Wingert: HT 2000

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Hypertext Variants and Readings

The evening event with authors offering samples of their HT narrations allowed the audience to follow acoustically what had been discussed theoretically in the previous section, namely how to work with links, what designs and overall structures to pursue, or how contents fit other structural designs.

The sequence of presentations was opened by Deena Larsen with a HT, "'Dancing in Your Soul," of very simple design, with a very slim text, and with complete links. This was followed by Rob Kendall with a story about a meeting between a father and a daughter, both of them immigrants from Eastern Europe, who met again after many years. The part presented, "Spring," was part of a series, "The Seasons," to be published by Eastgate on the web in the near future. In this case, Kendall practically made true what he had postulated theoretically, namely to allow the reader more orientation and more independence. Thus, he indicates in a status line the range of subjects to which a link to be chosen belongs (such as "father-daughter" or "mother in earth"), in this way causing the horizon of expectations to become more structured. At the same time, a variable shade of color indicates the intensity with which the corresponding subject node had already been visited and read, respectively. The overall structure thus boils down to a hybrid abandoning the pathways of strict, small-scale modularization, and mixing linear and delinearized forms.

Completely different in approach and structure is "Fibonacci's Daughter" by Marjorie Lusebrink, with its very rich collection of text and images, including a lottery shop on the mall, with a helical overall structure, and the whole thing preserved on a CD ROM. Jane Yellowlees Douglas presented an older story originally written for an on-line magazine of 1991, but never published. The piece is part of a trilogy, one part of which later became "I Have Said Nothing." The story she presented was more remarkable because of the perceptible joy of telling a story than the simple HT structure. Finally, a group of three authors (William Gillespie, Scott Rettberg, and Nick Montfort, who participated instead of Dirk Stratton) read and demonstrated under the heading of "The Unknown" what is meant by a story about anything and everything under the sun (and should not be taken too seriously). On the whole, the presentations were a successful mix of serious and funny pieces, always to be taken seriously in their respective approaches, and all of them indirectly raising the question (as they were presented so as to be heard) whether hypertext, in the end, is not something designed more for the ears than for the eyes. (Read more about this section in the article by Susana Tosca on this server).

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