Clarification and Confusion in Hodge

Posted in seminar, blog.

“Reactivating Exteriority” is a pretty fantastic summary of many of the works and themes that we have been dealing with so far, as Hassan points out. That much is pretty undeniable.

That being said, I’m having some difficulty parsing a few aspects of this piece. I can recognize that it’s pretty brilliant, but nevertheless it’s kind of losing me on a few aspects.

First and foremost, I’m pretty confused as to what, in Hodge’s view, distinguishes “language” from “writing”, and why that descriptor is so important to the stakes of code as an artform. I guess from the point where I’m looking at the issue, one term or the other doesn’t exactly have any embedded value judgements, so the distinction is proving kind of hard to place.

This is kind of an addendum to my first point, but I’m also having difficulty figuring out who Hodge is claiming believes in each definition of the code. I know he’s claiming that Kittler views the code as writing, and Galloway/Hayles don’t, but why do they agree with Kittler? And a little bit later on, Hodge is saying that Hayles is claiming that code is writing? I can’t follow it.

This piece, despite its apparent quality and helpful-as-fuck aspects, is a pretty difficult read in terms of clarity, at least for me. Now, outside of the text, I imagine that this could be due to a couple of interfering factors: as of the writing of this blog entry, I’m kind of exhausted (just getting over a cold), and I guess I’m better at analyzing texts that are closer to primary-source (this is just a matter of personal preference). Nevertheless, the Hodge is pretty damn fun to read despite all this little bit of personal difficulty, which is a pretty positive statement to the quality of it. I’m gonna reread this tomorrow and see what I make of it then, and I’m really anticipating the class discussion of it. Should be fun.