From Media Design: Networked & Lens-Based wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

literary analysis should awaken to the importance of media-specific analysis, a mode of critical attention which recognizes that all texts are instantiated and that the nature of the medium in which they are instantiated matters

notion of materiality. Materiality is reconceptualized as the interplay between a text's physical characteristics and its signifying strategies, a move that entwines instantiation and signification at the outset. This definition opens the possibility of considering texts as embodied entities while still maintaining a central focus on interpretation

"From Work to Text" (1986).

"The metaphor of the Text is that of the network," Barthes writes (1986: 61).

"the text must not be understood as a computable object"

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin Remediation: media constantly engage in a recursive dynamic of imitating each other, incorporating aspects of competing media into themselves while simultaneously flaunting the advantages that their own forms of mediation offer (offering readers the opportunity to dog-ear electronic pages.many print texts are now imitating electronic hypertexts.etc)

Media-specific analysis (MSA) attends both to the specificity of the form—the fact that the Voyager paper clip is an image rather than a piece of bent metal—and to citations and imitations of one medium in another.MSA moves from the language of "text" to a more precise vocabulary of screen and page, digital program and analogue interface, code and ink

literary hypertext. =>>> hypertext ought to be reserved for electronic texts instantiated in digital media. In my view, this is a mistake, Hayles disagrees, When Vannevar Bush, widely credited with the invention of hypertext, imagined a hypertextual system, it was not electronic but mechanical. If we restrict the term hypertext to digital media, we lose the opportunity to understand how a literary genre mutates and transforms when it is instantiated in different media The power of MSA comes from holding one term constant across media—in this case, the genre of literary hypertext—and then varying the media to explore how medium-specific constraints and possibilities shape texts. Understanding literature as the interplay between form and medium, MSA insists that "texts" must always be embodied to exist in the world. The materiality of those embodiments [End Page 69] interacts dynamically with linguistic, rhetorical, and literary practices to create the effects we call literature

Mark Rose-Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright (1993),legal theorists such as William Blackstone defined a literary work as consisting solely of its "style and sentiment." "These alone constitute its identity," "The paper and print are merely accidents, which serve as vehicles to convey that style and sentiment to a distance" (quoted in Rose 1993: 89). but it was not practical to copyright "sentiment," for some ideas are so general they cannot be attributed to any single author: that men are mortal, for example. Rather, it was not ideas in themselves but the ways in which ideas were expressed that could be secured as literary property and hence copyrighted.

This judicial history had important consequences for literature that went beyond purely legal considerations: it helped to solidify the literary author as a man (male) of original genius who created literary property by mixing his intellectual labor with the materials afforded him by nature, (like Locke-men created private property by mixing their labor with the land)

In these discourses, material and economic considerations, although they had force in the real world, were elided or erased in favor of an emphasis on literary property as an intellectual construction that owed nothing to the medium in which it was embodied s. With significant exceptions, print literature was widely regarded as not having a body, only a speaking mind

a view that insists that [electronic] texts are immaterial makes it difficult to understand the significance of importing print texts into electronic environments

the computer can simulate so successfully only because it differs profoundly from print in its physical properties and dynamic processes

materiality should be understood as existing in complex dynamic interplay with content, coming into focus or fading into the background, depending on what performances the work enacts

Interpretation cannot be generated by the apparatus alone, independently of how it is used in specific works

The crucial move is to reconceptualize materiality as the interplay between a text's physical characteristics and its signifying strategies. This definition opens the possibility of considering texts as embodied entities while still maintaining a central focus on interpretation. In this view of materiality, it is not merely an inert collection of physical properties but a dynamic quality that emerges from the interplay between the text as a physical artifact, its conceptual content, and the interpretive activities of readers and writers. Materiality thus cannot be specified in advance; rather, it occupies a borderland—or better, performs as connective tissue—joining the physical and mental, the artifact and the use

Hypertext, understood as a genre that can be implemented in both print and digital media, offers an ideal opportunity to explore the dynamic interaction between the artifactual characteristics and the interpretation that materiality embodies. Like all literature, hypertext has a body (or rather many bodies), and the rich connections between its physical properties and the processes that constitute it as something to be read make up together that elusive object we call a "text"—and that I want now to call instead a codex book or stitched pamphlet or CD-ROM or Web site

Following Jane Yellowlees Douglas and others, I propose that hypertext has at a minimum the following characteristics: multiple reading paths; some kind of linking mechanism; and chunked text (that is, text that can be treated as discrete units and linked to one another in various arrangements

A print encyclopedia, for example, qualifies as a hypertext because it has multiple reading paths

Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home (1987), where the audio tapes afford multiple ways to access this multimedia text; Philip Zimmerman's artist's book High Tension (1993), where a multiplicity of reading paths is created,d Robert Coover's "The Babysitter" (2000 [1969]), a short story that pushes toward hypertext by juxtaposing contradictory and nonsequential events, suggesting many simultaneously existing time lines

the text's materiality provides resources that writers and readers can mobilize in specific ways

remediation, the simulation of medium-specific effects in another medium

Point One: Electronic Hypertexts Are Dynamic Images. In the computer, the signifier exists not as a durably inscribed flat mark but as a screenic image produced by layers of code precisely correlated through correspondence rules words function as both verbal signifiers and visual images whose kinetic qualities also convey meaning (Hayles 1999b) david knoebel-breathe


An important difference between print and electronic hypertext is the accessibility of print pages compared

Whereas all the words and images in the print text are immediately accessible to view, the linked words in Knobel's poem become visible to the user only when they appear through the cursor's action. Code always has some layers that remain invisible and inaccessible to most users.---iceberg--

print is flat, code is deep.

