Re: [-empyre-] various posts
I've read both yr emails Patrick, and agree (to the degree that I
understand you ) that these different cyber environments you mention might
produce very different types of multi-dimentionsal structures, and ones
impossible in print. However structure isn't the same as narrative, while
navigating information seems to be something different again, so I'm not
sure that you can necesarily talk about them all in the same breath. I'm
intrigued by your use of the word narrative here which seems to imply some
kind of story element: of course once you start to push narrative to its
limits you often end up with the breakdown of narrative and the
predominance of poetic (the one exists in the other). But it does seem
to me that the kind of multidimensional environments you describe could
push narartive into much more complex spatio -temporal realisations and
reader /writer relationships than we've previously experienced, and that
these structures could still be recognisable as narratives, however
overlayed and multiplicitous they might be.
Thanks for your insight, Hazel. I also apologize if I am juggling too many
concepts at the same time. as I'm spread rather thinly, and that can cause
me to operate under a fairly abstracted mindset...
I don't actually mean to imply that narrative and structure are the same,
but I would posit that they are interrelated. In addition, navigation is
related to both of these, so therefore I was speaking of them
synergistically, which can be confusing, as to me I have trouble speaking
about one element in this representational web without perturbing the other
elements. However, I do realize that others consider these elements in a
textual representation as distinct and separable aspects of a composition.
Secondly, I want to give my respects to those who are speaking of the
manipulation of symbols and words to create pieces, and my apologies for
going to the meta level.
Therefore let me go to a concrete example. My piece, Grasping at Bits
(http://www.voyd.com/gab) is an example of what I'm talking about. The
essay was written as stand-alone lexia that convey concise pieces of
information regarding issues of art and intellectual property in light of
the Internet. The essay was then 'structured' (in the narrative sense) so
that each paragraph could have numerous links, creating an
associative/probabilistic sense of flow. Note that this is very different
from a hyperlink which infers a singular link to a given item. In this
case, I was giving 4-5 simultaneous links to a given topic.
What does this do to narrative? It takes the link or the linear progression
(and I believe that in hyperlinking there may be non-linearity, but it is a
distinct causal linkage taking you from one point to another) and creates a
narrative 'range' of relations. I've always considered this as a
sculptural form of writing, as I _am_ creating a narrative, but in very
different terms than traditional hyperlinking. But that takes it back to
synaesthenic relations by adding a more haptic element to reading. In this
case, narrative flow has been interwoven with the structure, and the
structure is part of the HCI. Perhaps narrative is breaking down and
giving rise to a more poetic form, but I would argue that what is happening
is the construction of a different form of narrative. I realize that this
is an atypical example of the convergence of narrative, structure and HCI,
but hope that my referencing it makes more sense.
For reference, I am also not going into the layered narrative structure
inside the piece, as I wrote it with five possible configurations from
which the reader can go through the essay, and this is not even including
the embedded footnotes. I had to literally think/write in terms of
multivalence, which was exceedingly difficult at times, but became merely
difficult once I devised a schema for outlining that was
spatial/probabilistic in nature. In many ways it was akin to going from
working in 2-d to 3-d or higher.
If I could devise a way to continue using such interfaces in ways that I
can set up rather easily (unfortunately, Plumb is difficult to use, and The
Brain has stopped being available to individuals), I would like to explore
creating literary works using such devices. Of course, Borges comes to
mind, and that brings us back to Bookchin's Invader. However, I do think
that poetic/prosaic works that use my narrative 'style' might be
interesting, and I'm talking with a NYC playwright about doing just this.
I realize that I could expand my thought here a great deal, btu my hopes
are that I am communicating the gist of the idea here.
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