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Monday, February 15, 2010

elation + (dis)comfort: hypertext

Susan Gibb, author of the "Different" story in the current (dis)comfort issue, is also a hypertext specialist.

her hypertext story Blueberries is featured in the new river, a journal of digital writing and art, together with other digital works, all of them fascinating in their different experimental approaches. yet compared with "word only" stories, hypertext comes with an own set of hurdles. the new river editorial itself opens with this statement:

"I reject hypertext," one of us may have blurted out during a more frustrating moment editing this journal.

in her blog, Susan Gibb contemplates on the fascination of hypertext after corresponding with hypertext newcomer Finnegan Flawnt, here's a passage:

"...hypertext entertains the question of new media being metafictional by nature. It is worth thinking about, if perhaps even the simplest hypertext is in fact calling attention to the act of writing by its visual invitation to interact with the text.

We’ve gotten used to seeing text as thoughts and read them not as signs and sybolic marks upon a background (think of looking at a page of Chinese writing when you can’t read the language), but see the idea presented in the pattern formed by the letters. Possibly seeing beyond the words and sentences to the images they represent.

Hypertext includes links within text of a different and obvious color that is saying something about the text itself and the process of reading it, rather than merely being a part of the story. It’s talking directly to the reader. It’s an interesting way of looking at new media, particularly when it includes audio and visual effects that further call attention to the experience." (link)

it's this complexitiy, the effects, the changed process of reading, and the metafictional aspect, that sometimes might lead to hesitance: "Even as I encourage others to try the hypertext form, I realize it’s out of comfort zone for many writers as well as readers."

this line is from an interview Susan was giving last week. the interview was lead by Nicolle Elizabeth, who starts with a walk down memory lane to the 1990's, when computers still came with black screens and green fonts, a (dis)comfort of its own kind.

here the interview link: "Checking in with Hypertext Fiction"

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