The Poetics of Re-use

A discussion space and materials base for the reading/talk, "The Poetics of Re-use," with Brian Howe and Buck Downs, as part of the In Your Ear reading series, curated by Adam Good and Cathy Eisenhower.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Buck's Hopper

One of my favorite things about Buck's "Hopper," the massive document/management system into which he periodically downloads(uploads?) his collected writing fragments, is its interplay with the text of the context of its production:

Buck's Hopper
(more hopper photos)

This is page 82 (of 147) of the section of the Hopper that Buck gave me. On the right is a page of Hopper text, containing fragments of text from Buck's collection. On the left is a page from a paper called "The Names Game: Using Inventors Patent Data in Economic Research," one of the many documents he has (re)used to print out this section of the Hopper. Other documents include a Joel on Software article about guerilla interviewing practices, research on survey software, and functional specs for a web database project.
I'm not sure if Buck intentionally chose certain documents to re-use, but what fascinates me in any recombinant reading through(in) the Hopper is that one's attention can constantly jump between phrases from both context and text, living in a space where any fragment exerts a pull on its immediate neighbors (in the neighborhood of attention, that is), giving rise to strange local meanings. Elements of both text and context as strange attractors...
That so many of the re-used texts speak about various processes (for managing information, accomplishing techincal tasks, finding the best software fit for a given need) only increases the delicious play occuring with/in...

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