and the Productive
Potential of Texts
SARAH E. TRUMAN
Reading a text is not a scholarly exercise in search of what is signiﬁed, still less a highly
textual exercise in search of a signiﬁer. Rather it is a productive use of the literary machine,
a montage of desiring machines, a schizoid exercise that extracts from the text its revolu-
tionary force. (Deleuze & Guattari, 2004, p. 116)
New materialist approaches to educational research require us to rethink cul-
tural productions—whether artistic, linguistic, or philosophical—as material
rather than representational practices. In this chapter I discuss a multiparticipant
and multimedial art and philosophy project titled Intratextual Entanglements.
Although philosophy is historically viewed as a linguistic and discursive disci-
pline, the project began with two propositions: to explore the felt materiality of the
various intra-acting elements in the project (including theories, concepts, people,
texts, and artwork) and to explore the emergent pedagogy of collaborative reading
and writing practices, that is, the generative nature of (philosophical) texts.
Following an overview of the speciﬁcs of the Intratextual Entanglement proj-
ect and an introduction to the new materialist methodology I use to contextualize
it, this chapter highlights some of the long history of marginalia in printed texts
and argues for increased attention to its pedagogical signiﬁcance. After consider-
ing the pedagogical import of traditional forms of annotation and more traditional
approaches to qualitative research, this chapter then explores how group annota-
tion practices or more radical “reading/writing” practices affect individuals’ inter-
pretations of a text. Finally, I discuss my struggle with representational models
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of research presentation while exploring the generative potential of several texts
produced within the project.
Before “I” go any further, I want to point out that I use the term “I” through-
out this chapter because I, perhaps ironically in light of this project, prefer the
active voice in writing. I use the word “I” out of habit although I view “I” as an
emergent effect of entanglement with a range of other agents. Deleuze and Guat-
tari (1987) address their own persistence in using their proper names in writing
purely out of habit. They say that continuing to use their own names makes them
unrecognizable and, in turn, renders imperceptible what makes them “act, feel, and
think”; they reach a point where it is no longer of any importance whether they use
their names or the term “I”—they are no longer themselves, they have been “aided,
inspired, multiplied” (p. 3).
SPECIFICS O F THE PROJECT
Intratextual Entanglements is a collaborative marginalia project among 33 adult
participants orchestrated during 2014–2015. The participants are colleagues,
friends, and acquaintances of mine within the academy or arts community. In
the ﬁrst phase of the project, I mailed each participant a copy of the same text to
annotate in the margins or “intra-textually entangle” with using whatever media
they chose. Participants then returned the texts to me by post, or in some cases
email if the texts had become digital audio and visual ﬁles. I photo-documented
or made copies of the ﬁrst round of textual responses and then sent those texts out
again for a second round, wherein each participant received a text from someone
else in the project to further engage and then return to me. The organization of
who received which text in the second phase was not a preplanned arrangement.
I sent the texts out for the second round based on when they ﬁrst arrived to me
(time-ordered) and based on the convenience of transport (large heavy objects
were easier to deliver rather than mail, and digital ﬁles were easier to email longer
physical distances). At the time of writing, I have 60 responses to the project with
The beginning “intertext” for this project was assembled from snippets pulled
from two separate books by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated from German by
two separate translators at two separate times (The Joyful Wisdom, translated by
Thomas Common, 1979; and Ecce Homo, translated by Walter Kaufmann, 1989).
I also took the liberty of moving the titles to the margins. I consider the assem-
bled intertext writerly in Roland Barthes’s (1974) sense of the word. A writerly
text destabilizes readers’ expectations and requires them to “write” the text while
“reading” it. According to Barthes, “The writerly text is ourselves writing before the
inﬁnite game of the world (the world as function) is traversed, intersected, stopped,
I NT R A T E X T UA L ENTANGLEMENTS | 93
plasticized by some singular system” (Barthes, 1974, p. 5). Writerly texts’ narrative
structure may be disjointed or nonlinear and give rise to myriad meanings.
The project’s Nietzschean excerpts are writerly in that the passages are dis-
jointed, intertextual assemblages of what I consider ﬂuctuating as both minor and
major concepts in the Deleuzo-Guattarian sense drawn from their book Kafka
(1986). According to Brian Massumi (2015), “Analysis of the minor concept and
its textual weave offers a singular angle of approach to the text as a whole, from
which new thoughts are more apt to emerge” (p. 62). Massumi suggest that major
concepts “carry dead weight. They are laden with baggage that exerts an inertial
resistance against effective variation. Minor concepts, once noticed, are self-levi-
tating” (p. 63).
