Thursday, October 7th, 2004
Flow, problem, sequence, narrative, organization–all catch words. One of the things that digital space has accomplished is to make people more aware of the progression of tasks and visualizing process (see Novamind, for example, and Mark Bernstein’s Tinderbox, which makes the PC user perhaps wish for a Mac, but the wait will perhaps be worth it). Drawing lines on paper works fine too but lacks flexibility, cross work, digital stitching, and infinity.
Visualizing human action is always complex, such as planning for future assessment at the college level. Where does history meet British Literature, hypertext meet Biology? Consider a story and how it moves from place to place. To isolate the parts isn’t that easy to do because our encounters with them are nearly effortless. The structure disappears into water. In story we’re looking for something else. It’s always an incredible experience teaching Sir Gawain to sophomores because the alienness of the text forces the structure out into the open and we can work into the storyspace slowly.
Mind is spatial and discrete yet wefted, nowhere but everywhere. In poetry we can talk about an image, such as these: “I have seen days when the clouds rolled in / thick and black as the desert night” and “I can remember the stench of stale cigarettes, / Lingering on us from the pub in Boston.” Organized “mind.” Thus the poem is a city, a city a poem.
To put a story onto a page or into Storyspace is an incredible thing. The hypertext story extends the tradition. Now to put the city in hypertext.