The first page of this week’s entry by David Shields had me a little bamboozled. I was asking myself: what is this? how do I read it? and, well, why is it set out this way?
However, by the end I realised that Shields had purposefully written the piece in a ‘mosaic fashion’, which was in fact the main focus of the reading. I came to really like how it was arranged because even though the paragraphs/sentences were ordered (signified by the sequential numbers heading each of the segments), each part could be read and understood independently of the rest of the writing. Even though it was not ‘multilinear’ like hypertext (in fact Shields calls it ‘nonlinear’), the article still had the same sort of feel to it, as the text was fragmented into shorter ‘stand-alone’ segments.
In comparison to most of the readings for uni, this one was seemingly easier to read. Generally readings are rather long and in order to progress through the pieces you must understand the first part so that you can understand the next ones. Thus, I often find I am overwhelmed by the amount of information I have to take in and am constantly re-reading segments of the text. Shields’ ‘collage’-style of writing, although fragmented, still had a flow to it and so I finished reading the entry in quite a short amount of time, feeling like I had understood the majority of what had been said. I couldn’t help but think that this could be the future form of writing as it would gratify the short attention spans of people today.
The most interesting part of the reading for me, was that Shields talked about the concept that ‘the relationship between the parts is more important than the parts themselves’ with regards to Soviet montage filmmakers, something I had surprisingly picked up on in one of my first blog entries. He notes the similarities between mosaic, collage and montage, saying that meaning ‘is a matter of adjacent data’. In film, this idea relates to the relationship between shots because ‘meaning is not inherent in any one shot but is created by the juxtaposition of shots’. Ultimately the main question that collage/mosaic/montage artists face is that they’ve ‘found some interesting material – [now] how do [they] go about arranging it?’