The Ecce Homo portion of the assembled text discusses Nietzsche’s walking
practice and how he believes walking aids creativity. In that section he also explains
how during a walk in Switzerland an important idea or afﬁrmation came to him
as he passed a large pyramidal rock. I view the attention-to-walking section as a
minor concept in Nietzsche’s philosophy. The notion of afﬁrmation could be both
a major or minor concept depending on a reader’s familiarity with Nietzsche’s
writings. I pulled the bottom part of the text from The Joyful Wisdom (Gay Science),
which is a description of the afﬁrmation Nietzsche claims came to him during a
walk and is one of his more signiﬁcant philosophical notions—the eternal return.
Accordingly, it could be seen as a more major concept in which participants of the
project may have arrived at the text with a decided understanding of what eternal
return means to them. Within both the walking text and the eternal return text are
various other themes or concepts participants took up, including several focusing
on Nietzsche’s statement, “All prejudices come from the intestine,” as a productive
minor concept (Nietzsche, 1989, p. 240).
The method I’m using for this study is known as “research-creation.”
Research-creation is a blend of art, theory, and research (Truman & Springgay,
2015). In using research-creation, I take a new materialist view of creativity and
agency and recognize that they are, as Karen Barad (2007) states, “attributable to a
complex network of human and nonhuman agents, including historically speciﬁc
sets of material conditions that exceed the traditional notion of the individual”
(p. 23). Such a view is a departure from the anthropocentric approach prevalent in
much educational research.
Because the project is called Intratextual Entanglements it is necessary to
discuss what I mean as text, textuality, and intertextuality within this project. A
poststructuralist view of a text could be described as the meaning generated in
the relation between the semiotic or material conﬁgurations of a piece of writing
(or other kind of object) and the reader who activates it by viewing or reading
it. Fredric Jameson (1987) describes textuality as “a methodological hypothesis
whereby the objects of study of the human sciences are considered to constitute
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so many texts that we decipher and interpret” (p. 8). The notion of textuality, along
with many insights gained during the linguistic turn, has had signiﬁcant inﬂuence
in social science research by challenging the idea that data are separate from theory
and interpretation, thereby requiring researchers to situate themselves before
interpreting a text (be it a painting, linguistic, or some other form of text). Further,
intertextuality, as Julia Kristeva (1986) outlines it, is the acknowledgement “any
text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and trans-
formation of another” (p. 37). While I mainly support these positions on textuality
(including Barthes’s writerly texts), I believe they privilege preexisting coherent
humans as the main active agents and interpreters of the textual transformations
and privilege a representational approach to language. Of course, you can say that
humans are the interpreters of texts—and that may be true. But it is also true
that other material inﬂuences, what Joseph Grigley (1995) calls continuous tran-
sience (accretion or dissolution over time, or due to context) and discontinuous tran-
sience (a rupture or deliberate interference with the text) along with various other
nonhuman factors can alter a text’s meaning and productive force. Accordingly,
Graham Allen (2000) demonstrates the radical nature of Kristeva’s description of
intertextuality, which “encompasses that aspect of literary or other kinds of texts
which struggles against and subverts reason, the belief in unity of meaning or of
the human subject, which is therefore subversive to all ideas of the logical and the
unquestionable” (p. 45, italics mine). This view allows for mutability of the human
actors who encounter a text and approaches why Barad’s (2007) term “intra” rather
than “inter” textual is a suitable name for the project. Barad’s (2007) neologism
intra-action “signiﬁes the mutual constitution of entangled agencies” (p. 33, italics in
original). She explains that rather than the term “interaction,” which suggests
“separate individual agencies that precede their interaction,” intra-action suggests
that rather than distinct agencies (texts, humans, etc.) preceding intra-action, they
instead emerge through their interaction; as Barad states, “Agencies are only distinct
in relation to their mutual entanglement; they don’t exist as individual elements” (p. 33,
italics in original). This new materialist viewpoint is a departure from more tradi-
tional, humanist approaches to textuality or relationality, that is, the reading “I” is
emergent with the text in the act of reading.
