Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unfortunately this might all be for not, but I'll explain myself. Due to the whims of reality the house of leaves has eluded me. The internet, from what I gather, cannot do it justice, the library system is oblivious of it, and I don't have it. In searching aimlessly through the intensely focused atmosphere with the hopeless knowledge printed on a piece of paper with letter and number codes in which we confide in said labyrinth of confident despair, I stumble on another one of Danielewski's novels, Only Revolutions. Again, as with Jimmy Corrigan and House of Leaves, this piece of textual printed media seems to defy technological advancement seeming looses something, whether it's something as superficial and insignificant and its novelty or the physical sensation of actually feeling the pages, or weather some deeper transcendence. These authors/artists have created (or utilized) a medium so easily and readily digitalized in a way that, for now, appears timeless. Jimmy Corrigan, of course, has intricately designed frames of existence brilliantly colored printed on firm off white pulp paper smooth but not glossy, smelling of old and ink is something un-reproducible digitally.
Now, this is without going into the whole semantics of how digital media works and the subsequent arguments that ensue. The other side is whether because the medium is inherently different it's interpretation
necessarily different; or, if only the original can be properly interpreted and recreations (even identical ones) loose expressive power so to speak; or, if there is no difference, if a reproduction identical it will always be authentic and preserve its creative expression. As far as Only Revolutions in particular, I would find it incredibly awkward due to the relatively fixed possession of any visual representation of data (a screen) being as it is written to be read front to back as well as back to front, and it's important to take in an entire page both ways while being able to continue in a more traditional progression through text.

I can feel Danielewski 's apparent empathy in sharing the epic struggles of humanity through a period of history. On each page (in each passion that you can read) is a date and a flow of historical information and fellings revolvion around those events/moments. (again as with Jimmy Corrigan, capturing moments and emotions in similarly executed styles but one using images (predominatly to provide context while Only Revolutions uses side notes and creative t3xt m@nipul@ti0n to set context), and one using only text.

Anywho I would imagine if House of Leaves simulated you so would Only Revolutions.


Chris Weiss said...

First and foremost, it's a little too late to title your post, but note at the top somewhere that it's option 2 from last week, I had a bit of trouble realizing what you were writing about until the very end. As for the actual response, I understand that you compared a different work of Danielewski than House of Leaves, but you spend the considerable chunk of your response explaining this substitution rather than writing a comparative argument between the two authors' styles. In order for you to actually compare the two, you need to focus more on the style each uses and relate/contrast them through the example of one section from each. Since your comparison to Danielewski is from an unfamiliar text, I would recommend describing your reference from his work in much greater detail to better understand where you are coming from in your response. Additionally, you may want to focus more on the actual comparison rather than whether liking one style is synonymous to liking the other. Hope these comments helped and sorry for the late post.

Adam Johns said...

Chris - excellent response.

Bob - I won't say much, because Chris covered the important material here. Your choice to bring D's two novels together is a good one, and while most of this piece is rather confusing (you really would benefit from a more conventional structure; the standard essay driven by a thesis statement may seem to be restrictive, but it *works* - you have trouble communicating interesting ideas), there are provocative moments - for instance, your aside that JC does things which can't be duplicated digitally. You need to work more on extending and explaining your most interesting thoughts, rather than on tossing them out without any particular context. Ultimately, it's unclear to me what you're trying to *do* with Danielewski's two texts.

Adam Johns said...

Hah! That's what I get for just reading the comments thread, without remembering that part of it is in color. Anyway, your use of the red is cool and interesting - but while it makes your work more provocative, it doesn't make it terribly comprehensible. Or, to put it another way, I appreciate the added layer of meaning - but there wasn't enough in the initial layer...