poem is a distinctively technological sonnet. It is not just an iconic concrete poem, but also a poetic emblem of a national identity as it became technologically delusional with the hope that technology would solve all problems. The literary poetics reduce language to an eloquent semiotic code system and universal visual language. Although the poet-editor, Solt, describes her influences as arriving from the Brazilians and Europeans, the actual poem is also unmistakably alluding to geometric minimalism, Pop art, and ready-mades. The designers of Solt’s anthology, at Indiana University Press, insisted that the poem adorn the back cover of the dust jacket in part to highlight the editor’s contribution to the International Concrete poetry movement, but also as an entreaty to the American reader to appreciate the importance of a “world view” in the age of peaceful lunar exploration. The poem concretely suggests that, although the International Concrete poetry movement was launched from Brazil and Europe, it would reach its largest audience when it landed in the United States and more generally visual poetry.[18] When other poet’s sonnets, from Shakespeare to Poe, allude to the moon, it is usually a melancholic and romantic trope, rather than an allusion to scientific discovery and technological advances. Solt’s poem spoofs the old forms by presenting a poem without words, and by composing a cold paean to the moon without romance. Beyond the parody of sonnets about the moon, Solt’s “Moonshot” also presents an entirely new form of poetry. This poetry about a global view responds to the supranational, supra-lingual, and sphereological world that moonshots created. In that sense, the moonshot itself produced the cultural circumstances, and literal view, for the “world view” of this supranational poetry and for Solt’s anthology’s world-view. Solt’s poem, from the late 1960s, perfectly illustrates an anti-war politics, presenting a literal target but this time used for the peaceful purpose of lunar exploration. Contradictory to that politics, the image of the lunar landing, demonstrated the power of the American media empire to focus, and spread, the message of a lunar landing globally and throughout the universe. Solt’s “Moonshot” could express this ubiquitous image, and its socio-political meanings about the United States of America’s media colonialism. The sphere of the globe seen from the moon, suggested the need for a global view of knowledge and information design even as its appearance visually marked the global imperialist aspirations of only one sphere of knowledge.


[1] Abbott, Edwin, 1884/1952. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. New York: Dover, 1952. p. 86.

[2] Minh-ha, Trinh T. (dir.), 1985. Naked Spaces: Living is Round (film, 135 mins).

[3] Graham, Dan. March 31, 1966 (first exhibited at Finch College, New York, in November of 1967). 1973 (reprinted 1997). reprinted in Lucy R. Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 14.

[4] Graham, Dan. March 31, 1966. p. 14.

[5] Brown, Bob. Words: I but Bend My Finger in a Beckon and Words, Birds of Words, Hop on It, Chirping. 1st ed: HoursPress, 1931 (2nd edition: Roving Eye Press, 2014). See also, Brown, Bob, et al. Readies for Bob Brown’s Machine.Cagnes-sur-Mer (A.-M.): Roving Eye Press, 1931. (2nd edition: Roving Eye Press, 2014); Brown, Bob. “Experiment.”transition: an international quaterly for creative experiment. 18 Fall, November (1929): 1. Brown, Bob. 1450-1950. 1vols.[Paris: Black Sun Press, 1929. Print. Brown, Bob. Globe-Gliding. Diessen W. Germany: Roving Eye Press, 1930.Print. Brown, Bob. The Readies. Bad Ems: Roving eye press, 1930. Print. Brown, Bob. Demonics. Cagnes-sur-Mer:Roving Eye Press, 1931. Print. Brown, Bob. Gems, a Censored Anthology. Cagnes-sur-Mer,: Privately printed, RovingEye Press, 1931. Print. Brown, Bob. Nomadness. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1931. Print. Brown, Bob. Readiesfor Bob Brown’s Machine. Cagnes-sur-Mer (A.-M.): Roving eye press, 1931. Print. 

[6] Derrida, J., 1996. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Translated by E. Prenowitz. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

[7] De Landa, M., 1998. Deleuze, Diagrams, and the Genesis of Form. ANY: Architecture New York, 23, June Issue, pp. 30–34. quoted in McCosker, A. and Wilken, R., 2014. Rethinking ‘big data’ as visual knowledge: the sublime and the diagrammatic in data visualization. Visual Studies, 29(2), pp. 155-164. See for comparison, Gruber, H., 1978. Darwin’s “Tree of Nature” and Other Images of Wide Scope. In: J. Wechsler, ed. On Aesthetics in Science. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press. Gruber, H., and Davis, S., 1988. Inching our way up Mount Olympus: The Evolving-Systems Approach to Creative Thinking. In Robert J. Sternberg, ed. The Nature of Creativity: Contemporary Psychological Perspectives. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

[8] Royston, Anne M. (2019) Material Noise: Reading Theory as Artist’s Book. London: MIT Press, 17

[9] Flanders, J., 2013. The Literary, the Humanistic, the Digital: Toward a Research Agenda for Digital Literary Studies.Modern Languages Association [online] Available at: <https://dlsanthology.mla.hcommons.org/the-literary-the-humanistic-the-digital/&gt; [Accessed 31 January 2020]. 

[10] Schnapp, J., 2018. The Intimate Lives of Cultural Objects. In: J. Sayers, ed. The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities. New York, NY: Routledge. Chapter 43. 

[11] Kuhn, V., 2018. Images on the Move: Analytics for a Mixed Methods Approach. In: J. Sayers, ed. The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities. New York, NY: Routledge. Chapter 30. 

[12] Royston, Anne M. (2019) Material Noise: Reading Theory as Artist’s Book. London: MIT Press, 136.

[13] Apollinaire, Guillaume. Calligrammes, Poèmes De La Paix Et De La Guerre (19131916). Collection Poésie. Paris:Gallimard, 1995 (initially 1918). 

[14] Sloterdijk, P., 2016. Foams, Spheres Volume III: Plural Spherology. Translated by Wieland Hoban. Cambridge, Mass.: Semiotext(e) / Foreign Agents; distributed by MIT Press.

[15] Greco, M., 2020. unpublished interview transcript on 25 Feb 2020.

[16] Mary Ellen Solt, ed., Concrete Poetry: A World View (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1970).

[17] Mary Ellen Solt, notes on figures, in Solt, ed., Concrete Poetry: A World View (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1970), 306.

[18] Claus Clüver, “From Imagism to Concrete Poetry: Breakthrough or Blind Alley?” in Amerkanische Lyrik: Perspektiven und Interpretationen, ed Rudolph Haas (Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1987), 113. Clüver writes, that the “USA was not among the countries where the movement had its simultaneous origin.”

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