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Sunday, February 27, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Evan Lavender-Smith

iPad Opens World to Disabled Boy*

1. iPad; iPad Opens

iPad. Neither iDevice among iDevices nor device among devices—no more or less rabbit than cell phone—but rather the emblem and embodiment of a new contiguity between human and device. The headline refers us to a relation within a relation. The first, proceeding without us, is interior to the device: a rendezvous of circuitry and fleshiness to which we are always already late.
iPad Opens. The second relation, constituted by holding the first relation in your hand. The fact that you are holding a device does not constitute the primary (interior) relation between human and device, but rather the secondary (exterior) relation. What you are holding in your hand already has a relation embodied in it, thus the experience is wholly different from holding a "regular" device in your hand. What distinguishes the iPad is its presentation of a human–device contiguity even before you grasp it. It has approached the human–device relation from the other end, so to speak—from the perspective of the device. Even when the device is alone, it is already sticky, already becoming fleshy.

2. iPad Opens World vis-à-vis iPad Opens [the] World contra iPad Opens [a] World

a) iPad Opens [the] World. The phenomenological "world" (Heidegger): iPad as complementary prosthesis granting its bearer access to the/his world.
b) iPad Opens [the]2 World. The logical-positivist "world" (Wittgenstein): iPad as complementary prosthesis granting its bearer access to the/our world.
c) iPad Opens [a] World. The modal-realist "world" (Leibniz/Lewis): iPad as supplementary (auxiliary) prosthesis granting its bearer access to a/another world.

3. Disabled Boy

a) Disabled Boy vis-à-vis 2a. World more open than closed. The disabled boy is lacking an access point (or multiple points) to the/his world (e.g. a left arm) and the device serves as a substitute (e.g. a prosthetic left arm), or serves to augment an extant access point (e.g. a second hand for his right arm; a smarter brain; wings). It is unnecessary to think the iPad as multiple (i.e. relationally) in this scenario; the iPad needn't be more than a device among devices. E.g. iPad Teaches Dyslexic Boy to Read.
b) Disabled Boy vis-à-vis 2b. World more closed than open. The disabled boy is lacking access as such (e.g. he is largely sensory deprived, etc.) and the device serves as an example—via its interior human–device relation in correspondence with its exterior human–device relation—of the comportment of a/the human to the/our world.
c) Disabled Boy vis-à-vis 2c. World more world than world. The disabled boy is granted access to a possible world in which an encounter between the interior and exterior relations occurs such that the concept of relation is thought along the infinitesimal boundary between its interior and exterior manifestations. The boy's spirit is now free to delve into the device, and his disability is rendered insignificant, thus:

iPad Opens [Another] World to Disabled Boy

*Apple.com Hot News Headline, 11/01/2010.

Evan Lavender-Smith is the author of From Old Notebooks (2010) and Avatar (2011), the editor of Noemi Press and the prose editor of Puerto del Sol. He teaches creative writing at New Mexico State University.


  1. E! I loved this! Great work! :)

  2. Soo good. Did you write it on your iPad?

  3. I am doing research for my university thesis, thanks for your great points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.

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