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Michael  Meeder   ENG  500:  Research  Methods   November  1,  2010  

Such disruption can be destructive, but creativity can also occur at the edge of chaos… M ark C. Taylor   Introduction:  Diving  into  Complexity    

With  recent  advances  in  communication  technologies  that  have  given  rise  to  new  

affordances  of  connection,  our  current  cultural  situation—or  the  contemporary  “network   space”  we  find  ourselves  negotiating—is  a  marked  shift  from  the  past,  and  this  implicates   the  need  for  a  new  model  of  rhetoric  that  is  culturally-­‐aware,  adaptive,  and  consequently,   quite  complex.    The  emerging  affordances  from  truly  communicative  mediums  such  as  the   Internet,  as  opposed  to  previous  one-­‐way  transmission  models  like  television  and  radio,   help  unveil  the  networked  complexities  of  our  social  world,  making  visible  the  intricacies   and  interconnectedness  of  everything  in  our  universe  as  a  complex  adaptive  system   (Manovich).    A  shift  in  focus  from  the  “casual  forces  at  work  on  individual  elements  to  the   behavior  of  the  system  as  a  whole”  has  been  happily  taken  up  by  the  sciences.    Rhetoric  as   well  as  composition  studies  can  be  included  too,  as  long  as  we  can  all  shift  our  paradigm— together.       As  complexity  theory  deals  with  the  “language  of  dynamic  systems”  (Lansing  189),  it   is  reassuring  to  find  some  new  scholarship  from  the  field  of  rhetoric  and  composition   deliberating  and  adapting  the  models  of  classical  rhetoric  to  this  emerging  “post-­‐human”  


landscape.1    Cutting-­‐edge  works  from  a  handful  of  rhetorical  scholars  have  tackled  “the  role   of  technology  in  redefining  rhetoric,  writing,  and  ‘the  human’”  (Worsham  and  Olson  ix).    As   the  topic  has  provoked  such  reexamination  of  rhetorical  theory,  new  pedagogies  for   teaching  writing  in  a  cybernetic  world  as  well  as  new  ways  of  thinking  about  the  emergence   of  public  ideas  are  some  of  the  more  promising  outcomes.      Below  I  will  briefly  address  the   exigency  of  a  complex,  network  rhetorical  theory.    I  will  review  literature  from  rhetorical   scholars  who  have  tipped  their  hat  towards  technology  and  those  who  have  written  the   books  on  complexity  theory.    My  research  accounts  for  a  newly  emerging  theory  of  rhetoric   based  on  this  theory  of  complexity  and  network  space,  amounting  to  a  series  of  polarities   initiated  by  Mark  C.  Taylor  and  Byron  Hawk.    From  there,  I  seek  to  instantiate  this  emerging   theory’s  most  salient  and  rhetorical  elements  through  the  visual  art  I  found,  simply,  on  my   wanderings  about  my  own  strange  loops  on  the  Internet—and  therefore  my  process  of   finding  the  art  will  be  implicated,  as  well  as  the  sites  (networks)  traversed.       Review  of  Literature   Part  I  -­‐  Problem   “The  desire  for  simplicity  has  haunted  rhetoric  and  composition  for  most  of  its   history,  from  stock  forms  for  producing  oral  speeches  in  ancient  times  to  simple  processes   for  the  production  of  written  texts  in  contemporary  times”  begins  Byron  Hawk  at  the   opening  of  “Toward  a  Rhetoric  of  Network  Culture:  notes  on  polarities  and  potentiality”   (2008).    An  historian  of  composition  himself,  he  admits  that  rhetoric  and  composition  have   been  seeking  the  most  refined,  simplest  explanations  on  how  to  compose.    “On  the  one  hand,   expressivists  responded  to  writing’s  complexity  by  abandoning  system  altogether.    On  the   other,  rhetoricians  of  various  stripes  have  tried  to  produce  simple  systems  that  make  

                                                                                                                1  This  term  does  not  entail  the  end  of  humanity  and  will  be  dealt  with  in  the  below.     Taken  out  of  context,  it  seems  frightening,  as  do  computers  to  compositionists.  


