Hypertext is only the Beginning

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Soliloquy - Kenneth Goldsmith - My initial reaction was something along the lines of "Uh...What?  Why?"  Goldsmith's Soliloquy is a copy of every word he spoke in a week, and it was first presented as a gallery exhibit, and then was published as a book.  So I when I read the introduction to this piece, I was really wondering why anyone would bother to do this.  But I discovered that reading one man's words, exactly as he spoke them, reveals a certain cadence.  I started to read the words in rhythm, almost like they were a rap or set to music.  The text reveals the cadence that we forget we have, or forget to listen to, when we speak.  So from here, you can form many conclusions and arguments about speech, text, human nature and the interaction between them.  However, I don't think the electronic version adds anything to the text that couldn't otherwise be deduced from reading it in print.

The Dreamlife of Letters - I thought this was really interesting!  I was starting to feel a sense of monotony in the electronic fiction works, with all their short passages, links, and almost predictably confusing text.  This "text" was a poem in video form, and it conveys the sense of electronic fiction in more of a presentation than an interaction.  Although you aren’t clicking on links, there is still a definite feeling of unpredictability, exploration and interpretation.

Faith - Now this I really loved.  It is another multimedia poem, but it took all the elements I like about the Dreamlife of Letters, and put them in a more traditional poem, creating a very interesting and engrossing juxtaposition between traditional and contemporary poetry.  I thought it was kind of ironic too that not only a was traditionally formatted poem being presented in such a modern form, but that the poem's subject was so traditional as well - Faith, a subject as old as time itself!  But there it was, flashing, moving, twisting, contorting, and posing fundamental intellectual questions all through my computer screen.

Regime Change -  This strikes me as hypertext "nonfiction."  If The Heist, The Body, and The University of Yellow Paper are works of electronic fiction, Regime Change is the non-fiction version; more specifically, it's like the quasi-journalistic version of electronic literature.  It investigates a political issue, the nation's initial attacks on Iraq, in a hypertext format delivered right to computer screen.  You get the freedom of investigation and non-linear reading, while still being able to re-read without clicking the back button; the boxes are all there for you.  So it is a more guided version of electronic text, providing more guidance to compensate for its nonfiction and more complex subject matter. 

 

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1 Comments

Jed Fetterman said:

It is interesting what you say about the Dreamlife of Letters. It is the text that probably comes the closest to our traditional ideas of what entertainment and art are, but since we have a bunch of links on all of the other ones, it feels like it is less interactive.

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