In the following presentation Learning about Relevance in a World that does not Read, Chus Martínez recalled a reluctant visit to the archives of Walter Benjamin, in which she encountered the scholar’s radically unusual codification and configuration of files. Martinez considered this experience in the context of contemporary codes, declaring that Benjamin was not trying to destroy the format of the book but was rather attempting to produce an epistemological condition so radical its meaning is only becoming clear now that the conditions that made the book possible for many years have further destabilised.
Martinez believes that as a result of these changed conditions, there exists a major problem with reading. The discussion that followed centred on how the approach to reading can be restructured. Semantic definitions of reading were debated (administrative reading demands a great deal of time but is perhaps closer to skimming), as well as literature’s resilient ability to withstand abbreviation and non-linear reading in a way which code cannot.