NT2 | Nouvelles technologies, nouvelles textualit?©s.

NT2 LogoNT2 | Nouvelles technologies, nouvelles textualit?©s is a lab directed by Bertrand Gervais at UQAM that “promotes the study, reading, creation, and archiving of new forms of texts and hypermedia works.” (My translation from the French.) They have an excellent news blog, Activit?©s, that comments on cyberculture and research. Here are the questions they are asking:

Quel est le statut du texte litt?©raire, de l‚Äôart, du cin?©ma sur Internet? Quel est le statut de toute ?ìuvre, ?† l‚Äôheure de l‚Äô?©cran reli?© et de ses technologies? ?Ä quel type de mat?©rialit?© sommes-nous convi?©s? ?Ä quelles formes de lecture, de spectature, d‚Äôinterpr?©tation? (Pr?©sentation)

Hypertext Fiction Online

afternoon, a story, by Michael Joyce is arguably the first major work of hypertext fiction and is one of those works most critics deal with. This online version is from Hypertext Fiction Selections – part of the Norton site associated with their Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology (Edited by Paula Geyh, Fred G. Leebron, and Andrew Levy. Norton, 1997.)

Matt K. pointed me to an interesting digression – a report, Hypertext Markets: a Report from Italy, by Walter Vannini, that discusses an Italian translation of afternoon, a story and the state of hypertext fiction in Italy. He draws attention to the proliferation of CD publications. When I was last in Italy I noticed at the newstands a proliferation of hybrid publications – magazines including a DVD or CD. You don’t see that much anymore in Canada.

The interest among mainstream print publishers seems to have settled on electronic titles of a more traditional kind than hypertext, i.e., multimedia, “family entertainment,” and educational/recreational titles, mainly on CD-ROMs. The catalog for such work is fairly rich, even if most of them are quick-and-dirty (and sometimes very dirty) recasts of previously published material. For the moment, most of these titles resemble the worst of documentary television, and require more or less the same amount of interaction (i.e., next to none at all).

The Flâneur and the Arcade: Hypertext on Walter Benjamin’s, The Arcades Project

Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk: Reading in the Ruins by Giles Peaker is a hypertext project that brings together passages from Benjamin’s The Arcades project on themes like the the flâneur and the prostitute. Benjamin’s project is about fragmentary spectacle in the city, it is itself a collection of fragments, and the hypertext by Peaker re-represents thus. In some sense, this pre-modern moment of the flâneur and the arcade, is the urban precursor to the liesurely browser in the arcade of the web – watching, and through his (her) blog, posing for others.

The arcades were replaced after the convulsions of 1848 in the Second Empire by the great halls of industry of modernity according to David Harvey in Paris: Capital of Modernity (Routledge, 2003). The arcades were scaled up to the modern exhibition spaces from Les Halles to the Crystal Palace. The Paris arcades, thanks to critical interest Benjamin, have become a way to think through the spectacle of the hypertextual (and therefore fragmentary) web. Thanks to Marcel O’Gorman for pointing this intersection out to me.

Gibson Aleph: Agrippa

William Gibson aleph – essential information collection is a site dedicated to the work of William Gibson. They have images and the text of the poem Agrippa (1992) that was issued on a floppy that was coded to erase itself as you read. The floppy was in encased in art by Dennis Ashbrough that was supposed to likewise fade. The book/disk was published in 1992 by Kevin Begos Publishing, New York. This link came from Matt Kirschenbaum.

[Update] See also The Agrippa Files, a web site dedicated to preserving information about electronic poem.

Fallen Sites

In response to a post on the Humanist Discussion Group about online ruins and grottoes, Vika Zafrin pointed at The Fall of the Site of Marsha by Rob Wittig of tank20.com. The Fall of the Site of MARSHA has three instants of a site by a character Marsha about angels that is then vandalized (possibly) by angels. It is an original work that develops a narrative around defacement of a web site and the arguments between the authors and hackers on the site.