Collecting a few quick thoughts, ideas and references, starting with a ‘sign’ above a ‘door’…
During a Minecraft ‘virtual models’ discussion session, I noticed that a player had placed a sign above a door. It read ‘this is not a door‘. Asking why he had placed this particular sign here the player, <Castaway112>, simply insisted, ‘because it’s not a door’. Another player, <yoloface23jr>, repeated this assertion and, after my own comment that ‘so, everything is not always as it seems in Minecraft…’, we moved on elsewhere in the game and in our discussion. I wish I had pursued the issue further, but I didn’t.
Here, months later, returning to this screenshot of door (the ‘not-a-door’ door) provides me a ‘way in’ to thinking about representation. Recalling this sign now I am reminded of this image by Rene Magritte called ‘The Treachery of Images’.
Of course (of course?) it’s not a pipe – it’s a picture of a pipe; a representation. Similarly, <Castaway112>’s door ‘n’est pas une porte‘; a number of other possible (imagined) responses could be…
“It’s not a door, it’s a picture of a door.”
“It’s not a door, it’s a Minecraft door.”
“It’s not a door, it’s pixels on a screen.”
“It’s not a door, it’s a sign.”
“It’s not a door, it’s some writing about a ‘not-a-door.”
Each of these possible answers return to the idea of representation, albeit from different directions (I’m resisting saying ‘layers’ as layers don’t feel very rhizomic). Throughout this project I have considered issues of representation; how I am representing the lived experience of others, how different ways of collecting and representing data have implications and, specifically, how comic strip transcription can represent a scene differently to a textual transcript.
Deleuze and Guattari’s (1980) rhizome as an ‘image of thought’ has underpinned my thinking, itself a representation of a way of thinking about stuff (and one which includes itself). This has led me to, increasingly, exploring and representing my own thinking visually. For instance, in the following panel from a longer comic strip I use text and images to explain the idea of approaching the club’s soundscape as a rhizome, as an alternative to pursuing a more linear, chronological reading (or ‘listening’). Nick Sousanis’ ‘Unflattening’ (2015), which challenges ‘the primacy of words over images’, helped me to consider using images to explore metaphors of thought.
Also in relation to the the soundscape of the club and considering the challenges of representing (and, in particular, visualising) sound, I have producing a number of visual representations (or non-cartographic, composite maps) of the club’s sound, drawing on John Cage’s (1969) anthology of unconventional music manuscripts.
Here I was also recently inspired by Jon Dean’s recent presentation which included his representation of a particular soundscape, performed simultaneously verbally and through composite sound. I must also credit Diane A Rodger’s recent talk on underground comic strips as part of #focussheffield – in particular her drawing of ‘Rivelin Valley’ in Sheffield helped me to consider how a drawn composite image of a place can effectively represent a location in a particular way.
— Chris Bailey (@mrchrisjbailey) January 28, 2016
So, what is this door that’s not a door? It’s likely that I will never fully know what it represented for the player. But for me? I suggested at the beginning of this post that it was a way in: an introduction. But equally it could provide a way out: a conclusion. Whatever it is, for me, at this point, it definitely represents the challenge of representation.
Cage, J. (1969) ‘Notations’ Something Else Press, New York.
Dean, J. (2015) “Submitting Love?” A Sensory Sociology of Southbourne. Qualitative Inquiry. 1-7.
Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1980) A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia
Magritte, . R (1929) ‘The Treachery of Images’: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images
Rogers, D. A, Blog here: https://missytassles.wordpress.com/
Sousanis, N. (1995) ‘Unflattening’. Harvard University Press, London.