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TagGing Wyrd

Page history last edited by ShareRiff 2 years, 11 months ago

 

Tag Mantras

 

 

Background

 

 

In multimedia (and therefore discontinuous) ecologies of information, strategies of tagging and emergent classification schemes known as folksonomies have evolved to form patterns amidst the parataxis. By dividing a sprawling wiki with tags of different kinds, composers compress information by tagging it into a single term, such as mantra. Like mantra, tags often simplify and compress information in ways often explicitly devoid of meaning.

 

 

Central Theme/Questions

 

 

Tagging foregrounds one's assumptions--front-loading premises becomes a necessary trial and error of miscue and synchronization. Cyberneticist Gregory Bateson insisted on "the articulate statement of presuppositions so that they may be improved" ( Mind and Nature 24). How can writing teachers, as providers of rhetorical training, provide space for the experimental and experiential rhetorical performances essential to writing in tagging communities? The process of tuning articulate statements in these contexts necessitates a repetitious method of revision in open, adaptive space.

What can the expanded rhetorical practice of tagging learn from traditional mantric practice?

 

Method

 

 

This presentation surveys the oldest rhetorical form built on repetitio, the mantra, and considers the ways that tagging also functions to compress information, and make it repeatable--and therefore sharable. At the same time, because tagging creates a discontinuous rhetorical context, it creates more opportunities for interruption, and therefore, as writers' presuppositions, definitions, and values resonate and create interference patterns at a high frequency, more affect. The rich harmonics and affective penumbra produced by mantric formula such as AUM opens up more than words can say, semantically speaking. The repetitions of tagging also amplify the asignficatory dimensions of experience, especially when writers attempt to "unpack" the sense and meaning bundled tightly in a tag. The resulting "irrational," affective experience provokes our deepest feelings, makes it necessary and possible to resonate with others, and calls out for rhythm. Wiki can be mapped or thought as a visual and spatial analogue to sonic noise and the rhythms we project into sonic complexity. Therefore, this presentation will also report on composition classroom tagging experiments in wiki to illustrate the ways that tagging, like mantric practice, enjoins both order and disorder.

 

Conclusions

 

 

In tagging communities, rhetors find new combinations and transformations in the spaces between repetitious tags, presenting writers with ample and ongoing opportunity to articulate and tune statements of presupposition. When applied to these attention economies, cybernetic formulations of perception and difference echo Aristotle's classic definition of rhetoric, as when Bateson explains how "...perception operates only upon difference. All receipt of information is necessarily the receipt of news of difference, and all perception of difference is limited by a threshold...knowledge at any given moment will be a function of the thresholds of our available means of perception" ( Mind and Nature 26). As rhetorical practice expands in the digital commons to include tagging practices, the rhetorical canon of memory must expand to include practices of attention management, such as mantra.

 

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