Intertextuality

intertext (03 April 2015)

intertext (03 April 2015)

“Just a moment, please.” Walking with a friend along a side-street, I had (out of the corner of my eye) spotted a ‘photo-op’ – a wheelie-bin outside the rear entrance to a hotel. My friend’s arched eyebrow and crooked smile told me he didn’t ‘get it’.  But that’s okay …

The digital camera makes it easy for me to grab stuff in passing. I rely on being able to act quickly, without stopping to analyse what I am seeing. (There’s always time for that later.) But, in what can take as little as a few seconds, I often find myself with an image that seems to make some sort of sense – even if not everybody gets it.

I explain this to myself in terms of Roland Barthes’s theory of “intertextuality” …

“The intertextual nature of writing turns both the traditional author, and the traditional critic, into readers,” explains Voicu Mihnea Simandan, in a blog piece titled Barthes’s elements of intertextuality (see Note 1). The blogger elucidates further: “Barthes’s theory of text involves the theory of intertextuality because the text offers a plurality of meanings and is also woven out of numerous already existing texts. The text is not a unified, isolated object that gives a singular meaning, but an element open to various interpretations.”

Roland Barthes concludes The Death of the Author with the following lines: “… a text is made from multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused, and that place is the reader, not, as hitherto said, the author. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up the writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination … the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author” (Barthes, 1977: p 148).


NOTES:

1/ Voicu Mihnea Simandan is a Bangkok-based Romanian expatriate who lives in Thailand. His blog is called A Romanian in Bangkok.

2/ This citation is the final passage in “The Death of the Author,” in Image-Music-Text, by Roland Barthes, translated by Stephen Heath (1977).

Eastbourne mamaku

This fine mamaku, growing close to the house in a friend’s Eastbourne garden, was planted many years ago by his father. A second, much younger specimen growing elsewhere in the garden was transplanted as a seedling from a bush garden in Kelburn, where I used to live.

Cyathea medullaris, popularly known as the black tree fern, is a large tree fern up to 20m tall. It is distributed across the south-west Pacific from Fiji to Pitcairn and New Zealand. It is called mamaku, katātā, kōrau, or pītau in the Māori language.” (Wikipedia)

Wearing vermilion

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All day I’ve noticed
folk wearing vermilion,
but still, since summer,
most of us have been wearing
this year’s fashion colour – black.

(Friday 13 March 2015)

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NOTES:

“Vermilion is a brilliant red or scarlet pigment originally made from the powdered mineral cinnabar, and is also the name of the resulting color. It was widely used in the art and decoration of Ancient Rome, in the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, in the paintings of the Renaissance, and in the art and lacquerware of China, where it is often called ‘Chinese Red’.” (Wikipedia)

See also: Pigments through the Ages

Verdigris

verdigris (09 March 2015)

verdigris (09 March 2015)

“Natural or artificially created coatings of verdigris is commonly used as a patina to protect copper or bronze objects, especially in architecture. … Until the 19th century, verdigris was the most vibrant green pigment available and was frequently used in painting.” (Wikipedia).

The corner plate pictured here protects the beautiful stonework of a doorway in Maginnity Street, Wellington.

Visiting the neighbours

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On the scented tree
four orange butterflies rest –
and now, six, seven …

(09 March 2015)


Some weeks ago, striped caterpillars stripped bare the swan plant one of my neighbours had planted. We thought the ravening gluttons must have been eaten by birds. Somewhere nearby, however, certain of their relatives must have survived, pupated, then hatched.

What’s in a name?

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After yesterday’s
rain, this morning’s air is sweet.
My neighbours have a
fragrant tree … and no, I don’t
know its botanical name.

(08 March 2015)


Tanka consist of five units (often treated as separate lines when romanized or translated) usually with the following pattern of on: 5-7-5-7-7.

The 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku (上の句 “upper phrase”), and the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku (下の句 “lower phrase”). (Wikipedia)

Full moon soon

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Pinned to autumn grey
the white disc has one soft edge …
two days still to go.

(06 March 2015)


In fact, 06 March 2015 is the night of the full moon. The observation underpinning the haiku took place two nights ago, but I have just finalised the text.