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Presenter (Dis)play Stephen A. Tyler£ ^ f I i HIS REQUEST is a request for a presentation. . . . J. F. L. is I asked to present here and now not his objects and themes of reflection, his audiences, his adversaries and his readers in difficulty, but rather the images he forms of these.” 1Post-modern dis­ course is unprintable. It resists representation and cannot be described. It is de-scribable and unwritable. It cannot be written because it is now the background of all discourse and is thus no longer easily accessible to con­ sciousness, being, as it were, already the form and means of conscious­ ness. Because it does not use the technology of print in the way writing does, it cannot be inscribed by writing nor captured in the familiar forms of writing known as “the book,” “ the article,” “ the magazine,” “ the newspaper.” It does not belong to print culture. It belongs to the post­ book world where it is the means and instrument of our understanding that eludes and obscures itself so that we can write of it only out of the past as bewildered scribes, remnants of an almost lost culture trying to come to terms with the agent of our predicament. Since it is the back­ ground and condition of our understanding—which we cannot under­ stand—we can only be re-minded of it, though not by means of substitu­ tions for it in the manner of descriptions or of symbols which pretend to represent what cannot be represented. We can be re-minded by concrete bits and pieces of it that evoke it without creating the illusion of its presence-in-absence. . . . . holograms . . . . presenter. Presenter is the paragon of post-modern discourse, presentation. Presenter’s favorite occasion is the presentation where presenter presents visualizations of ideas and information in the presence of a community of believers. performance. Presenter provides edifying and/or entertaining per­ formances consisting largely of talk about pictures such as slides, over­ head projections, chalk-board diagrams, television tapes, and hand-outs. Performance criteria having to do with the quality and virtuosity of the images and their performative context are an important part of the com­ munity’s discourse, especially of its constitutive aesthetics. participation. The immediate presence of presenter, presented, and 122 Spring 1991 T yler presented-to enables participation in which the presentation and the tech­ nology of its performance become the object of general discussion among participants. dis-play, image and sound. Unlike print, which is an abstract image of sound and meaning out of the past, post-modern discourse is a display of sound and image without abstraction or representation. Pictures and the spoken word, the doubled medium of the in-mediate simultaneity of presentation, constitute a display that is at once evanescent and permanent. genre cross-overs. Presenter’s style may include techniques from dif­ ferent performance genres, including those of television newscaster, talk show host, stand-up comic, and used car salesman, among others. orchestration. Presenters are not rhetorical virtuosos. They are more like conductors or managers of the technology of presentations, mouth­ pieces of the research team who speak, not from their own genius, but for the genius of the collectivity. connection without information. Presenter’s verbal discourse is quite unlike a text, for it is strongly linked to visual images whose connections and configurations give it coherence. Coherence is mediated by the sequence and content of images rather than by words or the connection of sentences. Verbalizations are linked by “ here we have. . . ,” “ and now this. . . ,” “ here you can see. . . ,” “ this line here. . . ,” which index the immediacy of the known, displayed context. Presenter’s verbaliza­ tions are generally paratactic and largely non-sentential, consisting of phrases and half-sentences without fully expressed subjects or verbs or presuppositions. Jargon, one-liners, and “ heavy” phrases that index common knowledge about points of view, conundrums, and significant standpoints predominate. Sentences are frequently completed not by ver­ balization, but by pointing to an image or tracing a sequence on the sur­ face of an image or by drawing an image, as in: “ If we put it (points to an image location) it goes (traces movement to different...


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pp. 122-130
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