Point Two: Electronic Hypertexts Include Both Analogue Resemblance and Digital Coding.

The digital computer is not, strictly speaking, entirely computers have an Oreo cookie–like structure with an analogue bottom, a frothy digital middle, and an analogue top.Although we are accustomed to thinking of digital in terms of binary digits, digital has a more general meaning of discrete versus continuous flow of information. Digital computers do not necessarily have to operate with binary code.(discreet bits stream).morphological resemblance .iconographic writting--analogue, alphabetical--digital. Emmett Williams's The VoyAge (1975) all the words are three letters long.

Point Three: Electronic Hypertexts Are Generated through Fragmentation and Recombination

As a result of the frothy digital middle of the computer's structure, fragmentation and recombination are intrinsic to the medium.These textual strategies can also be used in print texts, for example, in Raymond Queneau's Cent mille milliards de poèmes (1961), a book in which each page may be cut [End Page 76] into several strips corresponding to the lines of a poem. Dick Higgins, Buster Keaton Enters into Paradise (1994), scramble game.. Here fragmentation was achieved using the Scrabble letters, a technique that emphasizes the digital nature of alphabetic writing.With digital texts, the fragmentation is deeper, more pervasive, and more extreme than with the alphanumeric characters of print. Moreover much of the fragmentation takes place on levels inaccessible to most users. This aspect of digital storage and retrieval can be mobilized as an artistic resource, reappearing at the level of the user interface. Stuart Moulthrop's "Reagan Library" (1999), for example, uses an algorithm that places prescripted phrases on the screen in random order +noise is not merely interference but itself a form of information.

Point Four: Electronic Hypertexts Have Depth and Operate in Three Dimensions

Whenever information flows between two differently embodied entities—for example, sound wave and microphone or microphone and recording device—analogue resemblance is likely to come into play because it allows one form of continuously varying information to be translated into a similarly shaped informational pattern in another medium. Human readers, with sensory capabilities evolved through eons of interacting with three-dimensional environments, are much better at perceiving patterns in analogue shapes than performing rapid calculations with code elements. When presented with code, humans tend to push toward perceiving it as analogue pattern. Although most of us learned to read using the digital method of sounding out each letter, for example, we soon began to recognize the shapes of words and phrases, thus modulating the discreteness of alphabetic writing with the analogue continuity of pattern recognition.

Text on screen is produced through complex internal processes that make every word also a dynamic image, every discrete letter a continuous process

To distinguish between the image the user sees and the bit strings as they exist in the computer, Espen Aarseth (1997) has proposed the terminology scripton (the surface image) and texton (the underlying code). In a digital computer, texton can refer to voltages, strings of binary code, or programming code, depending on who the "reader" is taken to be. Scriptons always include the screen image but can also include any code visible to a user who is able to access different layers of program.Textons can appear in print as well as electronic media.With electronic texts there is a clear distinction between scriptons that appear on screen and the textons of underlying code.

In reverse remediation, some books play with this generalization by making print pages inaccessible. David Stairs has created a round artist's book entitled Boundless (1983) with spiral binding all around, so that it cannot be opened.

Point Five: Electronic Hypertexts Are Bilingual, Written in Code as Well as Language

Electronic hypertexts, like all electronic texts, consist of multiple layers of text that combine computer code 7 of 14 and natural language

Typically, natural language appears at the top (screenic) level, although it is also frequently found at lower coding levels in comment lines. More subtly, it serves as ground for the syntax and grammar of computer languages, which are specifically permeated, as Rita Raley (2001) has argued, with the linguistic structures and grammar of English

Jerome McGann, print texts are also marked, coded and generated through algorithms.

an electronic text is a process rather than an object, although objects (like hardware and software) are required to produce it

an algorithm is normally considered to be a procedure defined by explicit rules that can be specified precisely

The fact that creators of electronic texts always write code as well as natural language has resulted in a significant shift in how writing is understood

Loss Pequeño Glazier (2002) and John Cayley (1998),among others, argue that programming is writing + =>>>>Terence Mc Keena, The starships of the future, in other words the vehicles of the future, which will explore the high frontier of the unknown will be syntactical. The engineers of the future will be poets.

Point Six: Electronic Hypertexts Are Mutable and Transformable

The multiple coding levels of electronic textons allow small changes at one level of code to be quickly magnified into large changes at another level.The layered coding levels thus act like linguistic levers, giving a single keystroke the power to change the entire appearance of a textual image. An intrinsic component of this leveraging power is the ability of digital code to be fragmented and recombined

the rapid processing of digital code allows programs to create the illusion of depth in screenic images, for example, in the three-dimensional landscapes of Myst or the layered windows of Microsoft Word In these cases, both scriptons and textons are perceived as having depth, with textons operating digitally through coding levels and scriptons operating analogically through screenic representation of three-dimensional spaces

Print books can simulate the mutability of electronic texts through a variety of strategies, from semitransparent pages that overlay onto othe etc

Michael Snow's visual narrative Cover to Cover [scalingnpltf]