Sunday, September 16th, 2007
Storyspace is, in my mind, the best conceived hypertext writing environment I know, and I know the system pretty well. As a connectivity metaphor, it’s brilliant and prescient. The numerous ways of building relations and seeing how they can be built and abstracted are the reasons I wanted to go to Manchester. I have a stake in the future of hypertext both as a writer and teacher. The weblog is okay as a means of delivering info to my students. But it’s really not all that I want.
I’d like to promote Storyspace’s next generation manifestation. Much of this thinking comes from playing around with Inform 7 (why, in my editor, can’t I just put [ ] around Inform 7 and create the link automatically in Firefox?), Mediawiki, Tinderbox, Hammer, Inspiration, WordPress, Spotlight, Spatterlight, video editing software, and Flash. It also comes from practical work problems that we’re beginning to solve, linking systems together not by binary but by ideas and necessity.
In a way, first and second gen code is like asphalt. I can drive from one state to the next as a matter of reality. Code and hardware take you places. Then again, it’s also not like asphalt. What follows is a list:
1. Storyspace as cross-platform tool. People love their computers. This is the txt file idea. If multi-platform persists, then so must a txt reader or other cross-plat file.
2. Storyspace as narrative browser. In one way of thinking, text spaces in SSP can be viewed as independent from the surface. I can take an html document and have any browser translate the code and I can rework the code in Dreamweaver, but I can’t share the translation of that code in Dreamweaver. Describing a work-flow might be interesting here. Let’s say I link a part of a narrative from an SSP text space to a wiki, where the narrative progresses, but, in doing so, never really leave the country of Storyspace, then I proceed to zblorb (Texas), type >open the casket at the command line, and then move to a bit of video contained in another SSP space. Let’s say I then click on the video surface and intertwingle with XanaduSpace, then I go back to SSP in some way, basically using Storyspace as a narrative browser/development tool.
In this conception, Storyspace doesn’t become a wiki; it maintains its identity as an environment that can reveal another narrative building block and so on and so forth, and, of course, vice versa. The notion here is not to publish a “manuscript” or CD, but to create routes from one performance space to the next. Inadvertently, in the discussion, John and I will ask: “but will it work with video” because sometimes video or background noise is called for. The question for the creator becomes when did I need this relation to perform in another way.