Reading Words

Reading has the potential to be an immersive experience, yet at other times distractions take over. External stimuli provide stumbling blocks to absorption in the words and narrative. Each page is crowded with words, and despite its linear structure, the eye often skitters across the page, drawn to specific words or phrases that leap out from the plane of text. The same passage is read over and over, as an internal dialogue takes over from the text.

 

In The Rustle of Language Roland Barthes explores the experience of looking up from a book while reading, as language is constructed in the mind of the reader. He writes:

 

'Has it never happened, as you were reading a book, that you kept stopping as you read, not because you weren't interested, but because you were: because of a flow of ideas, stimuli, associations? In a word, haven't you ever happened to read while looking up from your book?'

 

Reading Words is a material exploration of the thought processes, external stimuli, and other distractions that occur simultaneously while reading. I take Jean-Paul Sartre’s book Words as reading material and interrupt the flow of the narrative with thoughts and distractions that respond to fragments of the original text.

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