Thursday, February 25, 2010

So, I googled "the grammar of hypertext" and

I have no idea what I found, but it was really beautiful, and it got me thinking, and maybe if you read it/watch it/see it you can tell me what it means.

Here's the link.

One of the phrases I plan to steal and use: "narrative makes sense of sequence; it's how we give meaning to observation."

25 comments:

Kay said...

Sorry, I'm a computer ... internet ... social media klutz.

But, I found the presentation interesting.

Maryann Miller said...

Maybe it was just my tired brain today, but I could make no sense of what this site was trying to achieve or how to navigate it. I guess I am still stuck in what has been familiar to me in all the years of journalism. I want content that looks a little more like the pages of a newspaper or magazine.

Richard Gibson said...

Thanks for the link. I watched it, enjoyed it, encountered some fascinating things, but I have no real idea what it means.

I hope that my failure to understand it will become a growing experience (eventually), inasmuch as I strongly believe failure of this sort to be beneficial, frequently.

JES said...

Well, the site is blocked by my employer. Which probably means they can't figure it out, either, but are erring on the side of caution. :)

annerallen said...

"Multivalence in narrative is not a vice"? Perhaps. But deliberate obfuscation is.

It's lovely, but so full of made-up jargon that it fails to communicate. Since the piece is supposed to be about communication, I'd say it fails.

But the colors became a dominant interior decorating color scheme of the last decade. The original designer (I see it was done in 2000) should get points for that.

Christi Goddard said...

I found the differences interesting in artistic approach and how they failed to reach their target audience via the internet, or failed to approach the medium as a viable resource for finding readers.

Also, the presentation is from 2000 (I think). I wonder how much has changed, if anything.

Chris Johnson said...

"narrative makes sense of sequence; it's how we give meaning to observation."
Of course. Humans have always imposed order on chaos. But yeah, it's well put.

Elisabeth Black said...

I will be thinking about this for awhile. I recognized the name Scott McCloud. My husband brought home his Understanding Comics book, which was interesting.

I liked a lot of what the presenter said. It's heartening to read that other people are considering the visual-media induced headlock on art. And questioning it.

I actually get a little bit fierce about all this.

mallard said...

I'm with a couple of other people here. There were some intriguing ideas, but I have no idea what the larger message was.

Andrew said...

Glad to have inadvertently sparked some serendipity.

I recall in the turn of the century years--quite the period this presentation is dated--coming across a lot of academic and (really good) experimental hypertext "works". I haven't seen much of that lately.

(Have we already lost our collective interest in the potential for novel narrative-building via hypertext, and replaced it with a compulsion to spend our mouse clicks retweeting and sending cute icons and lolcats to each other? Another interesting, and not necessarily cynical, conversation for another time...)

Sadly, my use of the phrase was of the mundane and narrow nuts-and-bolts-type grammar. Now back to work!

Diane said...

Janet --

You and your readers might also enjoy Robert Coover's 1992 "The End of Books" (NYT)

http://www.nyt.net/books/98/09/27/specials/coover-end.html

which, for me, has always stood as a good example of the many things that can be said for hypertext as a literary form. The essay is a bit dated -- we have so much more technology now -- but also strangely relevant at this particular moment, in light of the recent Amazon/Macmillian craziness.

-Diane Greco

GalaktioNova said...

This presentation reminded me of an experiment we had at high school, when our biology teacher made us draw similar pictures, instead of actually studying textbooks. It was some brand-new teaching technique then, supposed to make learning processes easier and more fun. As a result, we all did very badly in biology that year because we couldn't remember anything!

So I have absolutely no faith in these "techniques" and never use them myself as a teacher. Total waste of time, they are.

Marsha Sigman said...

This falls somewhere above my pay grade but below my level of interest.

steeleweed said...

Storyspace looks like a useful piece of software, but not sure I want to spend the money right now. If you want to write a story as webpages full of hyperlinks, it will organize them. I've contemplated that, but been too busy writing with 'traditional' writing. Maybe someday, I'll try it, so I did bookmark their website.

susan said...

I have to giggle because I am so entrenched in writing hypertext fiction right now and Mark Bernstein who is the creator of that piece also designed the software I use called Tinderbox (http://eastgate.com).

As with all software and technology, things change quickly and the site appears to be more a presentation than designed specifically for the web alone.

I've just recently had a hypertext fiction work published in Fall '09 New River Review and have work in consideration elsewhere as the literary markets open up to an online presence. Hypertext used in literary form can be edgy, visual, and very involving of the reader.

But I'm interested in your initial search query: "the grammar of hypertext" and in what context you were seeking it.

Susan Gibb

Kim Kasch said...

I love this. Hyperlinking is so fun why not hypertexting. . . ?

It makes me think about so many possibilities . . . . . .

Katherine said...

Mark Bernstein (the presentation's author) is the owner of a hypertext publishing house/software company/we need another term for this called Eastgate (he's not the sole owner, but I forget the other owners' names). They're interesting in that they've been working with hypertext fiction since well before the World Wide Web was invented, and because they've done actual research into how to make hypertexts readable -- whether fiction or non-fiction.

Thanks for posting the link -- I'd lost track of them. It's a beautiful presentation, and I agree with his point about conditional links! The one time I tried to write a conditional link story, the logic tree took longer than the writing!

Kathy said...

I think it just described my entire career - lol!

The Zuccini said...

I liked the poem's message: That in some respects people may have become indicisive and like inarticulate. Sort of.

=)

therese said...

This presentation is interesting. The message is exploring a new creative form but lacks PLOT.

In 2008, I returned to college and loaded my schedule with all forms of writing, theater appreciation, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting and speech classes. It was tons of fun but I was concerned for the other students. We were instructed to learn how to write for our collegiate career, not to consider an audience, AND that writing was a passion, not a profession.

I had issues with these points but the professors gave me A's either because I was at least a decade or two older than they, with a track record as a professional writer, or because I exceeded their expectations. Either way, that's what I thought about while viewing this presentation.

What makes this presentation relevant, as dated as it may be for the technology today, is that ideas (no matter how cleverly presented) are just ideas. Until there is a theme, plot, and character arc, there is no story. When there is no story, the audience wanders away, a bit confused.

eastgatesystems@mac.com said...

Thanks! Thanks too to all the thoughtful commenters!

Slides from a few other lectures are collected on my weblog at http://markBernstein.org/LectureNotes.html . And Eastgate's main page is http://www.eastgate.com/ . Always eager to talk about hypertext and new media!

joeinlosangeles said...

It looks like these are slides from a presentation in 2000, which was an early attempt to figure out effective story telling on the Internet when you had multiple voices taking part and the ability to jump around (hypertext).

Originally, my guess is these slides were used to illustrate the talk, so they are a little confusing on their own.

Malia Sutton said...

I googled this once, too.

Tim of Angle said...

It means that some people have entirely too much time on their hands.

Next question.

Sarah Cypher said...

I do like, "TV and radio have made it hard to appreciate art that is not the 'Best in the World.'"

No idea how to grok the whole talk, though. Too epigrammatic for my narrative brain.