PUBLIC P E D A G O G Y
The term “public pedagogy” can be used to describe myriad processes and spaces
of education outside of the formal school environment, including experiences
as diverse as media, spectacles, architecture, or books that are not within the
established school curriculum, but may well be part of a larger social curriculum
(Giroux, 2009). Critical public pedagogy could be described as interventions that
I NT R A T E X T UA L ENTANGLEMENTS | 95
rupture the affects and effects of public pedagogies through employing noncanon-
ical knowledge, de-familiarization, artistic interventions, and perhaps marginalia
or additions to an existing text on a page (Burdick, Sandlin, & O’Malley, 2013).
I posit that interactions wherein participants are encouraged to comment on, cri-
tique, and subvert an existing text could be considered an enactment of critical
Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández and Alexandra Matute (2013) argue that if
curriculum scholars are to continue using the term “public pedagogy,” we need
to highlight precisely what is “pedagogical about public pedagogy” (p. 54). Gaz-
tambide-Fernández and Matute conceive of pedagogy as a discussion of how
we “intentionally enter into relations premised on the ethical imperative of the
encounter” (p. 54). An ethical imperative implies an ethos and, arguably, a ped-
agogue (or researcher) who intentionally enters into relation with others and
inﬂuences them according to this ethos. Below, the traditional approaches to mar-
ginalia and marginalia research I cite fall into this understanding of a pedagogical
encounter. However, instead of viewing pedagogy as an intentional engagement
based on a preexisting set of known agents, each with its own ethos, the Intra-
textual Entanglement project exempliﬁes how an ethical imperative arises during
interactions with others rather than preexisting them.
In retrospect I view the public pedagogy of the Intratextual Entanglement
project as an example of emergent and generative public pedagogy. Pedagogy is
emergent because it does not preexist the material encounter of those involved.
Pedagogy is generative, or what Brian Massumi (2002) might call productivist,
because it has an inventive rather than predetermined outcome. According to
Massumi, a “productivist approach” accepts that “activities dedicated to thought
and writing are inventive” (p. 12). In such a view, Massumi outlines the tech-
niques of critical thinking and attempts to debunk existing claims (often prized
pursuits in the social sciences and humanities) as limited and even counterproduc-
tive. Massumi allows that of course there are times when critique is necessary but
should be used sparingly (p. 13). Similarly, Barad (2012) discusses how critique is
overrated and overutilized and is “all too often not a deconstructive practice, that
is, a practice of reading for the constitutive exclusions of those ideas we cannot do
without, but a destructive practice meant to dismiss, to turn aside, to put someone
or something down” (p. 49, italics mine). The participants’ entanglements show
the generative potential of different material interventions with a text that give rise
to varied pedagogical outcomes and varied publics.
Jane Bennett (2010), drawing from John Dewey, states, “A public is a contin-
gent and temporary formation existing alongside of many other publics, proto-
publics, and residual or postpublics” (p. 100). In this view, “at any given moment
many different publics are in the process of crystalizing and dissolving” around
a problem or, in this case, a text (p. 100). For Dewey, “conjoint actions” give rise
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to “multitudinous consequences,” which in turn may recombine with others and
coalesce around further problems that give rise to another public or, as Dewey
states, “group of persons especially affected” (as cited in Bennett, 2010, p. 101).
Moving away from an anthropocentric perspective, Bennett outlines how these
publics are not purely human domains but rather “sets of bodies affected by a
common problem generated by a pulsing swarm of activities” (p. 101). For both
Dewey and Bennett, members of a public are deﬁned in terms of their “affective
capacity” (p. 101).
THE M AT E R I A L I T Y O F L A N G U A G E
To help think through both the art project and this chapter, I’ve engaged Barad’s
(2007, 2012) discussions of entanglements and positioned the various participants’
material engagements with the texts as “apparatuses” through which a new text is
“diffractively” produced (Barad, 2007). Instead, using criticism as a modus operandi,
Barad takes up Donna Haraway’s suggestion of diffraction in much of her writing.
For Barad, in reading we look “for patterns of differences that make a difference …
in the sense of being suggestive, creative and visionary” (2007, pp. 49–50). Diffrac-
tion is what happens to waves when they pass through an aperture: they bend, intra-
act with other waves, create troughs where they cancel each other out and peaks
where they amplify each other, and that’s what generates a diffractive pattern. I use
the term “diffraction” with regard to both material and semiotic ﬁgurations of what
has happened and continues to happen in the project. And I’d like to extend the
thought to this chapter: it also conducts a diffractive approach in that I’m reading
insights from different areas of study through one another and a transdisciplinary
approach, where resonances and differences among varying theories (materials) are
articulated and affect what is produced (Barad, 2007).
