out of the words tumble should meaning separate. -bpNichol
Douglas Barbour first discusses his location in Edmonton overlooking the South Saskatchewan river. He says that this poem says a lot about how poetry works and he starts to read.
The words appear between Douglas Barbour and the background. “out of the words tumble should meaning separate.” He is no longer standing in front of the South Saskatchewan river; he’s standing in front of a text that speaks about “ink’s sin”
ink’s sin is no sin unless it is the nosin’ around the surface where the depth is.
Ink’s sin is its visibility. The text breaks up the continuity of the image and divides it into discrete elements. In his paper Image Future Lev Manovich discusses at length the manner in which digital remix culture demands its materials as discrete semantic elements that can be combined and recombined in any number of different ways.
This culture demands not self-contained aesthetic objects or self-contained records of reality but smaller units — parts that can be easily changed and combined with other parts in endless combinations. However, because lens-based recording process flatten the 3D semantic structure of reality, converting a space filled with discrete objects into a flat field of pixels, any kind of editing operation — deleting objects, adding new ones, compositing, etc — become quite difficult.
In fragmenting words, using puns and rearranging letters, Nichol resists the “flattened semantic field”. Douglas Barbour stands in front the poem. The text is operating as an image and as a text. It is like Magritte’s Treachery of Images – “Ceci n’est pas un pipe”. The surfaces of the text and image collide with each other.