Iteration, you see: Floating text and chaotic reading/viewing in slippingglimpse


Starting from the authors’ assertion that “In slippingglimpse, the water reads the poem text, the poem text reads image/capture technologies, and Ryan's image capture technology reads the water,” this paper seeks to explore reading in a dynamical system. By dynamical system I mean, first, the flow of text and film, the” choreography” of floating text and video which fleetingly “hangs on screen.” ( I’m interested in the way the loss of stability impacts both the text and the way we read the work. How do we read a stream of data, how do we read a dance? A dynamical system also refers to the mathematical theory of complex systems and chaos. The quote in the title is taken from Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia and relates to iterated algorithms: “Like a feedback. She’s feeding the solution back in the equation, and then solving it again. Iteration, you see.” (Arcardia, 44) It is from this perspective of feedback that I like to explore Stephanie Strickland’s and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo’s practice of “sampling and recombining words of visual artists.” What is at stake here is also way the video stream interferes with the strings of sampled words and vice versa. The disturbance stems from the two different temporalities associated with viewing and reading. What I show is that it produces a chaotic reading experience. Chaos does not imply a lack of pattern, but rather, it refers to the way each reading/viewing choice can generate a new reading/viewing experience, creating a kind of butterfly effect. Whereas chreods seem to imply a determined pathway, the reader/ viewer chooses her constraints. The aim of this paper is thus to explore what Strickland and Lawson Jaramillo call “Reading chreods,” that is, how “like the silent reading of poetry” it gives “rise to unspoken but experienced spaces of various transversions.” (