Review of I’m a map, I’m a green tree

Andersons has created a ten-minute video essay with four written accompanying pages. I must admit I find the essay difficult to follow.

Maybe it is  because I am not a native English speaker. Maybe it is because the narrator’s voice is flat and makes little use of rhythm and speed. Maybe it is because the text spoken is poetic and ellipsic (I have read the transcript, and that is difficult, too). And certainly it is because there are frequent clashes between word and image. I try to read words on the screen, and loose my ability to listen. I try to figure out why some images are shown, and lose track of where I am.

What remains in me are traces of themes: Of collisions of meaning, of metaphors, of networks, of borders between machine and human, and of connotations and what Ulmer calls conduction: links between similar signifiers. And I have a feeling that this is exactly what Anderson wants to achieve, to gesture towards these meetings of meaning, of folds, as Latour repeatedly calls it.

My suspicion is supported by the four themes Anderson expands on in writing: Metaphors, models, posthumans, and composing.
The combination of video and writing is not strictly a pyramid structure, as the pages do not follow the same sequence or structure as the video. We might instead call it a video with footnotes.

The video shows screen shots of Flickr images, Google Books pages, a scan of a book page, and word processors, punctured by TV ads from Apple’s «I’m a Mac, I’m a PC» campaign. In addition to the narration, there is a sound track of a shaker rhythm, a bass groove, and sporadic sounds of electrical noise and thunder indicating collition.

Links to the four themes are found as a row of buttons below the video. The row also contains buttons to sources (that is, works cited), transcript, and opening. Texts are shown as scrolls inside a rather small pane at the bottom of the screen. Quotes from earlier literature are given in footnotes that appear when the mouse is rolled over the footnote marker.

Skjermbilde 2013-12-31 kl. 10.17.42

The very small text pane and row of buttons with no visual difference between topical pages and more technical pages such as sources or transcript lends an amateurish feel to the work.

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