How to do things with words


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A lecture exploring the phrase 'how to do things with words'. Full of creative ideas and theoretical perspectives the presentation aims to provide a platform from which people can think about their own creative or art writing. James Clegg

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  • Criticism is the general term or idea that motivates my writing. Whether fictions, academic papers or reviews I try to form a commentary on pre-existing ideas. I do not perceive of criticism having a set of specific outcomes but equate it with a Bergsonian idea of creativity. Rather than see creativity as some special skill you might learn at art college that you either possess or don’t possess Henri Bergson felt that every thing was characterised by it’s ability to displace things and therefore ‘create’ a new series of relationships.
  • To further illustrate.
  • ‘The use of the "other" for self-critique and the construction of alternative subject-positions within the British context is also explored by feminist postcolonial critics like GayatriSpivak and Jenny Sharpe. These critics analyze the relationship between colonial ideology and the growth of British feminism in Victorian England evident in the works of writers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Brönte.’ -
  • ‘The use of the "other" for self-critique and the construction of alternative subject-positions within the British context is also explored by feminist postcolonial critics like GayatriSpivak and Jenny Sharpe. These critics analyze the relationship between colonial ideology and the growth of British feminism in Victorian England evident in the works of writers like Jane Austen and Charlotte Brönte.’ -
  • “The fact that what is anonymous is not only susceptible to becoming the subject matter of art but also conveys a specific beauty is an exclusive characteristic of the aesthetic regime of the arts. Not only did the aesthetic regime begin well before the arts of mechanical reproduction, but it is actually this regime that made them possible by its new way of thinking art and its subject matter.” p 32.
  • How to do things with words

    1. 1. how to do things with words<br />
    2. 2. how to do things with words<br />
    3. 3. “This is not a lecture”<br />
    4. 4. Criticism and Embarrassment<br />
    5. 5. A picture of toothpaste to illustrate the ideas of Henri Bergson<br />
    6. 6. Why jump out of windows and hide in cupboards, or, why do a writing for free?<br />The economic requirements of particular forms of writing place constraints on what you can say or produce?<br />You might test ideas that could be reapplied in different circumstances where they may be remunerated?<br />You have a capital of ideas that can be charitably distributed?<br />
    7. 7. Some forms encountered in the stream<br />Sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’<br />General discussion on the connotations of ‘how to do things with words’.<br />Collected lineage of ideas connected to J.L Autin’s “HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS”. <br />
    8. 8. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’:bringing 2 things together<br />Where does inspiration come from?<br />I think that a lot of people who perhaps don’t work in the creative industries misunderstand the imagination. A lot of it is just combinatorial, it’s almost very banal like a computation. Creative people are often mixing things that other people think at odds or strange. <br />
    9. 9. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’:bringing 2 things together<br />
    10. 10. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’:Jane Austin and Dr Dre?<br />
    11. 11. Gender<br />Free indirect style<br />Morality<br />Social Status<br />Colonialism<br />
    12. 12. Gender<br />Masculinity, Chauvinism<br />Free indirect style<br />Morality<br />Ganster Rap<br />Re-recording over sampling<br />Criminality<br />Social Status<br />Celebrity<br />Colonialism<br />Racial Divisions in Mulicultural America<br />
    13. 13. Tricia Rose<br />There's a long history of a particular pleasure in consuming the ideas of black-ghetto-excess dysfunction. It used to not be ghettoized in setting because black people weren't always urban people, but the same images can be found in American history for centuries. So this idea that a certain kind of sexual deviance or violent behavior defines black culture has had a huge market in commercial mainstream culture for at least 200 years. Also, sexist images, which hip-hop has a lot of, seem to do very well across the cultural spectrum. So sexuality and sexual domination sell. Racial stereotypes sell. The market is more consolidated, which makes it easier for those images to perpetuate themselves.Read more:,8599,1866048,00.html#ixzz1IUobQIQx<br />
    14. 14.
    15. 15. General discussion on the connotations of ‘how to do things with words’.<br />HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS<br />
    16. 16. Possible titles of books or chapters<br />How to do things with wood<br />How to do things with lego<br />How to do things with a rubber glove, a bucket of hot soapy water and a Lionel Richie CD.<br />Quilting chapter 6: How to do things with Words <br />
    17. 17. Material words<br />Robert Smithson (1966) A Heap of Language<br />
    18. 18. Sites and non-sites: homage to Robert Smithson<br />Nonsite (Franklin, New Jersey) (1968) <br />
    19. 19. Cut ups and the Moonage Daydream<br />
    20. 20. Words my son likes<br />Oliver Jeffers (2006) The Incrediable Book Eating Boy<br />
    21. 21.
