Sunday, 18 February 2007

The Roots of Writing



(from Dene Grigar's course blog on 'Language, Text and Technology')

This image of a horse, from the Caves of Lascaux located in Southern France, is believed to have been created around 1400 BCE. The caves are filled with such images. Some scholars argue that the images represent pictorial stories of hunting expeditions humans undertook. Others argue that they represent rituals humans engaged in to guarantee successful hunts. The truth be told, the silence of the images tells us little. Hence, when we think about the notion that texts speak, we are more apt to think about texts whose writing technologies offer more exacting information.

Below are images of various writing technologies or artifacts that recall them.


Boustrophedon
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/boustrophedon.jpg

Communication Models
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/communication_model.jpg

Cuneiform
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/cuneiform_details.jpg
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/cuneiform.jpg

Hieroglyphics
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/hieroglyphics.jpg

Mayan Hieroglyphics
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/mayan_hieroglyphs.jpg

Phaistos Disk
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/phaistos_disk.jpg

Rosetta Stone
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/rosetta_stone.jpg

Stoichedon
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/stoichedon.jpg

Printer's Mark
http://www.nouspace.net/dene/5273/printers_mark.jpg

---------------------

Essential readings:

The Muse Learns to Write: Reflections on Orality and Literacy from Antiquity to the Present
By Eric A. Havelock
Yale UP, 1988, Paper $17.00
ISBN: 0300043821

The History of Writing
By Steven Roger Fischer
Reaktion Books, 2003, Paper, £9.95
ISBN: 978 1 861 89167 9

Writing Machines
By N. Katherine Hayles
The MIT Press, 2002, Paper, $19.95
ISBN: 0-262-58215-5

Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art, Technology, and Consciousness
Edited and with an Essay by Edward A. Shanken
By Roy Ascott
University of California Press, 2003
Downloadable eBook version available:
Adobe E-Reader at ebooks.com, $15.95

2 comments:

Stefjourdan said...

"This image of a horse, from the Caves of Lascaux located in Southern France, is believed to have been created around 1400 BCE." Check your date, mate !

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