writing  teachable”  (145).    Hawk  finds  value  instead  with  the  backbone  of  Mark  C.  Taylor,   having  penned  a  clearly  understandable,  non-­‐schizophrenic  work  called  The  Moment  of   Complexity:  Emerging  network  culture.       While  it  is  not  my  intention  to  retrace  the  history  of  composition  here,  I  will   summarize  by  saying  the  “general  model”  precedes  any  notions  of  complex  adaptive   systems  as  an  integrative  approach  to  rethinking  rhetorical  theory  and  praxis.    However,  if   we  look  to  art,  as  does  Manovich  (“What  is  Visualization?”),  we  see  that  a  notion  of   complexity  goes  as  far  back  as  the  late  19th  century.    The  strain  continues  to  the  present  day,   evoked  in  the  systems  movement  especially,  and  now  with  the  affordance  of  computers,  a   digitally,  data-­‐driven  form  of  art  has  emerged.    I  am  getting  ahead  of  myself  here,  so  I  shall   return  to  my  discussion  of  systemic  art  and  visualization  in  my  methodology.    However,  one   figure  remains  salient  and  that  is  the  triange.    Hawk  invokes  the  image  of  the  “triangle   model”  repeatedly  when  choosing  to  elucidate  a  division  between  older,  outdated  theories,   and  the  complexity  of  emerging  notions  of  networks  and  media.    The  symbol  of  the  triangle   (borrowed  from  communication  studies)  refers  to  a  static  non-­‐complex  system  that  is  over-­‐ simplified  (and  yet  horribly  confusing  when  graphed).    The  triangle  asks:  Are   rhetoricians/compositionists  stuck  in  a  paradigm?    At  a  time  when  such  provocative  work   dealing  with  networked  and  multimodal  compositional  practices  is  being  theorized  and   written  about  by  authors  like  David  Sheridan,  Jim  Ridolfo,  Anthony  Michel,  Kristie  S.   Fleckenstein,  Barbara  A.  Biesecker,  Jenny  Edbauer,  and  many  others,  the  "cultural   strangeness  [towards  computers  and  technology]  is  off-­‐putting"  to  those  who  deal   comfortably  with  technology  such  as  Cynthia  Selfe  (1163).       The  problem  is  reflected,  and  begins  with,  as  Cynthia  Selfe  describes,  the  way   "computer  technology  and  its  use  in  teaching  composition…seems  to  be  the  single  subject   best  guaranteed  to  inspire  glazed  eyes  and  complete  indifference  in  that  portion  of  the  CCCC  


membership  which  does  not  immediately  sink  into  snooze  mode”  (Selfe  1163).    Her   humanist-­‐minded  colleagues  eschewed  the  computer—a  symbol  they  did  not  see  as  fitting   within  their  paradigm  of  books  and  print.    "[T]echnology  is  either  boring  or  frightening  to   most  humanists  [in  the  field  of  composition]"  writes  Selfe.  "[A]  preference  for  the  non-­‐ technological  still  pervades  our  community"  (1164).    Selfe  herself  is  one  notable  exception,   as  her  work  continues  to  deal  with  multimodal  composition  methodology  in  networked   environments.       The  tendency  to  rely  on  print,  and  not  develop  rhetorical  modes  of  analysis  based  on   networked  complexity  and  working  with/in  newer  media  holds  back  scholarly  interests.     Several  scholars  have  also  implicated  that  not  adapting  to  a  complex  system  of  analysis  in   emerging  network  culture  could  very  well  be  the  end  of  rhetoric  and  the  beginning  of   semiotics,  which  has  been  waiting  to  replace  rhetoric  (See,  for  instance,  the  treatment  of   Roland  Barthes’  “The  Old  Rhetoric:  an  aide  to  memoire”  in  Don  Paul  Abbot’s  “Splendor  and   Mistery:  Semiotics  and  the  End  of  Rhetoric”).    "When  we  use  the  more  familiar  technology  of   books,  for  instance,  it  is  mostly  within  a  familiar  ideological  system  that  allows  us  to  ignore   the  persistence  of  print  and  our  role  in  this  persistence....as  a  seamless  whole"  (Selfe  1165).     “We  think  of  computers  as  a  simple  tool  that  individual  faculty  members  can  use  or  ignore   as  they  choose,  but  also  one  that  the  profession,  as  a  collective  whole—and  with  just  a  few   notable  exceptions—need  not  address  too  systematically.    And  so  we  have  paid  technology   issues  precious  little  focus  attention  over  the  years”  (1165).    By  using  the  words  whole  and   systematically,  Selfe  invokes  a  language  that  is  evocative  of  not  just  the  technology  she  is   talking  about,  but  also  the  larger  environment  that  models  of  rhetoric  and  pedagogies  of   composition  have  also  ignored.    Similarly  homologous  is  my  extensive  quotations  here,   which  serve  to  function  more  as  a  whole  than  mere  words  taken  briefly  out  of  context.  