    22. 22. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’: Write between sentences<br />
    23. 23. Les lettres du blancsur les bandes du vieuxbillard....<br />[The white letters on the cushions of the old billiard table...]<br />Les lettres du blancsur les bandes du vieuxpillard...<br />[The white man’s letters on the hordes of the old plunderer]<br />
    24. 24. Oulipo (Ouvoir de litteraturepotentielle [workshop of potential literature])<br />
    25. 25. Props and writing as role playing<br />
    26. 26. Belief & TechniqueFor Modern Proseby Jack Kerouac<br />List of Essentials<br />Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy <br />Submissive to everything, open, listening <br />Try never get drunk outside yr own house <br />Be in love with yr life <br />Something that you feel will find its own form <br />Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind <br />Blow as deep as you want to blow <br />Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind <br />The unspeakable visions of the individual <br />No time for poetry but exactly what is <br />Visionary tics shivering in the chest <br />In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you<br />Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition <br />Like Proust be an old teahead of time <br />Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog <br />The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye <br />Write in recollection and amazement for yourself <br />Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea <br />Accept loss forever <br />Believe in the holy contour of life <br />Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind <br />Dont think of words when you stop but to see the picture better <br />Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning <br />No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge <br />Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it <br />Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form <br />In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness <br />Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better <br />You're a Genius all the time <br />Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven <br />
    27. 27. General discussion on the connotations of ‘how to do things with words’.<br />HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS<br />
    28. 28. The insides and outsides of the language we use<br />‘When philosophers use a word – “knowledge”, “being”, “object”, “I”, “proposition”, “name” – and try to grasp the essence of the thing, one must always ask oneself: is the word ever actually used in this way in the language which is its original home?<br />What we do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.’<br />Wittgenstein – Philosophical Investigations<br />
    29. 29. Everyday life wor(l)ds<br />Michel De Certeau (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life<br />
    30. 30. A lot of everyday life wor(l)ds<br />“In the accidental ways of being a foreigner away from home (like any traveller or keeper of records) Wittgenstein sees the metaphors of foreign procedures inside the very language that circumscribes them. ‘When we do philosophy [...] we are like savages, primitive people, who hear the expressions of civilised men, put a false interpretation on them, and then draw the queerest conclusions from it.’ This is no longer the position of professionals, supposed to be civilized men among savages; it is rather the position which consists in being a foreigner at home, a ‘savage’ in the midst of ordinary culture, lost in the complexity of the common agreement and what goes without saying. And since one does not leave this language, since one cannot find another place from which to interpret it, since there are no separate groups of false interpretations and true interpretations, but only illusory interpretations, since in short there is no way out, the fact remains that we are foreigners on the inside – but there is no outside.”<br />
    31. 31. Enter the distribution of the sensible<br />Joseph NicéphoreNiépce (1826) View from the Window at Le Gras<br />
    32. 32. In order for the mechanical arts to be able to confer visibility on the masses, or rather on anonymous individuals, they first need to be recognised as art. That is to say that they first need to be put into practice as something other than techniques of reproduction and transmission...<br />
    33. 33. “For his subject Flaubert took the unheroic, mediocre, provincial, everyday heart of petit bourgeois village life. He listened intently to the language of his class. He mimicked unerringly the pompous rhythms of paternal cliché as they sounded benignly from the lips of the doctor, the lawyer, the journalist and the priest... He kept a scrap-book, entitled The Dictionary of Received Ideas, in which he collected and classified the choicest specimens.”<br />(Wall 2003 [1992], p.xviii)<br />(1856)<br />
    34. 34. Collected lineage of ideas connected to J.L Autin’s “HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS”.<br />
    35. 35. how to do things with words<br />
    36. 36. how to do things with words<br />
    37. 37. how to do things with words<br />
    38. 38. JL Austin<br />
    39. 39. “a performative utterance will [...] be in a peculiar way hollow or void if said by an actor on the stage, or if introduced in a poem, or spoken in soliloquy.”<br />Austin<br />
    40. 40. J L Austin (1955) How to do Things with Words<br />
    41. 41. Communication, Lack of<br />Derrida (1972) Signature Event Context<br />
    42. 42.
