From Grid to Rhizome: a Rethinking of a Layout Arrangement of the Post-digital Text

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

In this paper we deal with the necessity of a post-digital text layout rethinking. Such layout differs from a layout of a printed text, because a post-digital medium is based on different principles from a traditional codex book. Arrangement of a layout in case of printed text, also in case of (post)digital text, is often based on the grid model. The alternative arrangement was specified as experimental forms. To go back in history, the grid model comes from cognitive preferences of a western reader and conforms to the principles that we follow in Gestalt psychology. These are the aesthetic references of typographical analysis of Modern movement, which was based on the golden rule principle and its application in the rectangular grid. The idea of grid followed Cartesian measurement of a codex page. According to Design Dictionary (2008) layout is often based on a design grid. Also Ellen Lupton (2010), and other authors described the model of a grid layout as a complex system applicable for every kind of media, so for the (post)digital media as well. In contraposition to the grid model we use arguments based on post-digital text and post-digital media analysis. A post-digital media enabled a shift from digital based on binary code machine functions to new conceptual models based on interdisciplinary relations between art, design, computing, philosophy and science that avoid binarism, determinism, and reductionism (Pepperell and Punt, 2000). In the way of how the reading of a post-digital text is performed, its perception has changed. It is connected with a possibility to interact with a text which leads to rethinking of reader/author of a text. This first argument leads to rethinking the grid as the model of a “universal layout”. The second argumentation is based on a process model of the post-digital text. It was caused by existence of the materiality of a post-digital text with the layer of programming code and a layer of a visible text via the interface. The code as an algorithm is a tool of programming with different levels of variable relations of a text/author/user. In a non-finite re-order it is possible to realise continuum changes and evolution of a system of a post-digital text layout. The solution of how it is possible is based on the philosophical concept of Rhizome described by Deleuze and Guattari (1980). Rhizome as a concept is a model which shows how to change the view of fixed relations of a closed system to flexible relations of an open complex system. The solution is not in finding a new kind of form, but a process as such. The process is not in a fixed definition of Cartesian geometry co-ordinates, but a flexible abstraction of algebraic algorithm with dynamic relationship between text and (post)digital media. This paper serves as a viable confirmation of a possibility to apply such thinking paradigm into typography.

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Vian Rasheed