Hakim  Bey  confronts  this  avoidant  mode  of  reasoning  in  “Seduction  of  the  Cyber   Zombies.”      Agreeing  with  Selfe  that  technology,  which  has  been  embedded  in  culture  so   well  and  for  so  long  that  it  appears  to  be  natural  and  therefore  blends  in  with  our   environment  (Selfe;  Hawk  2004),  Bey  scourns  those  who  choose  to  dismiss  newly  emerging   technologies,  further  contributing  to  what  Selfe  calls  “isolated  pockets”  of  the  composition   community  who  do  actively  discuss  issues  related  to  technology  in  composition  (1165).    Bey   questions  the  reasoning  for  consciously  disengaging  from  the  idea  of  network  space:     "Luddites  who  deny  this  are  simply  making  themselves  look  uninformed-­‐-­‐-­‐and   badly  disposed  toward  good  causes.  The  original  Luddites  were  no  indiscriminate   machine-­‐smashers-­‐-­‐-­‐they  intended  to  defend  their  hand-­‐looms  and  home  labor   against  mechanization  and  factory  centralization.  Everything  depends  on  situation,   and  technology  is  only  one  factor  in  a  complex  and  many-­‐valued  situation.  Exactly   what  is  it  here  that  needs  to  be  smashed?"  (Bey  “Seduction  of  the  Cyber  Zombies”)   Bey  is  not  trying  to  isolate  a  situation,  hence  his  terms  complex,  everything,  and  many-­ valued:  he  is  speaking  to  an  audience  that  perhaps  has  not  developed  a  new  paradigm,  one   which,  Hawk  elaborates  calmly:   sees  cognition,  thinking,  and  invention  as  being  beyond  the  autonomous,  conscious,   willing  subject...  A  writer  is  not  merely  in  a  situation  but  is  a  part  of  it  and  is   constituted  by  it.    A  human  body,  a  text,  or  an  act  is  the  product  not  simply  of   foregrounded  thought  but  of  complex  developments  in  the  ambient  environment.     Hawk  tries  to  move  towards  a  conception  of  post-­‐techne,  where  there  are  different   things  that  operate  differently  in  different  contexts  but  that  bodies,  technologies,   and  texts  are  their  context.    There  is  no  separation.    From  the  perspective  of  


ambience,  there  is  no  communications  triangle  with  autonomous  but  connected   points.    There  is  only  relationality.    (Hawk:2004,  378).2   Bey  questions  the  “Net  to  further  the  purpose  of  communicativeness”  in  his     conclusion  (parenthetics  and  underlining  his  own):   Ultimately  it  seems  there's  no  escape  from  technology  or  alienation.  Techné  itself  is   prosthesis  of  consciousness,  and  thus  inseparable  from  the  human  condition.   (Language  is  included  here  as  techné.)  Technology  as  the  obvious  melding  of  techné   and  language  (the  ratio  or  "reason"  of  techné)  has  simply  been  a  category  of  human   existence  since  at  least  the  Paleolithic.  But-­‐-­‐-­‐are  we  permitted  to  ask  at  what  point   the  heart  itself  is  to  be  replaced  by  an  artificial  limb?  At  what  point  does  a  given   technology  "flip"  and  begin  producing  paradoxical  counterproductivity?  If  we  could   reach  a  consensus  on  this,  would  there  still  exist  any  reason  to  speak  of   technological  determinism,  or  the  machinic  as  fate?  In  this  sense,  the  oldtime   Luddites  deserve  some  consideration.  Techné  must  serve  the  human,  not  define  the   human.    (Bey  1997)   Bey’s  questions  remain  something  for  rhetoric  to  contend  with.    Yet,  he  brings  up  the  word   techne,  which  he  states  is  a  component  of  technology.    Therefore,  we  can  begin  to  see  the   logic  developing  around  a  working  definition  of  technology,  techne,  and  skill  as  the  term   post-­techne  emerges  in  Byron  Hawk  ‘s  treatment  of  the  classical  word  techne  in  “Toward  a   Post-­‐Techne—Or,  Inventing  Pedagogies  for  Professional  Writing.”    This  piece  in  particular   ties  together  aesthetics,  art,  human  relativism,  and  rhetorical/compositional  studies.    It  also   predates  his  2008  “Towards  a  Rhetoric  of  Network  Culture.”    Quoting  Heidegger  in  his  