    43. 43. Close reading Austin’s work<br />Derrida (1972) Signature Event Context<br />
    44. 44. Iteration, Or, the footprint of form against the strides of life<br />
    45. 45. Catherine Hayles (1994) Deciphering the rules of unruly disciplines: A modest proposal for literature and science<br />Someone else’s strides…<br />
    46. 46. Philosopher John Searle’s response to Derrida<br />Reiterating the Differences:<br />He defended Austin by saying that it was right that Austin focus on ‘serious’ speech over ‘fiction’ because ‘serious’ speech is ‘normal’ and not ‘parasitic’.<br />For Searle, “to the extent that the author says what he means the text is the expression of his intentions” and “The situation as regards intentionality is exactly the same for the written word as it is for the spoken: understanding the utterance consists in recognizing the illocutionary intentions of the author and these intentions may be more or less perfectly realized by the words uttered, whether written or spoken” (p. 202)<br />
    47. 47. “...the speaker and hearers are masters of the sets of rules we call language...” <br />(Searle, Reiterating the Differences) <br />
    48. 48. “ Consider [Searle’s] assertion that it is self-evident one should consider the standard case before taking up the deviant or parasitical instance. The assumptions embodied in the assertion are mirrored in the language he uses to locate his reading of Derrida. Confessing that he ‘did not find [Derrida’s] arguments very clear’, he says that he ‘will not attempt to deal with all or even many of the points [Derrida] raises’, concentrating on those ‘that seen to me to [be] the most important and especially on those where I disagree with his conclusions’. The language implies a privileging of centre over periphery, clarity over obscurity, concentration over dissemination, importance over frivolity...” Hayles<br />
    49. 49. “ “ “Copywright © 1977 by John R. Searle”””<br />
    50. 50. “ReiteratingDifferences: A reply to Derrida¹”<br />“1) Thanks to H Dreyfus and D. Searle for discussion in these matters.” <br />Derrida: Limited Inc A B C<br />
    51. 51. Derrida concludes that the text must be owned by a ‘Copyright Trust’. In French this is “Société à reponsabilitélimitée”. Playing on words Derrida shortens this to Sarl.<br />
    52. 52. The “Publicity [Derrida’s] ideas have attracted have only deepened the tragedy: The bad influence of those he has himself influenced has added frivolity to the obscurity; the ridiculous, indeed despicable response to John Searle’s criticism of his views is a characteristic production of recent years” <br />Raymond Tallis<br />
    53. 53. “Many philosophers who take issue with Derrida’s style fail to understand that if he argued using the discourse conventions exemplified in Searle’s essay, he would lose the game before he began, for the conventions presuppose precisely what he wants to challenge.” (Hayles , p. 44)<br />
    54. 54.
    55. 55. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’: time travel, Or, form is content<br />theory about the causality of a plot<br />
    56. 56.
    57. 57. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’: time travel, Or, form is content<br />
    58. 58. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’: time travel, Or, form is content<br />theory about the causality of a plot in novels with a time machine<br />
    59. 59.
    60. 60.
    61. 61.
    62. 62.
    63. 63.
    64. 64. Beyond deconstruction<br />
    65. 65. Realism after Derrida<br />“Don’t believe all that crap about being limited to one’s perspective. All of the sciences have been inventing ways to move from one standpoint to the next, from one frame of reference to the next, for God’s sake: that’s called relativity.”<br />Bruno Latour as ‘The Professor’ (2007) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory<br />
    66. 66. Realism after Derrida<br />“... no amount of methodology will ever bring a text closer to the distant setting about which it writes, no amount of ignorance of deconstruction will take a text farther away from it either.”<br />Latour, B. (1988) The Politics of Explanation<br />
    67. 67. Applying the breaks to deconstruction<br />“Readers seem to be much more devious, much harder to take in, much cleverer at deconstruction, much faster in fiction-making than is assumed by those writers who, with some arrogance, believe that others believe. Here, too, ‘we need to play down the exoticism of the other'. Scientific texts prepare themselves against a much more likely outcome: that of nor being believed by their readers, or worse, that of not interesting anyone.” <br />Bruno Latour (1988) The Politics of Explanation<br />
    68. 68. how to do things with wordsactor network style<br />
    69. 69. sketchbook ideas for ‘creative writing’: make a mess and clean it up<br />
    70. 70. how to do things with words<br />You cannot summarise what can be done with words without falling into the conceit outlined by Wittgenstein, without creating a distance between your self and the words spoken. <br />Try to recuperate the ambiguity of an exhibition from the inside.<br />What you can and cannot talk about in certain places ‘officially’ or ‘unofficially’ is constrained by the distribution of the sensible. The more you understand this or explore it the more you might contribute to it’s shifts.<br />Con(text)tent. <br />Trying to describe ‘reality’ can be more complex, messy and fragmented as meta-fiction.<br />
    71. 71.
    72. 72.
    73. 73.
    74. 74.
    75. 75.
    76. 76.
    77. 77. how<br />