The second term I’m implementing is “apparatus,” which is also from empir-
ical science. Apparatuses are assemblages rather than measuring devices, which,
according to Barad (2007), enact agential cuts (both ontic and semantic) and pro-
duce boundaries that give way to properties/objects/subjects. In the case of the
Nietzschean marginalia project, the apparatus would include the base Nietzsche
text and the situations from which it emerged (including Nietzsche’s famous walk
in Switzerland when he came up with the idea of the eternal return), the materials
of the ﬁrst and second entanglements, the social-material constraints mailing and
organizing the project, and me theorizing it. From a Baradian (2012) perspective
none of these members of the apparatus is ontologically preexistent but is rather
produced through the intra-action, is part of the intra-action; an apparatus does
not preexist an experiment but rather emerges from it. This has ramiﬁcations for
I NT R A T E X T UA L ENTANGLEMENTS | 97
educational research if I consider the “readers” (including myself as researcher)
who encounter a text as not entirely preexisting that encounter in the same way a
text, or to use another Baradian (2007) term, the “phenomenon” does not preexist
its being “read,” or “written” in the writerly sense. For Barad, phenomena are “spe-
ciﬁc material performances of the world” (p. 335) that demonstrate the ontological
inseparability (entanglements) of all intra-acting agencies in a given situation.
Signiﬁcantly, I don’t have to leave linguistic theorizing out of the materiality
of the project by designating language as a nonmaterial entity. Including the appa-
ratus in a diffractive reading based around a linguistic text necessarily includes
language as a material element but doesn’t give it more credence than other mate-
rial components of the phenomena. My survey of the history of marginal anno-
tation evidences that language is material and has material affects. Scribbles in
the margins of pieces of paper have material affects. So while I agree with many
new materialists’ ongoing critiques of the linguistic turn and believe it’s time lan-
guage was relieved from what Maggie MacLure (2013) calls its “imperial position
as mediator of the world” (p. 663), in this chapter I do not exclude language or
linguistic theorizing from the materiality of my research practice. I maintain that
language is a material force and material event but remember that it is not superior
to other material forces or events and is subject to the same emergent properties
A B A C K G R O U N D O N TEXTUAL MARGINALIA
Reading the margin shows that the page can be seen as a territory of contestation upon
which issues of political, religious, social and literary authority are fought. (Tribble,
1993, p. 2)
An overview of the material history of marginalia shows that the earliest humanis-
tic pedagogues—Erasmus and Mignault—created annotated versions of textbooks
to direct student learning (Grafton & Jardine, 1986). Teachers and students have
annotated and written in the margins of texts since before the age of print. Heather
Jackson (2001) glosses the centuries-old history of marginalia, its potential to inﬂu-
ence readers’ responses to texts, as well as disturb authors—for example, Virginia
Woolf, who had an intense dislike of marginalia as an assault on books (pp. 238–
240). Jackson draws from her research into Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a proliﬁc
annotator. Coleridge coined the term “marginalia” and often intentionally wrote
instructive marginalia in his friends’ books and annotated important sections of a
book “so that the friend would feel as though he or she were reading the book in
his company” (Jackson, 2005, p. 139). Historically marginalia were not the secret
notes commonly used today but semi-public documents orientated toward others.
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Considering the persuasive potential of marginal comments, William Slights
(1997) states, “Marginal annotation, whether printed or handwritten can radically
alter a reader’s interpretation of the centered text,” and some marginal comments
may even attempt to “control the very genealogy of the text” (p. 201). Further,
Jackson (2001) states that marginal notation can “introduce other facts and con-
tradictory opinions, the facts and opinions themselves being less signiﬁcant than
the demonstrated possibility of alternatives and opinions” (p. 241, italics mine).
The awareness of the mutability of a text is a radical thought, as is the awareness
of the capacity for readers/writers to exert the right to alter a text. Such awareness
highlights both the material differential inherent in an existing text (and person
intra-acting with a text) as well as the virtual potential of an existing text (and
person intra-acting with a text). In terms of the Intratextual Entanglement project
the various apparatuses that combine to generate a new text demonstrate how
art and marginalia affect readers differently, depending on what they bring to or
exclude from an encounter, or as Barad states, “Given a particular measuring appa-
ratus, certain properties become determinate” (2007, p. 19). And the affect-effect of
a text goes beyond human readers too, as Snaza (2015) states, “Marginalia can be
made in ink, pencil that necessarily affect the paper … a coffee spill in a library
book might make the paper more susceptible to rot” (unpaged marginal comment
in a draft of this chapter!).