                                                                                                                2  This  reminds  me  of  an  unknown  quote  on  one  of  the  tumblr  sites  I  will  later  turn   to,  which  states  simply:  “We  are  here  to  soften  the  edges  of  life  for  each  other”  in   between  the  artwork.    Another  quote:  “no  words,  only  perspectives.”    And  yet   another:  “Activate  the  light  spaces  within.”  http://synapticstimuli.com/      


discussions  on  techne  and  art,  Hawk  states  that  “[b]oth  technology  and  aesthetics  are   connected  and  viewed  as  art,  as  techne.    As  techne  they  produce  ways  of  seeing  and  ways  of   being;  they  produce  constellations,  which  in  turn  produce  possible  ways  for  humans  to  be  in   relation  to  the  world,”  (2004:376).    Turning  to  Rutsky’s  conception  of  high-­‐techne,  Hawk   describes  it:   “as  an  artistic  practice  that  emerges  from  a  constellation  of  humans,  technology,   culture,  and  the  world  that  ‘continually  breaks  things  free  of  a  stable  context  or  fixed   representation,  representing  them  instead  as  part  of  an  ongoing  process  or   movement.’  “The  key  point  in  Rutsky  is  that  being  human  in  the  contemporary   context  is  not  reduced  to  exerting  human  will  through  technology;  it  is  not  about   intervening  through  technology  but  about  dwelling  with/in  technology,  with/in  a   culture  that  is  intimately  intertwined  with  technology  in  multiple,  complex  ways.     (376-­‐7)   This  salient  point  from  Rutsky  gives  shape  to  the  discussion  of  “polarities”  we  receive  from   Hawk’s  adaptation  of  Mark  C.  Taylor’s  theory  of  complexity,  which  is  (according  to  Hawk)   almost  a  complete  rhetorical  theory,  yet  not  fully  realized  as  such  because  Taylor  does  not   address  the  concept  of  affect  (pathos)  (146).    Hawk  works  around  this  by  citing  another   Taylor—Charles  Taylor—as  well  as  Brian  Massumi  regarding  pathos/affect.    But,  again  I  am   getting  ahead  of  myself.    Let  me  back  up  a  step.   Part  2  –  Network  Culture  &  Rhetorical  Theory:  Polarities  of  Key  Terms    

Below  I  will  briefly  re-­‐enact  the  polarities  that  Hawk  and  Taylor  revolve  around  in  

“Toward  a  Rhetoric  of  Netowrk  (Media)  Culture.”    As  polarities,  Taylor’s  theory  and  Hawk’s   response  can  be  conceived  of  as  “initial  linkages  [which]  cannot  provide  a  fully  fleshed  out   rhetorical  theory  in  a  short  response  [to  Mark  C.  Taylor],  but  instead  enact  strange  loops,   set[ting]  ideas  in  motion”  (146).    The  first  part  he  discusses  is  the  grid.  


