1 & 2 ins & outs
by drew davidson
Defend or refute the following:
Performance plays such a minor role in the reading or writing of hypertexts that a study
Performance plays such a major role in the writing and reading of
of that role would not result in a significant contribution to our understanding of either
hypertexts that to not study that role would result in a significant gap
performance or hypertexts.
in our understanding of both performance and hypertexts.
Write a brief history of hypertext that focuses on fiction and poetry. Since performance of literature has been much taken with theories of intertextuality, particularly in the 1980's, and since intertextuality plays a considerable role in hypertextual experiments, that topic ought to be featured in you narrative. If possible, indicate who are some of the key players in fiction/poetic hypertexts (e.g. Coover, Joyce, Bly, Rosenberg) and use specific works by them to illustrate points you want to make about hypertextual literature and/or its history.
In truth, reading and writing in any media can be seen as performative acts. Ever since Barthes pronounced the death of the author, the act of reading has been explored as an active, participatory process in which readers engage and bring out the meaning(s) of the text upon each and every reading (142). Indeed, with post-structural thought in full gear, readers create the meaning(s) of the text in their readings. As Foucault has noted, the author merely serves a function now, whereas the reader fulfills the meaning of the text (138). To be honest, I am concurrently interested in the performance of the writer who crafts and creates the text that is then read. I believe the author's function is a performative one. The moment the text is being written is one that is lost forever once it is read. Once the writer is finished and offers the text to readers and their readings, then the baby they have nurtured and gestated has not only been born, but has grown up and is now living on its own. The author is important, and I find that focusing solely on the reader leaves out a large part of the equation. Granted, authorial intention is a problematic beast to address. But, I believe the author is an integral part of the process. A process, I might add, that is indeed, performative.
Hypertext, as a medium, merely makes manifest this performative post-structural theory of reading. The reader actually has to actively make the meaning of the text emerge. The narrative of a hypertextual piece only progresses when the reader chooses a link. And the variations of the meanings are theoretically limitless. This potentially infinite array of meaning can be seen on the web. The reader of a web page can click on any link and go to almost any other page ad infinitum and ad nauseum. So, the meaning of these hypertextual pieces truly does not emerge until a reader actively navigates through the links. The eventual meaning(s) depend on the reader's pointing and clicking. To make my initial point, I believe that the reader is an active performer in her/his engagement with a hypertext. Each and every reading of a hypertextual document is going to be different depending on the reader's situation in time and space and the reader's choices through the reading. The meaning emerges from, and dies in, the moment of the performance of reading.
As Phelan has shown us, performance is of, and in, the moment (146). The performative moment of hypertext occurs with the reader clicking through a multilinear path. By multilinear I mean that there are a number of potential paths a reader can chose to follow, but all of them progress along a linear experience. The reader will have a beginning, middle and end to each and every reading experience, even though each experience will be different. To use the word path is somewhat misleading though. Granted, the reader is choosing a direction for the narrative to progress so there is the allusion and illusion of a spatial metaphor. But like Gertrude Stein noted about Oakland, CA, on the internet, there is no there, there. There really is not a topography to hypertext, but, as Negroponte illustrates, there is a topology ("Being Local"). A reader can make a map of her/his narrative progress through and across various links, but what they are really doing is discovering for themselves the associative connections that link the various pages and ideas. So, the reader is not really going anywhere, there is no path that s/he is following, just a series of associative linkings that enable the narrative to progress and the meaning to emerge.
"American Studies Web: Literature and Hypertext." Links about hypertext and fiction put together by the American Studies Department at Georgetown University.
Writing "criticism and theory within a hypertext environment" incorporates "the medium's characteristic multivocality, open-endedness, multilinear organization, greater inclusion of nontextual information, and fundamental reconfiguration of authorship . . . and of status relations in the text" (Landow, 36). It opens up the meaning of the critque itself. That said, "what is a critic to do? The answer, finally, must be Write in hypertext itself" (36). We can best utilize and explore the medium thorugh our attempts to write in it. "The border-violating collage-writing of [hypertext] offers a form of academic discourse capable of emphasizing imagination, discovery, and unexpected crossovers" (39).
"There is no simple way to say this" (Joyce).
And we may learn something new.
Jim Rosenberg boldly notes, that "if you truly believe in hypertext then you must be prepared for those who believe that we have not arrived at hypertext until we begin forming individual thoughts that are hypertext, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way" (Schmundt, 314).