Marginalia historians Jackson and Slights focus on how readers annotate
books and make statements about how such annotations affect readers. Although
these claims may be anecdotal, they point to an under-researched area in peda-
gogy: the affect of intertextual writing, teacher’s comments, and, in the instance
of online commentaries or art books, the input of complete strangers may alter
a reader’s encounter with a text—even if the text is deliberately writerly and the
reader is emergent. In a standards-driven school system, many students and teach-
ers still approach reading-response exercises with the intention of replicating the
“correct” interpretation of a text. Marginalia in this environment could become a
sinister practice, as Virginia Woolf warned, for steering students’ reading habits. It
is important that students and educators begin to understand the complexity and
possible persuasiveness of marginal discourse as well as the generative potential of
group reading practices. And while there is plentiful anecdotal evidence that mar-
ginal comments or commentaries affect future readers, until recently few studies
have been conducted to conﬁrm this long-held belief.
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A P P R O A C H E S TO GROUP “ READING/WRITING”
I mistrust all systematizers and I avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.
(Nietzsche, 2005, p. 159)
Several studies have attempted to evaluate how annotations enhance study skills
and textual recall on multiple-choice tests as well as codify annotative practices
(Heath, 1983; Fowler & Barker, 1974; Donahue & Feito, 2008). Joanna Wolfe’s
(2002) research with undergraduate English students demonstrates that marginal
comments inﬂuence students’ perceptions of the source text; passages with eval-
uative annotations are more effective than underlining in boosting student recall,
while, interestingly, the perceived position of an annotator has the ability to shape
readers’ responses to the text. For example, annotations by a professor, teacher,
or person the student believes is an authority affect the way the text is received;
accordingly, many students were “swayed in the direction of the gloss’s valence
(i.e., positive evaluations uplifted students’ ratings of source arguments, and neg-
ative evaluations depressed their ratings)” (Wolfe, p. 319). Wolfe’s study conﬁrms
what many educators—from Erasmus to the current day—have known about the
power of marginal commentaries to affect the reception and interpretation of a
text. The ability of “negative” comments to affect how a reader relates to a source
has pedagogical implications for writing practices as well as reading practices. For
example, when a teacher returns a piece of writing to a student, if the comments in
the margin are mainly negative at the beginning, the student may disengage from
In their development of a taxonomy of annotative reading practices, literary
theorist Patricia Donahue and psychologist Jose Feito (2008) discuss Wolfgang
Iser’s notion of repertoire as an element that develops through the reading pro-
cess. According to Iser, the text, as well as the reader, has a repertoire of, ﬁrst,
“familiar literary patterns and recurrent literary themes, together with allusions
to familiar social and historical contexts,” and, second, a repertoire that includes
“techniques or strategies used to set the familiar against the unfamiliar” (1972, p.
293). A reader will relate to the text and the text’s gaps differently, depending on
the repertoire they possess before encountering the text. And the reader’s reper-
toire will be affected by the texts they read, causing them to change as a reader
through experience (Iser, 1972, p. 285; Donahue & Feito, p. 300). Although the
above viewpoints are arguably anthropocentric, they illustrate how reading and
meaning-making are collaborative exercises: linguistic markings are not merely
transparent media for representing human meaning, and marks, ruptures, or com-
ments on a text produce a new text.
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Moving from solely linguistically based approaches to collaboration, Brian
Massumi (2015) discusses SenseLab’s pedagogical technique of “conceptual speed
dating” as a “collective encounter between a group of readers and a text” (p. 66). I
had the opportunity to participate in a conceptual speed-dating event at SenseLab
in Quebec during the autumn of 2013. A concept was presented to a large group
of participants who, in turn, created artistic “activations” of the concept and later
circulated the room in ﬁve-minute stints learning from each of the other groups
based on their activations as if speed dating. In high school English classes, I’ve
used a similar group reading activity with students called “The Market,” where
small groups of students each explore a different element of a text in detail and
then circulate the room and pick up the “produce” of the various “market stalls.”
