text

Before textual technologies, there was no text. Before computers and word processors dealt with fixed 1-dimensional arrays of characters, typewriters placed letters in a grid—but not a particularly fixed one— anywhere on a page, and the letters intermingled with writing and white-out and whatever else you could stick on. Before typewriters imposed (or suggested) the grid, to write by hand was to suggest your own lines, to form letters as necessary and useful, to cross out, underline, squiggle. Before that, what? Figures? A little arithmetic, a little ritual signification? At a certain point there wasn’t even the 2-dimensional plane.