A Collaborative Note
Lately, I have been toying with the idea of coText. What is coText, by the way?
If we, letting ourselves to be self-aware post-colonists for the time being, choose to objectify the text as a “thing”, then coText is like its shadow. The shadow, when compared to the well known Foucaultian heterotopian* metaphor of an image seen in a mirror, which is “in an unreal space that opens up potentially beyond its (mirror’s) surface”, differs in its type and level of abstraction. The shadow is not an unreal image, neither does it exist in an unreal space. The shadow has real roots, the mirror image doesn’t. The shadow is always rooted to its parent object – something we’ll from now on refer to as the “object of origin”.
It can be seen by all standing around the object of origin although to each viewer the shadow presents itself in a different shape and size. It is an impression of the real object which it casts, but an impression which is completely unavailable to all other senses but the eye, which signifies one level of its abstraction. Shadow fall is inaudible, the thing is lost to touch, smell and taste. The space a shadow occupies is also real space unlike that of a mirror-image as it is borne by all objects that fall in its path unlike a reflection which only the mirror embodies. However, this space is abstract too in that it appears different to each observer. A second degree of abstraction about the shadow is that its existence, shape and size are a pure function of surround light. By changing the primary, secondary and tertiary sources of light, shadow-control of a static object of origin can be exercised to an extreme proportion when it can even cease to exist. This “inexistence” of the shadow is also abstract in the sense that it is a hidden existence – when it cannot be seen anymore, the shadow actually still exists by assuming the footprint of the object of origin upon which the latter sits.
The coText is a shadow in the way it relates itself to the text as the object of origin. Our idea of the coText is also heterotopic. It can, however, in a more complex and confusing mode of dependency, switch positions with the text as we would discuss later. To elucidate the many roles of a coText, a taxonomy must follow. The coText can exist as a trinity –
- Circumcontentive Poetry, An Offwhite Paper, Jacket2, May 21, 2012
- Circumcontentive Poetry Issue, Kaurab No.111, Kolkata, India, Feb, 2011.
- Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias, Michel Foucault, Rethinking Architecture:
A Reader in Cultural Theory. Edited by Neil Leach. NYC: Routledge. 1997. pp.330-336
- unoriginal genius: poetry by other means in the new century, Marjorie Perloff, U.Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 2012.