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screen lit logic (ci.5410.11)

The challenge for the composer, then, is to capture that memory-laden thrill for the viewer, inventing a uniquely visionary world from carefully chosen fragments of the existing one.

from "Box Logic" by Geoffrey Sirc in Writing New Media

Reading Geoffry Sirc's description of what he calls "box logic" has opened up new ways for me to think about video composition. First of all, it is his description of the writer not as creator of text rather as the selector and collector of statements (p.116) and his use of the box as a space to see text as a collection (p.112). In seeing text as a box, we move away from the linear norm of prose and "renew existence" (p.121) of objects by placing these words, phrases, images, sounds, etc. into new settings.

This focus on collecting as composition highlights the interpretive work that goes into choosing and layering different forms of media together such as the intermixing of sound, image, and text done in video composition. Much like in writing, Sirc claims that there is a material desire involved in this practice of collecting. (p.1190

This focus on desire, helped me to realize when I was tapping into the box logic and when I was not. For example, my first attempt was this box logic composition on ice fishing. Unlike Jen Budenski's box logic on Princesses as a cult of womandhood, my piece captures no "memory-laden thrill" and displays no interpretive insight, or as Sirc would call it "poetry" In fact, I had little desire to revise or revisit this piece even though I was interested in the topic.

All that said, I did experience much pleasure when picking and placing the material statements for the video composition below, which I argue is a form of box logic in itself. While it probably doesn't offer any interpretive insight, I do feel that it pulls together different semiotic forms to construct and capture a "memory-laden thrill" at least for those related to my son, Oliver.

In "Papie, Pizza & Poop" all of the video clips were randomly filmed. By themselves they offer no coherent narrative. Yet, pulled together under the guise of "first words" they become a collection of sound bites. The music, with its nostalgic feel, also plays into this collection of sound and adds to the memory thrill.

Papie, Pizza & Poop

words words.png

Overall, I would say that my mommy blog, Oliver Haiku, is a form of box logic. It is here that I use technology to scrapbook. In so doing, I renew the practice of scrapbooking. While the materiality is different, in its digital rather than physical presence, it is still material. Most notable is the power of sound whether voice, or music and how it impacts the body via emotion. I surely could go on and on about this, but I'll stop here for now, certain to return later.


I love the film that you made! It's difficult to express what a treasure it is. I'm kicking myself for not having our video camera out more. Was it the box logic process that allowed you to put it together so coherently? The alphabet transitions are brilliant.