Session 2 / Death of the Author


(13 min : 53 sec.)

digital video essay as durational performance, morse code, violet ray and W+W typeface

This second session continues to address and build on the ideas presented in Session 1 / Are We Electric?. Session 2: Death of the Author (DOTA) utilizes Roland Barthes’ seminal essay, Death of the Author, as a source text for a deeper investigation of these ideas through a multi/trans-media exploration of the essay, which itself functions as catalyst and contextual evidence grounded semiotics and the theory of electracy.

In the spirit of Henri Chopin, Barthes’ essay is uttered/transmitted from the reader/user/performer and captured via contact mics affixed to non-oral resonating points of the body; obfuscating the linguistic authority of the author and the text itself. During oration electric shocks are administered via a violet ray[1] at points when errors/glitches occurred after processing/reproducing the essay through multiple translation platforms (book > .PDF > .Docx > online morse generator + W+W* > morse [sonic] > morse [code] > .docx) whose visual forms also obfuscate the uttering body. These shocks illuminate and punctuate these errors while interfering in both oral utterance and electric transmission—an effort to keep the original transference of knowledge whole by retrieving what was lost in translation.

It is an attempt to perform what Barthes has written without losing its essence. 

/ / / this work, as video essay and performance, was published in Textshop Experiments, Vol. 4, Winter 2018: From Digital to Print and is available to for viewing there / / /


[1] “A violet ray is an antique medical appliance used during the early 20th century in the obsolete medical therapy called electrotherapy. Their construction usually feature a combination of a disruptive discharge coil with an interrupter to apply a high voltage, high frequency, and low current to the human body for therapeutic purposes.” (Wikipedia)

*W+W is a "typeface" designed by H.R. Buechler in response to re-visualize the sonic occurrence of morse, consisting of a pattern of thick and thin lines.