Logic vs Faith: Textual Animation to Form New Meaning

An Exploration by Jordan Tucker


“Faith,” by Robert Kendall, uses five stages of textual animation to manipulate the meaning of given phrases in order to challenge the reader’s preconceived notions of faith and logic.

In the piece, the word logic falls on the word faith written in font straight out of an illuminated manuscript. A phrase then appears, in regular font, “logic can’t bend this” spaced out within the window. As the reader moves through the stages, more words appear and fill in between the words already given to the reader. By the fifth stage, words have been moved around, replaced, spaced out for other letters to come between, and some all together removed in order to tell its story. Different colors are used throughout the stages in order to keep the reader on track with what words came in during which stage. This technique gives the reader a better handle on the progression of the story. Each stage brings a new meaning as well as new words. One could say that the author recontextualizes the work’s pervious words in order to present his statement. Or maybe it is not a recontextualization, but rather an expansion of the work without taking away from the original work.
With the birth of New Media comes the birth of new literary elements. The strongest aspect of this piece is the way the author, to put it simply, moves the text and adds to the text. Kendall has words fall into specific places on the page so that they can be read a certain way but then the animations add new words within the space of the web browser window. With each increase of animation, the reader must reread the words with new context, allowing new ideas to form.

In the first stage, the author has, “Faith: logic can’t bend this.” In stage two the new words appear, “I edge logic out. Can’t the mind press on around the bend to consummate this vision of the deep “or”?” With the addition of words to the first wave’s concept, new context is formed.. That’s just adding words, not moving them around. Stage three then says, “I hedge. Oh red winking neon logic. No, I just can’t make the sunny side of my mind press the black button, think around the bend of theory to be only this consummate “o.” this visionary “r” of the deeper world.” Words have now expanded to create new phrases between the letters that had formed the previous stage, in order to bring the next stage of understanding to the text, all while keeping the original idea of the text intact by color coding the letters by stage.

“…to leave behind only this consummate poem, this visionary, incorruptible transcript of the deeper world’s One True Word: Leap.” This sentence really struck me as powerful and encouraging. Kendall, who seems to have struggled with understanding logic and faith and how they could possibly be formed together, has accepted that faith is sometimes not seeing what’s in front of you, but still pressing forward in life. I also see the capitalization of “One True Word” and think of scripture and how it is the breathed word of God and how his followers take him on faith for some aspects.

Ideas and statements can be told in much different fashions than just the common speech. Ideas and statements, made by people, can be artfully crafted and cleverly formed in order to provoke thinking and musings of concepts that may not have been thought of in one light, but bright as the sun in another light. I should look for ways to better state my ideas and if need be, reword my statement for others to understand. Perhaps a life lesson has been learned and not just an academic one.


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