ABSTRACT

This chapter shows how the line, in the course of its history, has been gradually shorn of the movement that gave rise to it. Once the trace of a continuous gesture, the line has been fragmented, under the sway of modernity, into a succession of points or dots. Although the connecting lines have to be executed in a determinate sequence, the pattern they eventually form, much as in a child's join-the-dots puzzle is already given as a virtual object from the outset. To complete the pattern is not to take a line for a walk but rather to engage in a process of construction or assembly, in which every linear segment serves as a joint, welding together the elements of the pattern into a totality of a higher order. Even seafarers make their way along invisible lines. In effect, the practice of transport converts every trail into the equivalent of a dotted line.