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Kirschenbaum (Finish) Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: “…hypertext is a mechanism, what Aarseth calls a cybertext - the scriptons on the screen arrive there as a result of a set of procedural transactions by which certain txtons are promoted to screen-level in accordance with reader choice and the underlying programmatic logic of the work,” (Mechanisms 166).

It is once again confirmed in this quote that the user/reader needs to have previous knowledge of the program that they are using in order to effectively understand the author’s intentions. Or maybe they just need to grasp the author’s intentions in order to learn the work? This reminded me of a comment that I left on Stormy’s blog the other day that dealt with the implicit knowledge that is required when using certain types of new media. There is no doubt that if you have a previous know-how about anything you will like it, understand it, and be able to appreciate it more. A little further along in this section Kirschenbaum mentions the temporality of electronic literature.

“The impermanence of electronic literature cuts both ways: as there is no lasting success, there is also no failure the needs to last,” (Mechanisms 166).

I think that this probably adds to the draw of electronic literature and specifically interactive fiction. They are really trial and error programs that you have to play a million times to really get through, but each time you get a little further along and learn from your previous mistakes. In contrast Kirschenbaum refers to the “immutability of printed literature” meaning that it can’t be changed and is set in stone each time we read it. The versatility of cybertexts has to be commended here.

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Comments (3)

Rachel Prichard:

I agree with the idea of the programs being a trail and error experience. though at time they can be frustrating, it has helped the technology grow more.

The way in which we learn programs and software specifically translates in to the way which we learn other things as well. The class New Media Projects taps into this a lot.


You're right, Leslie. Technological literacy gives us the skills to handle experiences with new media and the ability to intuit the right way to interact with a digital device or program.

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