Assembly in the Wild
A work of phenomenal relation, organization, and cognition, each assembly is determined by a previous assembly. Each is known only insofar as it assembles in relation to other assemblies. Individually, we cannot hope to attain the ultimate in assembly work; we can only seek it, therefore, for the community of assemblers.
At some point in life or perhaps all the time one searches for a public in writing. The public consists of all those who are affected by the indirect consequences of assembly. This is the sheer “fact of association” (Dewey), and while there is no sense in asking how individuals come to be associated, it makes a lot of sense to inquire after the method and practice of association. Assembly poetics aspires to an inquiry of this order and is in that sense a second-generation “poetics of inquiry” with links to pragmatism and the skeptical, non-rationalist tradition going back to the rhetorical projects of Erasmus and Montaigne.
In writing through inquiry, an assembly technician assays the problem of assembly and association as a first-order occupation. The coordination or grouping of assembly technicians must therefore at all times be an experimental process. Interpersonist allegiances, as assemblies in their own right, must always be rediscovered. Assembly is in this light an integrating principle without guaranteeing or demanding a whole-hog commitment to any singular movement or act of integration.
More than flux but less than stasis, assembly coordinates organs and organizes coordinates. It is always physical even in the zones of plastic renewal such as on the Web or between Blogs. Assembly groups parts for an emergent hyperfictive-critical stance whose public reach always exceeds its private grasp.