A responsive textabation #1
Author as object. Author writing under the influence [cultural, historical, social, etc]

I’ve a need to re-enter my blogging practice. In this case I shall simply dump a responsive reading assignment. The task at hand was to pull a quote from the text, explain how it functioned in the author’s argument and to give a tad of context.

TEXT #1 Roland Barthe “The death of the author”

literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.-Barthes (pg 2)

This quote functions however I damn well read it since I now occupy the privileged space of meaning maker becoming the texts defining author. Perhaps I exaggerate a tad, nonetheless, I consume the text into my here and now. This consumption, this mulling over, this reading, builds a mechanism in which I layer a multiplicity of understandings derived simply from my own shifting dominion of self, context, and language overlaid upon his string of words. Barthe who penned the quote experienced his own detachment, death, in its writing. He was buried under language’s power to perform independently of him. The author and his intent is but a residual fragment, “a gesture forever anterior”, an assemblage of pre-exisiting signs, a “void process” locked in cultural histories distant from my own. As reader author, I choose to hunt for Barthe and his residual “readymade” of meaning and only in this choice may a “remote imitation” of his intent reenter the text. My own textabation now ransoms me not as meaning maker but as obsolete. These strings of text I thumb out are no longer able to act upon my here and now, my reality. As you birth its meaning, I am lost.
TEXT #2 Sally MacArthur. Towards A Twenty-First Century Feminist Politics of Music. “How is the Composer Composed?”

…use the matrix…they are told…they are told…fed…a diet…tossed with a hefty dose…to…condition…upon some…system, which had to be justifiable…progress…derived from…prompting…doctrine…dominance of…being indoctrinated…in the…endless reproduc[ion]…of…training…locked into static conventions…the…repetitive…the…narrow…the…deterministic…the…normative…
access…is buttressed…by privilege…reinforce(ing)…status…and the dominant…produces the composer; and the composer produces the dominant…endlessly…ignor(ing)…the…creator…as…enclosed…in…a… homogenized…system.
The new…the autonomous…is oblivious…and forges…necessity…in..elitist and hierarchical…to avoid risk…to seek…safety and predictability…new…is replicating itself…ceasing to become…removing the possibility…of trajectories of…unfolding.– Sally Macarthur (pgs 41-45)

This assembled fragmented quote of sequentially pulled keywords condenses the author’s descriptor of the current conditions and conditioning of the “high brow” artist as a result of their emersion in the academy. She argues that the academy’s ongoing rejection of relatively current “isms” reshaping our understanding of creation, construction of meaning and its intersection with authorship, has impeded the institutions capacity to train artists to be truly innovative. Pinpointing weaknesses in poststructural and postmodern approaches that remain strongly binary, she outlines excuses for the academy to brush them aside – Barthes’ death of the author that privileges the reader, Foucault’s sidestep of meaning, Grosz’ remnant male/female, author/text attachment to positive/negative constructs. Macarthur proposes that striping the composer from under the privileged label of the rational, all-knowing, author and promoting the composer instead as one to be “continuously…under construction” will allow an unfolding of alternatives within the “high-brow subsector” of art music. Using poststructuralist notions of the dissassemblage of the author, she looks specifically to Deleuze’s “machinic (re)assemblage” for a metaphor and method. Unfortunately she fails to logically link the machinic assemblage to her well-crafted pedagogical closing example, a shame because her example is a fine alternative practice to compose the composer for innovation.

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