Heuristics  :  Schemata  (Grids)   Heuristics  are  (simplistic)  sets  of  orders/questions  that  one  can  use  to  formulate  an   idea  or  ideas.    However,  these  “grids”  can  become  locked,  resulting  in  all  too  often  the  same   outcome.    Schemata,  Taylor  revises,  “change  in  response  to  input”  (146).    Hawk  concludes   that  “(1)  students  needs  to  develop  their  own  schemata  to  fit  their  particular   topics/situations,  and  (2)  if  we  give  them  a  schemata  first,  their  goal  should  be  to  revise   those  schemata  as  a  part  of  the  invention  process  rather  than  follow  them  prescriptively”   (147).    Gregory  Ulmer,  in  Heuritics:  the  logic  of  invention,  comes  closest—summates  Hawk— to  applying  Taylor’s  work.    Instead  of  using  Aristotle’s  heuristic,  “invents  his  own  and  asks   his  students  to  do  the  same”  (147).    My  idea  of  heuristics  and  their  failure  is  the  never-­‐ helpful  “Help”  FAQ  or  Troubleshooting  steps  on  a  computer.    “Did  this  answer  your   problem?”    I  can  tell  they  are  trying  to  make  these  questions  lead  to  a  helpful  answer,  but   they  never  do  for  me.    With  greater  depth  and  flexibility,  perhaps  they  could.    Using  the   painting  by  Chuck  Close  as  an  instantiation  of  the  grid,  Taylor  and  Hawk  offer  a  different   sort  of  grid,  one  whose  individual  tiles  are  entirely  separate  abstract  paintings,  a  network   logic  where  the  whole  extends  beyond  the  sum  of  its  parts.    This  feeling,  this  recognition,   unlocks  one  from  the  rigidity  of  the  grid.    

Dissoi-­‐Logoi  :  Polarities  (Strange  Loops)  

 

The  old  technique  of  arguing  the  oppositional  side  to  make  one’s  original  argument  

stronger,  dissoi-­logoi,  is  not  in  fact  a  battle  of  opposites.    Each  side  needs  the  other  in  order   to  exist.    They  are  “nodes  caught  up  in    co-­‐producing  systems”  (148).    Taylor  calls  these   polarities  “strange  loops”  or  what  Sosnoski  and  McAllister  would  term  “circuitous  subjects.”     Kirstie  Fleckenstein  re-­‐enacts  this  loop  as  well:   The  words  and  images  that  materialize  on  the  screen  are  statements  about  the  loops   nested  invisibly  within  them,  subject  to  the  discontinuities  permeating  the  


languages  and  the  pathways  by  means  of  which  those  languages  constitute   themselves.    The  differences  that  matter  at  one  level  becomes  messages  within  the   sytem  (that  is,  create  new  relationships)  at  a  different  level,  feeding  into  the  system   to  change  it  or  reconfirm  it,  maintaining  the  system  by  the  process  of  its  own  self-­‐ constitution.    (7)   The  image  of  a  mirror  held  up  to  another  mirror  comes  to  mind.    It  is  such  visualizations   that  I  hope  to  instantiate  below  and  expose  the  “invisible”  so  that  we  may  all  begin  to  think   in  these  culturally  appropriate  paradigms.    I  also  do  not  wish  to  merely  repeat  what  the   authors  above  have  said,  for  that  is  not  even  possible.    “Strange  loops  are  self-­‐reflexive   circuits,  which,  though  appearing  to  be  circular,  remain  paradoxically  open”  (Taylor,  qtd.  in   Hawk  148).    

Rhetorical  Situation  :  Complex  Adaptive  Systems  

 

A  rhetorical  situation  changes  from  one  minute  to  the  next,  given  a  variety  of  factors.    

The  better  way  to  look  at  it  would  be  to  treat  it  as  a  complex  adaptive  system.    Borrowing   much  of  this  terminology  from  science  is  perhaps  a  paradigm-­‐shift  in  itself  for  rhetoricians   to  contend  with.3    Be  that  as  it  may,  ‘situations  generate  discourse’  (Lloyd  Bitzer).     Answering  this  statement  is  Richard  Vatz,  who  counters:  “discourse  is  always  already  a  part   of  the  situation  and  can  thus  create  or  determine  situations,”  (Hawk  149).    This  polarity  of   “context-­‐text  operates  as  a  strange  loop,  and  the  combination  of  multiple  strange  loops   Taylor  calls  a  ‘complex  adaptive  system’”  (149).    The  systems  produce  effects  much  greater   than  their  causes,  feedback  loops,  and  they  also  adapt.    In  fact,  such  great  feedback  amid   “strange  loops”  can  create  a  “qualitative  change  at  the  level  of  the  whole”  (Taylor  165).  

