Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Humument

As far as issues of narrative within The Humument go, there seems to be a very vague narrative, or at least a series of connected ideas. While there are a few characters that pop in and out of the book and each page has some bearing on the ones before and after it, there isn’t what could be traditionally considered a story. This, in part, is where it seems to be most poetic. The abstraction of the narrative and the events happening in whatever narrative there is can be attributed to The Humument’s poetics.

Also of note is the attention given to The Humument’s visual component. The visuals on each page seem to be more carefully considered than any of the traditionally poetic elements of it (i.e. word choice). This brings up concerns over the correlation of any visual element of a page to the particular words chosen to be singled on the page. The visuals on each page are notably distinct from the visuals on the other pages and seem to be set up to distinctly relate to the words chosen on the particular page. For instance, a page in which abstract art is mentioned, a representation of abstract art is presented on the page.

Notable is page 73 on which there appears to be relatively no visual element to the poetics of the page, although if one looks close, Tom Phillips has cut up and mixed up words to describe a particular sex scene and make a lot of sex jokes. Within the context of the work as a whole, this seems to work really well since it draws attention to itself as a piece of text rather than having a very important visual element to it. When one reads the actual text on the page, it’s really funny with various “ughs” inserted throughout the text and words cut up to be assembled into the words “cock tease”. Since the actual text on the page is meant to be considered as a whole, the choice to not include any immediately visible visual manipulation seems to be a wise one.