“rhetoric’s mechanics: retooling the equipment of writing production”

Rice traces to functions of *mechanical* in rhet/comp – the historical concept of techne as one and the association of mechanics with grammar. She adds that in a course/program/context where digital composing is commonplace, producing texts requires technical, mechanical knowledge of technology. She asks: Where exactly does the constructive rhetorical work of production begin or end? How mechanical is rhetorical production, and where does that leave those of us who call ourselves rhetorical producers? What role does the mechanical knowledge of technology play in rhetoric and composition?

In her article, she reinvigorates personal pedagogies with a commitment to engaging the means (mechanics) of production.

She coins a term – “rhetorical mechanics” à  More than an instrumental knowledge of technology, rhetorical mechanics is the material practice of enactment. Embracing such productive skills is thus a move away from instrumentalism. (think the rhetorical part of Digital Studio work) –> considering the best medium and the best delivery with production as a primary goal of composition, a kind of work that includes learning the equipment/software/hardware needed during composition. In other words, technology is an available means of persuasion, of rhetorical action, and a means of deploying texts for rhetorical action

KEY QUOTE: Again, however, acting as rhetorical mechanics means more than simply learning how to use software or equipment. The mechanics of rhetoric’s production involves imagination, improvisation, and enactment. Thus, while expanding availability of digital equipment corresponds with an increasing ease in using those resources, we must also keep the rhetorical aspect of mechanics in mind [i.e. the use of digital technologies as a kind of invention]

Further (like Rhodes and Alexander), she invites composition teachers to practice a kind of rhetorical mechanics: “to figure out ways of caring about the world with the available means of technology” One avenue is through creating conference presentations – media presentations – that provide an exigence for increased awareness of digital media and mechanics

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