                                                                                                                3  The  relevancy  of  scientific  rhetoric  is  apparently  surrounding  us.    For  instance,   Rational  Rhetoric:  the  Role  of  Science  in  Popular  Discourse  by  David  Tietge,  won  the   JAC's  Gary  A.  Olson  Award  “for  most  outstanding  book  in  rhetorical  and  cultural   theory.”  http://www.parlorpress.com/tietge.html  


Generative  schemata  that  notice  regularities  in  the  system  and  self-­‐organize  are  needed  for   this  type  of  complexity.    Ideally,  and  this  is  used  especially  in  the  world  of  computers   (Manovich),  schemata  (or  models,  theories)  can  identify  these  factors  on  their  own—those   which  cannot  adapt  to  the  system  fail  to  function  and  therefore  disappear  as  in  evolutionary   biology.    Hawk  notes  the  meta-­‐complexity  that  Barbara  Biesecker  rises  to,  as  she  questions   “Bitzer  and  Vatz’  assumptions  about  the  autonomous  elements  of  the  rhetorical  situation   and  the  causal  logic  that  establishes  the  relationships  among  them”  (Hawk  148).    For   Biesecker,  “rather  than  an  event  or  speaker  initiating  a  relation,  their  emergent  relation  co-­‐ produces  each  one  through  an  ongoing  development”  and  she  uses  Derrida’s  Glas  which   enacts  difference  by  placing  two  columns  of  text  next  to  each  other  in  the  same  book  (150).     The  meaning  is  not  from  the  left  side  or  the  right,  but  “in  the  absent  space  between  them,  in   all  the  possible  relations  and  connections  between  them  that  can  arise  during  a  reading  of   the  text”  (150).    As  we  can  see,  we  have  networks  that  are  part  of  other  networks  because   they  have  generated  other  networks.        

Kairos  :  Emergence  

 

Following  network  logic,  and  Taylor’s  complex  adaptive  systems  theory,  it  can  be  

said  that  polarity  between  parts  is  always  shifting,  one  side  becoming  stronger  than  the   other,  and  the  other  side  responding  in  such  a  manner  (counter  to  Baudrillard,  who  claims   that  one  pole  eventually  consumes  the  other)  that  the  process  generates  a  need  for  balance.     Thus,  emergence.    “Speed  increases  the  interaction  among  parts  and  increased  interaction   creates  more  diverse  component—more  diverse  components  move  the  system  from   linearity  and  stability  to  recursiveness  and  complexity”  (151).    Kairos  can  be  said  to  be  the   “opportune  moment”  either  on  behalf  of  the  speaker  or  the  situation,  argues  Carolyn  Miller.     Susan  Crowley,  reviewing  literature  herself,  shows  the  range  of  meaning  in  kairos.    From   “decorum,  proportion,  and  appriateness  to  prudence,  judiciousness,  and  practicality,”  


(Crowley  2003)  as  well  as  “opportunity,  occasion,  crisis  or  urgency,  measure,   proportionality…concenience,  advantage,  profit,  fruit,  fitness,  propriety,  and  ‘the  right  time   to  act  or  speak’”  (Sipiora  116  qtd.  in  Crowley  83).    Hawk  notes  that  being  able  to  adapt   continuously  to  notice  these  moments  of  opportunity  are  would  be  a  huge  asset  to  the   rhetor.    The  “productive  tension”  noted  by  Miller  in  the  seemingly  different  definitions  of   kairos  can  be  taken  together  as  a  whole.    The  following  polarities  will  be  discussed   diminutively,  for  issues  of  time  and  space.4    

Logos  :  Network  

 

Logos  can  be  broadcasted  instead  of  a  “narrow  notion  of  logic  that  generally  follows  

the  enthymeme,”  to  the  aforementioned  network  logic  of  co-­‐adaptive  systems—that  is,  “not   as  a  static  system,  but  as  a  system  in  motion”  (Hawk  153).      Continuing  on  earlier  themes:   “the  driving  force  is  noise—that  which  the  (static)  system  cannot  account  for  but  which   forces  the  system  to  move,  rearticulate,  and  reconnect”  (153).          

