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 ( 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.

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.