week 1 readings:

The Upright Script: Words in Space and on the Page

  • Ara Shirinyan’s Your Country is Great: Afghanistan–Guyana (New York: Futurepoem, 2008)
    • "knowledge and love of Afghanistan is great even as he regrets the limits of his understanding"
    • This emptiness is clearest in the poems “Burkina Faso is Great,” “Central African Republic is Great,” and “Equatorial Guinea is Great,” each of which contains only a title on a blank page. As Shirinyan notes in his preface, “no one who could write in English and had access to the web thought to say anything great about those countries” in September 2006 when he conducted his searches.
  • Index for X and the Origin of Fires
    • The images continue to refresh, each remaining on screen just long enough to catch the reader’s eye before disappearing, while the text remains onscreen until the next click of the mouse.

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing

World map of

  • Between 2013 and 2014, von Petzinger visited 52 caves in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
    • The symbols she found ranged from dots, lines, triangles, squares and zigzags to more complex forms like ladder shapes, hand stencils, something called a tectiform that looks a bit like a post with a roof, and feather shapes called penniforms.
    • In some places, the signs were part of bigger paintings.
  • “Consistent doodles”
    • "The ability of humans to produce a system of signs..."