In both conceptual speed dating and the market stall scenarios (interesting meta-
phors!), participants’ understandings and the text are pushed out of their pre-es-
C R E AT I V E VECTORS
Deleuze and Guattari state that reading is a “productive use of the literary machine
… a schizoid exercise that extracts from the text its revolutionary force” (2004,
p. 116). The Intratextual Entanglement project extracts and vectorizes the revo-
lutionary forces of the intertext, and many iterations of the project medially use
recursion to push the intertext in both form and content.
The following section will highlight a few of the texts and show how by view-
ing them with different apparatuses (which include the linguistic vectors used
to organize them below) different patterns emerge. Because the 60-plus entan-
glements with the intertext now span various media, and this is a codex form of
dissemination, I am limited in which texts I can engage within this format and
how I can discuss them here. Necessarily the audio, ﬁlm, and animated gif texts
can’t be reproduced here.
According to Deleuze (1994), representation “mediates everything, but mobi-
lizes and moves nothing” (pp. 55–56). With the write-up of this chapter I encoun-
ter another issue present in new materialist approaches to research: a questioning
of representational practices. MacLure argues, “Representational thinking still
regulates much of what would be considered qualitative research methodology”
(p. 658) and discusses how coding and categorizing of data reveal patterns and
regularities through retroactively making things “stand still” (p. 662). In the Intra-
textual Entanglement project the variations that ﬂourished in the ongoing texts
exemplify a move away from representational thought (thought that presumes
I NT R A T E X T UA L ENTANGLEMENTS | 101
pre-existent ontologically distinct objects that can only be known through repre-
sentations). Accordingly, in writing up this chapter I am cognizant of not wanting
to now pin the texts down and label them like specimens and state what they mean,
as it would undermine the whole project. Rather than coding the texts by what
they are/mean a more-than-representational approach requires a consideration of
how they do/provoke. And considering such things brings thought into the appara-
tus as another material element.
Accordingly, thinking through, theorizing, and writing up this chapter
are now parts of an apparatus that will produce a new text/phenomenon. As
McCormack (2015) states, “Thinking…is already empirical” (p. 95). This chap-
ter, instead of representing the Intratextual Entanglements’ meanings, becomes
a new event that demonstrates how “experimenting and theorizing are both
dynamic practices that play a constitutive role in the production of objects and
subjects and matter and meaning” (Barad, 2007, p. 56). The texts continue to
Under these constraints I do not attempt to maintain an ontological distinc-
tion between texts in the project and what’s (re)produced here. The images below
have been grouped together in Photoshop and are interspersed with some theories,
titles, and cutlines in the margins. I’ve included the participants’ names as other
vectors (intertexts) in the production.
The eternal return is a force of afﬁrmation, but it afﬁrms everything of the multiple, every-
thing of the different, everything of chance except what subordinates them to the One, the
Same, and the Necessary. (Deleuze, 1994, p. 115)
RECURSION AND M AT E R I A L I T Y
Many participants experimented with the materiality of both form and content
of text, which was pushed further by the next participant’s engagement in the
Recursion is the act of turning a text’s logic back on itself. Many participants
in the project experimented with the recursion of the eternal return in both form
102 | S AR A H E. TRUMAN
Figure 7.1 Clockwise from top: Christine Brault and Kent den Heyer’s entangled circular nest of
text, Taien Ng-Chan’s and Kwoi Gin’s origami folded frogs, Yam Lau and Daniel Barney’s diffracted
sprouting text, Stephanie Springgay’s felted rocks.
CRITICAL AND GENERATIVE
The texts demonstrate Barad’s (2007) notion of agency that posits that changing
possibilities for (intra-)acting exist at every moment, and such possibilities entail
an “ethical obligation to intra-act responsibly in the world’s becoming, to con-
test and rework what matters and what is excluded from mattering” (Barad, 2007,
p. 178, italics mine). Several entanglements took up a critical yet generative
response to Nietzsche as a philosopher or the content of the intertext.
I NT R A T E X T UA L ENTANGLEMENTS | 103
Figure 7.2 Clockwise from top: William Goodall’s pointillist drawing, Rosina Kazi’s diffracted
woman and text on a broken mirror, Daniel Barney’s wheelchair marginalia beside Nietzsche’s “sit as
little as possible,” and Joe Ollmann’s cartoon marginal mockery of Nietzsche.
