Conclusion – Stomp Box Logic

Stomp Box Logic extends Box Logic’s primary concern with human affect and the rhetorical method of juxtaposition to a primary concern with system feedback and a rhetorical method of looping and layering.

Feedback, in writing studies, typically means giving a paper to another human being so they can give more written (or sometimes oral) commentary on the writing so the author can use that information to revise the text. But in the examples above human beings aren’t the primary source of feedback, making the primary audience something other than human. My initial the breakdown of primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences can be approached from both theoretical and rhetorical models.

Heidegger Ede/Lunsford Stomp Box Logic 
Specific Manipulability Audience Addressed Objects/Technologies
Assignment Context Audience Invoked Assemblages
Human Dasein Eventual Audience Human Affects


  • Objects, whether they are produced through nature or human techne, exist prior to the rhetorical act and must be attended to as in Ede and Lunsford’s audience addressed because they have certain material specific manipulabilities that constrain the rhetorical situation.
  • Assemblages are gathered around and through the rhetorical act and operate in conjunction with human invention as in audience invoked—all of the specific manipulabilities of all of the objects in question (natural, technical, human, and textual) create the conditions of possibility for emergent lines of flight and human affects.
  • Human affect ultimately becomes an instrument-effect of the complex system rather than an effect of two-dimensional juxtaposition. They are an effect of the system but also feedback into it as part of its production, gathering, and functionality, forming an unanticipatable eventual audience.


Ultimately, Stomp Box Logic takes into account more of these layered and looped system constraints and possibilities than the accidental shuffle Suquet sees in Duchamp that grounds Sirc’s Box Logic.



Sirc’s Box Logic

Sirc’s paradigmatic box is The Green Box. He cites Jean Suquet’s take on it to develop his own box logic:

Ninety-four scraps of paper bearing plans, drawings, hastily jotted notes, and freely drawn rough drafts were delivered in bulk. It was up to the reader to shuffle these cards as he or she pleased. There was no author’s name on the cover; the work appeared anonymous and as if offered to the blowing winds. In light of this, I had not the least scruple, when opening it for the first time in 1949 at the request of André Breton, in making it speak (with Marcel Duchamp’s consent) in my own voice; and out of its sparkling randomness, I began fishing words that resonated with something I felt deep inside me, something obscure yet promising illumination. If an interior journey goes deep enough, at some point it arrives where all roads meet. (qtd. 112)

Sirc reads in this an affective encounter with the box, where Duchamp’s experiences and Suquet’s meet, mix, and recombine through the shuffle of the cards—a recurring image of the emergent logic of complexity.

Geoffrey Sirc

Geoffrey Sirc – An Affective Encounter

Box Logic, then, is a “format or method” that offers a “grammar” for transcending essayist prose by creating a space for storing and exhibiting thoughts and passions. The box, for Sirc, is a means to and end—a technology, medium, or method whose affordances create affects, both expressive and conceptual (113). In short, it is both an architecture and an approach to the production of digital texts. Students archive personal collections of texts and images, deriving textual pleasure form their arrangement, juxtaposition, and recombination (113-14).

Sirc’s Eye in a Box

Expanding on this base with a collection of other thinkers who work with the space of a box—Joseph Cornel, Walter Benjamin, George Maciunas—Sirc adds to Duchamp’s logic objects, textiles, music boxes, even sound or noise, built into collages, all arranged into compositional containers via juxtaposition and associational schemes. I’m extending his puncept into more recent digital boxes to develop a stomp box logic.

Intro – Overview

This project extends Geoffrey Sirc’s use of the box as a compositional space in his essay “Box Logic” to include the looped and layered sounds in

  • Boss’s RC-30 Dual Loop Station Guitar Pedal, or stomp box;
  • Ashanti’s Beatjazz, a new digital genre played through the digital boxes he developed as improvisational instruments; and
  • Björk’s Biophilia, her new app-album arranged in the space of the iPad as a compositional box.

In each, fragments of sound are collected, looped, and layered to produce feedback and generate the kinds of buzz, feelings, and affects Sirc sees in Duchamp and is after in his writing assignments. While these sound technologies aren’t as readily available and used as social networking, blogging, presentation, and video technologies, their logics can provide insights into future compositional methods for working with digital spaces and objects.

These examples suggest implications for materialist rhetorics and the role of audience in rhetorical situations. Composers are writing to:

  • the objects and machines and as a primary audience,
  • the entire system or assemblage as a secondary audience, with
  • the human affects created through the system’s feedback as a tertiary audience.

Audience, in short, becomes the rhetorical situation writ-large.