Hypertext is an important medium to explore because it is not only a synthesis of this post-structural theory of reading, but it has become a synthesis of other media as well. From it's textual origins in Memex to it's multimedia explosion on the web, hypertext has always allowed the reader to have a limited interactive and performative experience. The reader has always been an active, engaged participant in the creation of the meaning. With the web and interactive CD-ROMs, multiple media have been combined in increasely more seamless fashion. A hypertextual document is a space where you can follow the juxtaposition and interaction of multiple media. You can utilize different media and see what they can mean and do together by combining video, text, music, and graphics into one document. The performance takes place with each reading as the various media support, interrupt, compete and complement each other in one piece. The interactive multimedia synthesis made available through hypertext will push us to look at how meaning is created in our messages to each other. Messages are sent across and through a variety of media and an infinity of tellings and readings. Hypertext enables us to perform our ideas transmedia.
I am interested to see and explore how dealing with issues of hypertext and performance will differ/change with my efforts to create an interactive multimedia document. I believe one will have a completely different textual experience with a performative piece than they have with a piece of paper. The best way to find out is to do it (Kay 206). And that, I believe is for the best. Computers have the "capacity to represent action in which humans [can] participate" (Laurel 1). So, looking at the computer in terms of a medium, we should focus on the action (134). Or in other words, it's time to act . . .
A computer as a medium is a place where one can lose yourself in. It can be written in, treated as a text, and read. In many ways it complicates the issues around these three processes (reading, writing, texting). In thinking about a way to further explore and employ these ideas, I am drawn in the direction of utilizing the medium of the computer to critique itself in what it can do. This drive has been picked up in part by having read articles by Arnold Berleant and Roger Shattuck. Berleant, in his article, "Surrogate Theories of Art," advocates studying one's experience with art, instead of reducing it to nonperceptual, nonaesthetic modes of experience. In other words, we should focus on the process, the event of our experience with a text, and not get bogged down in interpretation of the text itself. Although with a computer the experience and interpretation can be seen as somewhat synonymous. If we look at the binary coder as the creator of a message and then look at us using the OS as the receiver of the message, then the experience of interaction can be seen as an interpretation of the operating system's meaning (Holmqvist 223). So, to text a computer is to first interpret the interface and then get actively submerged in the stories therein.
"What is Hypertext?" An explanation of hypertext by Charles Deemer
"A New Art Form: Hypertext Fiction" by Howard S. Becker
The process of reading has become a highly complicated one. Computers as a medium overtly call our attention to this complexity. With its ability to present a diverse array of media along with forms of interactivity, a computer allows for a very active experience with multi- and multiple media. Words, graphics, animations, video, sound, movement, space, etc., all add up in the experience of a computer. Looking at the computer in terms of writing, text and reading is heavily mediated by concerns of interface and the variety of levels within this medium. Interface and levels of reading seem unique to computers if only because they are need to be so explicitly foregrounded in the discussion of the computer as medium.
"Hyperizons: Hypertext Fiction" An amazing site on hyperfiction by Michael Shumate
Intertextuality "invites the readers to recognize the 'tangle of imposed understandings; inherent in cultural events and experiences (Long and Strine, 467). "Textual materials are complex, multiple, overlapping, coexistent, juxta-posed, in a word 'inter-textual'"(467). With multimedia hypertext, a reader creates the meaning of the text when the words are read and the images are seen simultaneously (468). "The appeal of intertextual reading does not lie in its orderliness: it is in fact, quite messy. Affirming amiguity, complexity and process, it holds no promise for stability or closure in reading. The texts before us are constantly changing, even as we are" (474). "perhaps it is this very lack of certainty that makes the provisional connections embrcaed by intertextuality both comforting and instructive, connections that dignify the experience of the reader, democratizing the entire reading process. In order to know, we need more perspectives than our own, more than the monologic voices of author-ity. Intertextuality fosters a ways of being in the world that assumes all of us bring something complex to our experiences, that we are capable of acting, of engaging others, including texts, and not simply reacting to them" (474).
Hypertext is a very cool medium. "So much has to be filled in by," the reader (McLuhan, 23).
"My game is for the reader - that's you - to perform your own synthesis, if synthesis is your game" (Stone, 30). It is the "challenge of how to best convey information to an imagined "reader"" (31).
Aarseth, Espen J. "Nonlinearity and Literary Theory." Hyper/Text/Theory. ed. George P. Landow. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1994.
Auslander, Philip. Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1992.
Bakhtin, M.M. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981.
Barthes, Roland. Roland Barthes. Berkeley: U of California P, 1977.
---. Image-Music-Text. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.
---. The Pleasure of the Text. New York: Hill and Wang, 1975.
Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. New York: Schocken Books, 1968.
Berk, Emily and Joseph Devlin. "A Hypertext Timeline." Hypertext/Hypermedia Handbook. eds. Emily Berk and Joseph Devlin. New York: Intertext Publications, 1991.
Berleant, Arnold. The Aesthetic Field. Springfield: Thomas, 1970.
Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. New York, Oxford UP, 1973.
