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“Etymologically, the word ‘text’ means a textile, and the word ‘line’ a linen thread. But texts are unfinished textiles: they consist of lines (the woof) and are not held in place by vertical threads (the warp) as a finished textile would be.” (Does Writing Have a Future?, 2011, p. 37) As unfinished textiles, they acquire meaning when readers interlace the threads in search of meaning. As lines, letters struggle against spoken language; they act as vampires that suck the life out of language (Franz Kafka), and spin the magical promise of myth out of lines (ibid.).

Communication texts are “informative,” and, amongst other things, specifically related to scientific communication. Especially in the natural sciences, they aspire to be received as legible; they pretend to be denotative and to convey distinct messages. Expressionistic, expressive texts, typical of lyric poetry, can have a low level of legibility and can be connotative because they transmit messages with ambiguous meanings. Paradoxically, expressionistic texts are not aware of their communicative purpose when they express more open messages, such as, for instance, the Bible, which can be interpreted according to many different points of view.Vilém Flusser provokes his naive readers by saying that texts in the humanities are obscure and veiled by science.

Ever since Johannes Gutenberg, a text is written for a communicator or publisher, who prints it after making a selection. In the dialogue between writer and publisher, they change and transform one another and the text itself, a fact that is intrinsic to the essence of dialogue; they both work to inform the reader, that is, to print something that will leave a good impression. In the light of contemporary inflation of texts, Flusser asks whether we will abandon using the alphabet by replacing writers and publishers with programs and word processors because it is a code with a low capacity for abstraction and society will be informed (and benumbed) exclusively by programmed images with sound (ibid., p. 42).

Original article by José Eugênio Menezes in Flusseriana

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text.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/27 21:24 by steffi_winkler