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Shelly Jackson March 4, 2009

Posted by smike97k in cyborgs.
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Seeing Shelly Jackson speak this last week really helped me to “sew” the pieces of her Patchwork Girl together. I haven’t seen many authors speak about one of their pieces that I have not studied some myself. I really enjoyed hearing her voice reading it because it almost gave more life to the characters. She also helped me to understand how to navigate the hyper text better so that I could get as much of the story as possible. I realized how little of the story that I had gone through, and even though it turns out I read very little of the story, unintentionally, I still feel like I got a lot of information of the story line, which shows how advanced and intricate this piece really is. Jackson said that the “text is shaped by choices” of the readers, and it is the reader, like Mary Shelly, who helps to bring Patchwork Girl to life, in different ways depending on who is reading it from what angle and perspective.

There were a couple of points that Jackson made that really stood out to me concerning the topics of time and the life of words. She said that “all looking is looking into the past.” Even though I was aware that when an image enters the eye it takes a split second to reach the brain, meaning that we comprehend that image in the past, technically speaking, I didn’t fully comprehend this scientific fact in terms of the concepts of past and present. If this transfer of image takes place with a time laps, no matter how small, is there such a thing as the present, or does only the past exist? I know this is being very technical but it is an interesting question to think about. Jackson also talked about the life of words. She said that with words “we recycle voices of the dead.” I thought that this was a fascinating idea. All words have been spoken. Therefore each time anyone speaks, they are speaking words that have had previous lives. Giving life to words is an interesting concept to me. Words, whether written, signed, or spoken, depend on our lives to live, therefore do we depend on their lives to live? Confusing and maybe a little too philosophical, but interesting.

I really liked her new project “My Skin.” I like how she combined the concepts of words and bodies to create a story. She made the point that “context alters the simplest words.” This was interesting to see as she showed us the slideshow of tattoos on participant’s skin. Not all were clear in context but some of the words were extremely influenced by the body part they were on. These words were given a different life that those spoken or on paper, as they were directly connected to the body. This was just another way she portrayed the life of words.


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