---. "Poetry, Revisionism, Repression." Critical Theory Since 1965. Eds. Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle. Tallahassee: Florida State UP, 1986.
*Carroll, Jon. "(D)Riven." http://wwww.wired.com/wired/5.09/riven.html.
@22 pages. September, 1997.
*---. "Guerillas in the Myst." http://wwww.wired.com/wired/2.08/features/myst.html. @ 10 pages. 1993.
Coover, Robert. "Hyperfiction: Novels for the Computer." New York Times Book Review. August 29, 1993, p1, col 1.
Crawford, T. Hugh. "Paterson, Memex, and Hypertext." American Literary History. 8(4), Winter 1996: 665-683.
Deleuze, Gilles. "First Series of Paradoxes of Pure Becoming." ??? 1969.
Derrida, Jacques. Margins of Philosophy. U of Chicago P, 1982.
Dibbell, Julian. "A Rape in Cyberspace; or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Doznes Turned a Database into a Society" High Noon on the Electronic Frontier. ed. Peter Ludlow. New York: MIT P, 1996.
Douglas, J. Yellowlees. "'How Do I Stop This Thing?': Closure and Indeterminacy in Interactive Narratives." Hyper/Text/Theory. ed. George P. Landow. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1994.
Durey, Jill Felicity. "The state of Interplay in Intertextuality." Style. 25(4), Winter 1991: 616-636.
Fish, Stanley. "Interpreting the Variorum." Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism. Ed. Jane P. Tompkins. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1980.
Foucault, Michel. "What is an Author?" Critical Theory Since 1965. Eds. Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle. Tallahassee: Florida State UP, 1986.
Frow, John. "Intertextuality and ontology." Intertextuality: Theories and Practices. eds. Judith Still and Michael Worton. New York: Manchester UP, 1990.
Gennette, Gerard. Narrative Discourse. Cornell UP, New York, 1980.
Goldstein, Harry. "The Changing Shape of Fiction." Utne Reader. 62, March-April 1994: 131-132.
Gray, Paul H. and James vanOosting. Performance in Life and Literature. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996
Holmqvist, Berit. "Face to Interface." The Computer as Medium. Eds. Peter Bøgh Andersen, Berit Holmqvist and Jens F. Jensen. Denmark: Cambridge UP, 1993.
Kay, Alan. "User Interface: A Personal View." The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design. Ed. Brenda Laurel. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1995.
Kristeva, Julia. Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. New York: Columbia UP, 1980.
Landow, George P. Hypertext. John Hopkins UP, Baltimore, 1992.
---. "What's a Critic to Do? Critical Theory in the Age of Hypertext." Hyper/Text/Theory. ed. George P. Landow. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1994.
Laurel, Brenda. Computers as Theatre. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1993.
Leary, Timothy. "The Interpersonal, Interactive, Interdimesional Interface." The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design. Ed. Brenda Laurel. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1995.
Long, Beverly Whitaker and Mary Susan Strine. "Reading Intertextually: Multiple Mediations and Critical Practice." Quarterly Journal of Speech. 75, 1989: 467-475.
Lu, Alvin. "Jack in the Text: From Multimedia to Hypertext, The written Word Finds a New Home." ETC. 50(4) Winter, 1993: 496-501.
Mcluhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man. Cambridge:
MIT P, 1995.
Miles, David. "The CD-ROM Novel Myst and McLuhan's Fourth Law of Media: Myst and Its 'Retrievals.'" Journal of Communication, 46(2), Spring, 4-17.
Miller, Rand and Robyn. Myst. CD-ROM game, Cyan, Broderbund. 1993.
---. Riven. CD-ROM game, Cyan, Red Orb, Broderbund. 1997.
*Negroponte, Nicholas. "Being Local." http://www.wired.com/wired/4.11/negroponte.html. @ 1 page. 1996.
Phelan, Peggy. Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. New York: Routledge, 1993.
Poulet, Georges. "Criticism and the Experience of Interiority." Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-Structuralism. Ed. Jane P. Tompkins. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1980.
Riffaterre, Michael. "Compulsory Reader Response: the Intertexual Drive." Intertextuality: Theories and Practices. eds. Judith Still and Michael Worton. New York: Manchester UP, 1990.
---. "Intertexuality Vs. Hypertextuality." New Literary History, 25(4), Autumn, 1994, 779-789.
Sayre, Henry. The Object of Performance. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1989.
---. "Performance." Critical Terms for Literary Study. Eds. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987.
Schmundt, Himar. "Hyperfiction: the Romanticism of the Information Revolution." Southern Humanities Review. 29(4) Fall 1995: 309-319.
Shattuck, Roger. "How to Rescue Literature." NYRB. April 17, 1980.
Shiff, Richard. "Realism of low resolution." Apollo. 144 (November 1996): 3-8.
