Re: [-empyre-] Writing Culture

another interesting book is Janet Murray´s "Hamlet on the Hollodeck".

One of my favourite quotes is from this book:

"As in the case of printing press, the invention of the camera lead to
a period of incunabula, of 'cradle films'. In the first three decades
of the twentieth century, filmakers collectively invented the medium
by inventing all the major elements of filmic storytelling, including
the close-up, the case scene, and the standard feature length. The key
to this development was seizing on the unique physical properties of
film: the way the camera could be moved; the way lens could open,
close, and change focus; the way the celluloid processed light; the
way the strips o film could be cut up and reassembled. By agressively
exploring and exploiting these physical properties, filmakers changed
a mere recording technology into an expressive medium.

Narrative films were originally called photoplays and were at first
thought of as a merely additive art form (photography plus theater)
created by pointing a static camera at a stagelike set. Photoplays
gave way to movies when filmmakers learned, for example, to create
suspense by cutting between two separate action (the child in the
burning building and the firemen coming to the rescue); to create
character and mood by visual means (the menacing villain backlit and
seen from a low angle); to use a "montage" of discontinuous shots to
estabilish a larger action (the impeding massacre visible in a line of
marching soldiers, an old man´s frightened face, a baby carriage
tottering on the brink of a stone starway).


Now, one hundred years after the arrival of the motion pictures
camera, we have the arrival of the modern computer, capable of hooking
up to a global internet, and of controlling a laptop display or a
hundred-foot screen. Can we imaginge the future of electronic
narrative any more easily than Gutenberg´s contemporaries could have
imagined 'War and Peace' or than the Parisians novelty seekers of 1895
could have imagined 'High Noon'?

One of the lessons we can learn from the history of film is that
additive formulations like "photo-play" or the contemporary catchall
"multimedia" are a sign that the medium is in an early stage of
development and is still depending on formats derived from earlier
technologies instead of exploiting its own expressive power. Today the
derivative mind-set is apparent in the conception of cyberspace as a
place to view "pages" of print or "clips" of moving video and of
CD-ROMs as offering "extended books". The equivalent of the filmed
play of the early 1900s is the multimedia scaprbook (on CD-ROM or as a
"site" on the World Wide Web), which takes advantage of the novelty of
the computer delivery without utilizing its intrinsic properties"

I do not see history as linearly evolutive as Murray´s seem to do, but
reading this made me reconsider a lot of the thinking I have been
doing for my maste thesis (this is already sometime ago ;p), when the
idea of "hypertext" and books such as "Hypermedia and Literary
Studies", by Paul Delany and George Landow, "Writing Spaces", by Jay
David Bolter and "Hypertext 2.0", by Landow, were must reads. They are
all excelent books, and important references for everyone researching
on the field, but it was this little excepert from Murray´s text that
made me think about more broader possibilities, as far as digital
writing is concerned.

btw, does anyone on the list have a clue about how digital media will
be in a hundred years?


On 10/20/05, James Barrett <> wrote:
> I know this was all of two days ago and thus feels quite old in the
> conversation (the speed of digital writing!) but Katherine Hayles spoke at
> my institution a month ago on her new book, My Mother Was a Computer:
> Digital Subjects and Literary Texts.
> The video stream and details of this fascinating seminar are here:
> and the podcast is here:
> /jim
> > N. Katherine Hayles has had a series of excellent books that have
> > been very influential for me. She also talks extensively about
> > pattern in How We Became Post Human.
> >
> > Hayles also is a bridge builder when it comes to art/science (whole
> > mind) issues...
> >
> > Books
> >
> > The Cosmic Web: Scientific Field Models and Literary Strategies in
> > the Twentieth Century (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984).
> >
> > Chaos Bound: Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature and
> > Science (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).  Translated into
> > Spanish as La Evolucion del Caos: El Orden dentro del desorden en
> > las ciencias contemporaneas (Barcelona: Gedisa, 1993).
> >
> > Chaos and Order:  Complex Dynamics in Literature and Science.
> > (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
> >                                 An essay collection edited by Hayles.
> >
> > Technocriticism and Hypernarrative.  A special issue of Modern Fiction
> > Studies  43, no. 3 (Fall 1997) guest-edited by Hayles, with introduction
> >                                 and article.
> >
> > How We Became Posthuman:  Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics ,Literature
> > and Informatics  (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1999.)  Winner of
> > Rene
> > Wellek Prize for Best Book in Literary Theory for 1998-1999, American
> > Comparative
> > Literature Association.   Winner of the Eaton Award for the Best Book
> > in Science Fiction
> > Theory and Criticism, 1998-99.   Named as one of the best 25 books of 1999
> > by
> > Village Voice.
> >
> > Literature for Posthumans, Mediawork Pamphlet Series, MIT Press.
> >               Anticipated completion, December 2001.
> >
> > Coding the Signifier:  Rethinking Semiosis from the Telegraph to the
> > Computer.
> >               Under contract to the University of Chicago Press.
> > Anticipated completion
> >               December 2002.
> >
> >
> > --
> > Professor Bill Seaman, Ph.D.
> > Department  Head
> > Digital+ Media Department (Graduate Division)
> > Rhode Island School of Design
> > Two College St.
> > Providence, R.I. 02903-4956
> > 401 277 4956
> > fax 401 277 4966
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Doctoral Student, Umeå University
> Department of Modern Languages/HUMlab
> +46 (0)90 786 6584
> HUMlab.Umeå University.SE-901 87.Umeå.Sweden
> Blog:
> HUMlab:
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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