But it is not simply the object asserting itself in the milieu of light, information, and electricity. Much more is encoded in the image: indexes of past readings and the act of scanning itself.
An incomplete inventory of modifications to the book through reading and other typical events in the life of the thing: folded pages, underlines, marginal notes, erasures, personal symbolic systems, coffee spills, signatures, stamps, tears, etc. Intimacy between reader and text marking the pages, suggesting some distant future palimpsest in which the original text has finally given way to a mass of negligible marks.
Whereas the effects of reading are cumulative, the scan is a singular event. Pages are spread and pressed flat against a sheet of glass. The binding stretches, occasionally to the point of breaking. A camera driven by a geared down motor slides slowly down the surface of the page. Slight movement by the person scanning (who is also a scanner; this is a man-machine performance) before the scan is complete produces a slight motion blur, the type goes askew, maybe a finger enters the frame of the image. The glass is rarely covered in its entirety by the book and these windows into the actual room where the scanning is done are ultimately rendered as solid, censored black. After the physical scanning process comes post-production. Software—automated or not—straightens the image, corrects the contrast, crops out the useless bits, sharpens the text, and occasionally even attempts to read it. All of this computation wants to repress any traces of reading and scanning, with the obvious goal of returning to the pure book, or an even more Platonic form.
And here’s a link to the open source platform, the Public School, one of Sean’s many excellent online projects with videos by Silvia Federici and Deleuze amongst others.