Monday, 29 October 2007

New Readers

"Not everything in print is to be read in a traditional way; there are new modes of reading which correspond to new modes of writing." Emile Benveniste

"It is my belief that, long before the constituencies of the graphic novel have finished arguing among themselves, the stragegies that have been devised for long-range pictoral reading will contribute significantly to an emerging new literature of our times in which word, picture and typogrpahy interact meaningfully and which is in tune with the complexity of modern life with its babble of signs and symbols and stimuli." Eddie Campbell (World Literature Today, March-April 07: 13)

Deborah Adelaide put me onto Nabokov's essays on literature, in particular an introductory essay called 'Good Readers and Good Writers'. I've been putting off dealing with the issue of the 'contract' between writer and reader for a while, but I have to start dealing with it as I write up my main book reviews. One of the most interesting aspects of this topic – for designers – is the parallels between the process of writing and the process of designing: the way a writer uses literary devices to direct the reader's experience is a useful model for designers to use when thinking about the way they use their 'devices' to direct the viewer experience. Again, back to an idea raised in Kate Sweetapple's PhD thesis.

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