The Dynamics of Text

Any time I think of text Michael Wesch comes to mind for his works on YouTube Anthropology. If you haven’t seen it then it is worth watching, all 56 minutes of it here. Even though YouTube is a video platform he makes compelling use of textual statements to make an intriguing commentary about how text is changing in society. This is a subtext to the core subject of YouTube, but fascinating nonetheless.

Here is a much shorter clip, less than 5 minutes, that demonstrates the power of animated text to tell a story about how text is changing in our culture through the Internet.


The subject is information but the story is told through animated text. I like the images of old file systems, card catalogues, microfilm, and then the progression to word processing screens and finally Google. Throughout textual statements are written and changed using the successive technologies.

For me, this clip raises the question about trust in what is written when text has become so dynamic. The old dusty books we could trust because when you opened them they always stated the same words in the same order. Tomorrow you may read this post and it may have changed. In fact in five minutes you may read this post and it may have changed.

I realize that this is part of a continuum of trust. Much like the Mark’s posting of the the Black Robe story, of the First Nations people not trusting the words inked in the book, each culture in its time and place must make sense and learn to trust all over again.

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