Ethos  :  Screen  (Node)  

 

The  idea  of  Character  is  reconstructed,  or  perhaps  already  is,  as  a  screen  (or  one  

who  screens  out  certain  information,  but  retains  some  of  her  choosing).    While  “node”  may   refer  to  the  link  between  two  components,  Hawk  sees  it  as  a  screen,  and  this  is  connected  to   the  body.    So,  the  screen  is  part  of  the  body  as  well,  as  it  is  being  one  with  the  body.    The   self—if,  indeed,  this  term  any  longer  makes  sense—is  a  node  in  a  complex  network  of   relations.    In  emerging  network  culture,  subjectivity  is  nodular.    Nodes…are  knots  formed   when  different  strands,  fibers,  or  threads  are  woven  together”  (Taylor  251,  qtd.  in  Hawk   154).    

Pathos  :  Affect  

                                                                                                                4  These  polarities  can  be  extensively  discussed  in  an  actual  Review  of  Literature.  


The  idea  of  Emotion,  well  that’s  just  it:  it’s  not  an  idea.    It’s  already  there,  

programmed  into  us.    This  is  what  separates  rhetoric  from  logic.    “Humans  don’t  just  screen   information  logically,  they  respond  to  [it]  emotionally”  (Hawk  155).    Affect  is  ‘the  ability  to   affect  and  a  susceptibility  to  be  affected’—“it  is  a  body’s  capacity  for  relations  within  a   network…emotion  is  simply  ‘recognized  affect’  (156).    Yet,  affect  is  not  simply  emotion.     Affect  moves  us  “toward  relations  among  other  bodies,  which  is  critical  to  understanding   discourse  in  network  culture.    Like  language,  new  media  make  new  affections  and  new   relations  possible”  (156).    This  point  echoes  my  availability  through  affordances  in  new,   hyper-­‐mediums,  to  even  bother  with  trying  to  instantiate  this  ongoing  theory  of  Taylor  and   Hawk’s.    Without  the  Web,  and  the  specific  micro-­‐networks  within  its  larger  context—like   Tumblr—I  would  not  have  been  affected  to  move  towards  the  visual  art  that  I  find  and  can   therefore  immediately  show  you.    

Process  :  Evolution  

     

Hawk  and  Taylor  both  compare  the  writing  process  to  an  evolutionary  process  that  

yields  adapted  schemata,  taking  the  process  idea  further  than  the  process  theorists  have   been  able  to.        

Conclusion  

 

I  have  reviewed  rhetoric  in  the  eyes  of  complexity  theory,  and  I  have  done  so  

judiciously,  not  simply  stringing  together  studies  from  Hawk’s  essay.    Instead,  I  have   laboriously  bitten  off  too  much  for  myself  to  chew  in  an  attempt  to  steer  away  from  simply   using  Hawk’s  roadmap.    However,  the  above  polarities  are  the  continued  progress  made  by   Taylor  and  succeeded  by  Hawk.    The  ethos  among  those  in  network  space  is  said  to  be   mutually  constructive.    That  is,  we  generally  are  linked  up  to  help  one  another.    Hawk   himself  would  be  proud,  for  I  have  perhaps  come  up  with  my  own  schemata,  or  at  least  I  


have  begun  mapping  out  my  own  strange  path.    What  follows  will  be  even  stranger,  as  I  will   attempt  to  persuade  the  reader  to  adjust  her  paradigm  by  looking  at  art.     Methodology    (in  progress…)   We do not listen closely enough to what painters have to say… Gilles Deleuze

