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Cybertext Killed the Hypertext Star

the hypertext murder case “Hypertext is dead – ” declared Markku Eskelinen at Digital Arts and Culture ’99 in Atlanta. “Cybertext killed it.” No doubt, interesting hypertext poetry and fiction remains to be written, but – if we consider hypertext as a category that defines a special, valid space for authorship and criticism of computerized works of writing – Eskelinen is clearly right. The hypertext corpus has been produced; if it is to be resurrected, it will only be as part of a patchwork that includes other types of literary machines. One viable category today, perhaps the most interesting one […]

Shopping for Truth

Adrien Gargett on Pierre Missac’s unification of empirical biography and textual production, and the development of a “criticism of indirection” too often missing from Benjamin studies. Dartford, England: Like tourists in a world class museum, visitors swapped souvenir photos and packed marble halls in Europe’s largest shopping centre. Bluewater, a complex of 320 shops and restaurants on the outskirts of London, is the most prominent in a series of regional mega-malls to open in Britain, where an increasingly mobile population has warmed to this most American of commercial concepts. Built in a former chalk quarry 15 miles east of London, […]

Image + Narrative

ebr6/7 image + narrative winter 97/98 and summer 98 Welcome a two-part issue on narrative theory and the image. [the original interface, ebr2.0, can be accessed here – ed.] In this double issue we hope to explore through literature a transition already evident in the culture at large, where technology has enabled narratives of all types to undergo transformation by the image. Increasingly, our ways of telling stories, of creating meaning, are weighted away from a sole reliance on words. It’s not just that literary works and criticism have started to incorporate imagery as decoration or visual accompaniment. Writing itself […]

Duchamp Through Shop Windows

The question of shop windows To undergo the interrogation of shop windows The exigency of the shop window The shop window proof of the existence of the outside world When one undergoes the examination of the outside world, one also pronounces one’s own sentence. In fact, one’s choice is “round trip.” From the demands of the shop windows, from the inevitable response to shop windows, my choice is determined. No obstinacy, ad absurdum, of hiding the coition through a glass pane with one or many objects of the glass window. The penalty consists in cutting the pane and in feeling […]

Talking Back to the Owners of the World

Steffen Hantke on Tom LeClair’s and Richard Powers’s novelistic imaginations of terror. Since the end of the Cold War, American fiction has aided in the cultural and political effort to reorient the public imagination, making sense of this brave new world and its concomitant order. It is a significant ideological gesture to think of the present geopolitical situation as “post-Cold War” – constant repetition of the term reinforces a view that is perhaps not as clear cut as it first appears. The label itself establishes a cultural dominant, a watershed moment or turning point that could very well be considered […]

Making the Rounds

Elizabeth Jane Wall Hinds follows the narrative line of Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon as it bifurcates and spreads over the globe and across two centuries. When Vineland appeared in 1990, critics and reviewers immediately recorded their dissatisfaction with the novel they assumed was the follow-up to the wondrous Gravity’s Rainbow, the “project” Thomas Pynchon had been secretly (what else?) working on all those seventeen years in between. Vineland was just another novel – trademark Pynchon ideas, for sure, with its movie-dimensional characters, episodic plot that nevertheless hints at paranoiac connectedness, flaring out here and there with a rock-n-roll sensibility in […]

Dali Clocks: Time Dimensions of Hypermedia

Salvador Dali’s clocks aren’t wrong or stopped or broken. Their active faces slide like pancake batter over edges of a bureau, bend and hang across branches. Adapted to the shape of every object they meet, these clocks announce that there is no standard time in Dalí’s universe – nor, as Dali knew – in Einstein’s. In fact, Dali’s clocks are not clocks at all, if we mean bookkeepers that measure unvarying flow. But then the human heart is not that kind of clock either; rather, it is a fractal tempo tracker that runs concurrently to the beat of several highly […]

Unfolding Laramée

Eve Andrée Laramée addresses the hot topic of technology without digitizing, streaming, or projecting imagery – that is, without using “new” technology in her MIT installation, A Permutational Unfolding (1999). So startling to see a contemporary installation unplugged, especially at a site associated with technological expertise, one can hardly believe there’s not a MIDI trigger hidden somewhere. The artist transforms the List Visual Arts gallery by painting, furnishing, and upholstering the room in the style of an early 19th century, Empire period parlor which she fills with artifacts of that period. One also finds anachronistic elements such as woven copper […]

What Lies Beneath?

Daniel Clowes stands without a doubt as one of the most significant American cartoonists to emerge from the alternative comics ghetto in the past two decades. Graduating from early science-fiction and genre material like Lloyd Llewellyn to the more all-encompassing world of his pictorial potpourri Eightball (all published by the Seattle-based comics publisher Fantagraphics Books, Clowes has demonstrated a knack for narrative sophistication and character development – not to mention a keen and often devastating wit. These traits have garnered his work critical acclaim and some amount of commercial success, including the recent feature motion-picture version of his graphic novel […]

A Migration Between Media

Frequently in True North, Strickland makes reference – and hypertext may be, even in poetry, primarily a medium and method of annotation – to Muriel Rukeyser’s 1942 biography of Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839-1903). From this source comes the narration of an incident, of a sort to help posterity recognize a man “of whom,” says Rukeyser, “so few stories have been told” (224): Gibbs spoke only once in a Faculty Meeting, during protracted, tiring debate on elective courses: should there be – more English, more Classics? More? Or less. They were astonished to see him rise, after thirty-two years, though familiar […]