The Museum of Vestigial Desire


tags: sand published on:

If you extract a part of the message and highlight it, you will manage to draw most of the attention of the casual reader to the extract and render the text as a waste entity.

If you can get the crux of a text from reading a carefully selected set of blurbs, why will you bother to read at all?

From the point of the visual exercise of scanning, blurb making is a most unhealthy practice. The populace is already lazy, nobody wants to read and then you give them blurbs! It is like giving drugs to teenagers. What can be a worse ideas? And this tradition has developed because of the development of the design education racket. Design schools pick up perfectly normal individuals who have a real chance of finding themselves at some point and set them astray. Design renders vision as a faulty faculty.

Design prioritises access over engagement. Speed and efficiency over painfully achieved immersion. What if you do want to be accessible? What if you consider access to be noise, the painful awkwardness of meeting new people? What if you really want to disappear?

Information wants to disappear. Somebody with a faulty sensory system read the opposite many years back and brought the world to the brink of an information apocalypse. Now we have more answers than anyone could possibly ask for, we have more pixels produced than we could either watch or even wash clean. We do not even have enough time left in our mortal lives to delete all the images that we do not have time to see.

And this situation has detonated a storm in the cultures of text. From plain slabs of text which couldn't be accessed except by reading we have well-designed reading experiences in which actually reading is only incidental. Reading is immersive. If you manage to keep the continuous thread of meaning alive in your head while reading, there is absolutely nothing else that you can hold in your head. Reading is entering into a world that is not your own and knowing it one step / one sentence at a time.

And then the designers come and make it impossible to get immersed in the text. They offer you aids to navigate and aids to skim and scan assuming that you have better things to do with your time when you don't.

Blurbs are elements from this culture.

Blurbs are easy chairs.

So we have destabilised the blurb, we have a lens which democratically splits the text of the page that we look at into individual sentences and then cyclically lets echoes of sentences be blurbs at different points of time. If everything is a highlight than nothing is a highlight. This becomes more of a reading device, text discovery engine and not a simplification system. Not a density reduction system, nor a coherence flattening system.

We offer a blurb space that is animated. Now you read this and then you read that. It is like reading a summary which is not a summary but is just a random paragraph from the text.

If you read something suddenly, you read with the friction between sentences amplified to its greatest degree.

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