AFFIRMATION AND MOVEMENT
Movement, for its part, implies a plurality of centers, a superposition of perspectives, a
tangle of points of view, a coextend of moments which essentially distort representation.
(Deleuze, 1994, p. 56).
The following entanglements each took up Nietzsche’s call to movement and
challenged representational approaches to language. Erin Manning wrote a series
of propositions using imperative voice, as Nietzsche did, and activated movement
Propositions for an Entanglement (By Erin Manning)
1. Believe not in thoughts that stem from the desk, but in thoughts born
2. A thought always comes in from the outside.
3. Take the outside for what it is: don’t try to digest it. All prejudices come from
104 | S AR A H E. TRUMAN
4. Take the thought for a walk 6,000 feet beyond man and time.
5. But don’t wear yourself out. I stopped. It was then that this idea came to me.
6. Let thought move you.
7. Live it, spirally. Interminably.
April Russell moved off the page completely and danced her entanglement with
Nietzsche’s intertext. After marking the page and feeling limited by the conﬁnes
of textual space she proposed to, instead, meet fellow participant Carl Leggo in
Vancouver and dance her marginalia. I was informed of the arrangement but was
not present, nor was the event video-recorded. Several weeks later I received this
intra-textual ekphrastic poem in the mail from Carl:
Sarah invited me
with a few scraps
I wrote a poem
because a poem
always seems an apt
way to respond
to any text.
When Sarah asked April
and me to entangle, we met
in a grassy meadow behind
I invited Logan
to join me as a witness
because Logan lives
with a wild spirit
and I want to.
Like a poem’s long breath
I knew Logan could hold
whatever happened in the
behind the Museum.
April invited Celeste as her
we met in the meadow
on a September day
with the promise of rain.
I have known Celeste
a long time, and I love her for
being a celestial spirit who
the erotics of each day.
April invited us all
to walk in the meadow,
attend to breath,
and return with a gift.
I found a stone,
like Mirabelle often stops
amidst countless stones, and
she names special.
Rain began and stopped,
and April invited me
to move in the meadow,
to return, to know again
As we moved
with our eyes closed, Logan
made sure we didn’t
fall off the edge.
While there is no record
of what happened
next except in memory
I am still ﬁlled with
angst anger hurt horror.
While I twirled lurched
hunched squat grew small in
a wound ripped open
in my memory.
My body remembered
what I didn’t know it knew
(family stories secrets scan-
a hole, never whole.
Logan, Celeste, April
& I were the same,
except I had died
behind the Museum
of stored memories.
Each day is now
a new birth where
the past is the same
but different, seen through
I NT R A T E X T UA L ENTANGLEMENTS | 105
FURTHER T H O U G H T S
In the ﬁnal paragraph of the intertext, the excerpt from The Joyful Wisdom intro-
duces a kernel of Nietzsche’s thought that developed into the eternal return. The
eternal return has been taken up by many philosophers, notably Gilles Deleuze
(2006), to explicate afﬁrmation, multiplicity, and difference as opposed to the
common interpretation of it as a nihilistic stance of sameness forever repeating.
Deleuze considers Nietzsche’s eternal return an autotelic, creative process of
becoming that also includes the ethical imperative toward the future when it asks
readers to consider to will in such a way that you “will its eternal return” (p. 68).
Deleuze explores these ideas further when he (1994) describes difference as the
creative becoming of the world; for Deleuze difference does not arise from nega-
tion (as in different from) but from afﬁrmation!
Engaging with the proliferating texts in this project demonstrates how read-
ing/writing can be an afﬁrming, more-than-human, and more-than-textual prop-
osition. As stated at the beginning of the chapter “I” (I maintain using that term
out of habit) am very much fabricated and pulled apart in this process: speciﬁcally,
the various intra-actions with the text have made me reconsider my own major
reading of the eternal return, a version of it I’d asserted since my undergraduate
degree, and recognize that reading is not the act of a subject but something that
emerges from within a complex entanglement.
Accordingly, the project shows the mutability and materiality of texts (and
opinions), the ongoing productive potential of texts and group reading/writing
practices, as well as the emergent quality of pedagogy produced through the mate-
rial encounters with intra-acting elements. This does not mean that pedagogy
lacks an ethical imperative but, rather, the ethics of what becomes pedagogical is
emergent in each encounter.
To access the rest of the texts in the project, which include animated gifs, audio com-
positions, and other media, visit www.sarahetruman.com.
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