Sontag, Susan. Against Interpretation. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969.
Stern, Carol Simpson and Bruce Henderson. Performance: Texts and Contexts. New York: Longman, 1993.
Still, Judith and Michael Worton. "Introduction." Intertextuality: Theories and Practices. eds. Judith Still and Michael Worton. New York: Manchester UP, 1990.
Stone, Allucquere Rosanne. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age. Cambridge: MIT P, 1995.
Ulmer, Gregory L. "The Miranda Warnings: An Experiment in Hyperrhetoric." Hyper/Text/Theory. ed. George P. Landow. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1994.
Heuvel, Michael Vandon. Performing Drama/Dramatizing Performance: Alternative Theater and the Dramatic Text. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1993.
White, Hayden. The Content of the Form. Johns Hopkins UP, Baltimore, 1987.
Wimsatt, W.K. and Monroe C. Beardsley. "The Affective Fallacy." Critical Theory since Plato. Ed. Hazard Adams. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971.
---. "The Intentional Fallacy." Critical Theory since Plato. Ed. Hazard Adams. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971.
*Note: The two articles by Jon Carroll and the Negroponte article were written for Wired magazine and compiled on their web site. The included addresses will take you to the web page of the articles, which are basically long scrolls that then print out to be about 22 pages for "(D)Riven" and about 10 pages for "Guerillas in the Myst" and 1 page for "Being Local." Since there is no pagination per se, I have referred to a cite's location in terms of what quarter of the article the cite resides (1,2,3,4).
American Studies Department, Georgetown University. "Hypermedia Timeline--1945- 1994." http://www.dsu.edu/guide/www.guide.app.a.html
---. "American Studies Web: Literature and Hypertext." http://www.georgetown.edu/crossroads/asw/lit.html#hypertext
Becker, Howard S. "A New Art Form: Hypertext Fiction." http://weber.u.washington.edu/~hbecker/lisbon.html
Blair, David. "WAXweb. " http://bug.village.virginia.edu/
Bolter, Jay David. "Degrees of Freedom." http://www.lcc.gatech.edu/~bolter/degrees.html
Brown University. "Robert Coover." http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/HTatBrown/CooverOV. html
Bush, Vannevar. "As We May Think."
Davidson, Drew and Andrew Glikman. "Reading the Web: The Maze & The Landscape." http://www.actlab.utexas.edu:80/~maufrais/hyper.html
Deemer, Charles. "What is Hypertext?"
Eastgate Publishing. "Hypertext Fiction." http://www.eastgate.com/catalog/Fiction.html
Fauth, Jurgen. "Poles in Your Face: The Promises and Pitfalls of Hyperfiction." http://sushi.st.usm.edu/mrw/06sept/06-jurge.html
Glikman, Andrew. "The Maze & The Landscape: A Rhetoric of Expectations, Warrants, and Links." http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~glik/mz-land/start.html
Goldpaugh, Tom. "Hypertext Sites."http://www.academic.marist.edu/hsite.htm
Guyer, Carolyn. "Written on the Web."
Johnson, Jeffrey and Maurizio Oliva. "Internet Textuality: Toward Interactive Multilinear Narrative." http://italia.hum.utah.edu/~maurizio/pmc/
Joyce, Michael. "Afternoon: a Story." http://iberia.vassar.edu/~mijoyce/Afternoon.html
Keep, Christopher, and etal. "The Electronic Labyrinth."
Kendall, Robert. "Writing for the New Millennium: The Birth of Electronic Literature." http://www.wenet.net/~rkendall/pw1.htm
Moulthrop, Stuart. "Victory Garden." http://www.eastgate.com/catalog/VictoryGarden.html
Rees, Gareth. "Tree Fiction on the World Wide Web." http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/gdr11/tree-fiction.html
Rosenberg, Jim. "Poetics and other Prose." http://www.well.com/user/jer/
Shumate, Michael. "From Page to Screen" http://www.duke.edu/~mshumate/print.html#precursors
---. "Hyperizons: Hypertext Fiction." http://www.duke.edu/~mshumate/hyperfic.html
---. "Main Fiction Index." http://www.duke.edu/~mshumate/list01.html
---. "Theory and Technique." http://www.duke.edu/~mshumate/theory.html
Stone, Sandy. "Goddess of the Web." http://www.actlab.utexas.edu:80/~sandy/
Suggestions for Readings
(to be followed or ignored as desired)
1) Read a couple of selections from the "Ins & Outs" folder
2) Read some selections from both "Literature" and "Fiction" folders
3) Read a couple of selections from the "Text(s)" folder
4) Read a few more from "Ins & Outs"
5) Repeat as necessary
PS- feel free to follow the links and
a blank sheet has been provided
to help read the transparencies