Hawk’s  mini-­‐theory,  influenced  by  his  interest  in  “reassessing  the  concept  of   vitalism  within  a  geneology  from  Coleridge  through  Nietsche,  Bergson,  Heidegger,  Foucault,   and  Deleuze  to  complexity  theory”  (Hawk  158).    Hawk  himself  speculates  that  such  a   project  could  never  “fully  be  articulated…perhaps  not  even  in  a  book”  (158),  and  so  to   instantiate  his  theory,  I  will  turn  to  visual  artists,  visual  art,  systems  aesthetics,  and  John   Dewey.     To  (net)work  rhetoric  in(to)  network  space,  which  is  far  ‘more  complex  than  ancient   civic  space’  (146),    we  need  to  shift  our  own  paradigms.    This  requires  a  fundamental   persuasion  that  I  will  attempt  below.    I  wish  to  instantiate  the  theory  of  complexity  set  forth   by  Mark  C.  Taylor  and  applied  to  rhetoric  and  composition  by  Byron  Hawk.    I  will  do  this   visually,  with  the  help  of  some  brilliant  artists.    I  will  not  draw  from  computer  visualization,   but  instead  hand-­‐made  abstract  visual  art,  complex  systems  theory,  theories  of  aesthetics   (according  to  American  pragmatist  John  Dewey),  Hakim  Bey  (an  ontological  anarchist),  Lev   Manovich  (beyond  media  theorist),  and  Cynthia  Selfe.       (unfinished)    


Works  Cited     Abbott,  Don.  "Splendor  and  Misery:  Semiotics  and  the  End  of  Rhetoric."  Rhetorica  24.3   (2006):  303-­‐23.  Print.     Bitzer,  Lloyd  F.  "The  Rhetorical  Situation."  Philosophy  &  Rhetoric  25  (1992):  1-­‐14.  Print.    

Bey,  Hakim.  “Seduction  of  the  Cyber  Zombies.”  Hakim  Bey  and  Ontological  Anarchy.    New   York:  Aug  17,  1997.  <http://hermetic.com/bey/seduct.html>.   Chesebro,  James.  "Review  Essays."  Rhetoric  review  22.1  (2003):  82-­‐100.  Print.    

Gerbner,  George.  "Toward  a  General  Model  of  Communication."  Educational  Technology   Research  and  Development  4.3  (1956):  171-­‐99.  Springer  Boston.  Web.  November  1,   2010.    

Hawk,  Byron.  "Toward  a  Post-­‐TechnOr,  Inventing  Pedagogies  for  Professional  Writing."   Technical  Communication  Quarterly  13.4  (2004):  371-­‐92.  Print.    

-­‐-­‐.    “Toward  a  Rhetoric  of  Network  (Media)  Culture.”  Plugged  in:  Technology,  Rhetoric,  and   Culture  in  a  Posthuman  Age.  Eds.  Lynn  Worsham  and  Gary  A.  Olson.    Cresskill,  N.J.:   Hampton  Press,  2008.  Print.    

Lansing,  J.  S.  "Complex  Adaptive  Systems."  Annual  Review  of  Anthropology  32.1  (2003):  183-­‐ 204.  Print.    

Manovich,  Lev.  “What  is  Visualization?”  Manovich.net.  October  25,  2010.  < http://manovich.net/2010/10/25/new-­‐article-­‐what-­‐is-­‐visualization/>.  


Self,  Cynthia.    “Technology  and  Literacy:  A  Story  About  the  Perils  of  Not  Paying  Attention.”   The  Norton  Book  of  Composition  Studies.  Ed.  Marilyn  Moller.  New  York:  W.  W.  Norton  &   Company,  2009.  

Taylor,  Mark  C.  The  Moment  of  Complexity:  Emerging  Network  Culture.  Chicago;  London:   University  of  Chicago  Press,  2001.  Print.    

-­‐-­‐.  "Mark  Taylor  Argues  that  Creativity  can  be  found  at  the  Edge  of  Chaos."  Architectural   Record  191.5  (2003):  132.  Print.    

Worsham,  Lynn,  and  Gary  A.  Olson  (eds).  Plugged  in:  Technology,  Rhetoric,  and  Culture  in  a   Posthuman  Age.  Cresskill,  N.J.:  Hampton  Press,  2008.  Print.    

 


Complexity and Rhetorical Theory