Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stream of Conscious

Initially I thought that Patchwork Girl was my first time experiencing a hyptertext. I say “experience” rather than “read” because as someone mentioned previously, the work is not read in a conventional and linear way. It is much more interactive and much of the final experience is based on the reader’s input and willingness to follow along. However, after reading some of the other responses on here in terms of Patchwork Girl, it became obvious that we experience hyptertext on the internet all the time.

When reading my email on Gmail, a sidebar advertises companies and websites that often are related to the content of the current emails I’m reading. In a way, this certainly seems Big Brother-ish. It really is as though someone is reading over my shoulder and suggesting things when all I really want to do is read my email and not be bothered. It does, however, allow for me to experience these other websites. It’s really just a click away. The question is, how much am I willing to see or read? It’s very much like the interactive quality of Patchwork Girl; the reader chooses what to read, when to read it, and in what order. The reader can even choose to skip over parts entirely.

After reading a recent email from a friend, wherein he simply linked a video to a Steve McQueen commercial and commented on it, I noticed these “relevant” ads in the sidebar. The ones on that page were: Harajuku Lover Shoes, Steve McQueen (the official Ford site for the new Mustang Bullitt), Uh Oh – I’m Emo, Anthropologie, and Are You Romantic? I found it interesting that only one of the ads, really, was actually relevant to the email. It certainly made me think that these ads are similar to the inner ramblings of our own stream of conscious. Is that what these ads are trying to do? Are they trying to mimic our own incoherent ways of thinking and entice us by distraction? Otherwise, how can these seemingly random ads be chosen for the sidebar? Reading Patchwork Girl was equally frustrating because it’s like trying to follow someone else’s stream of conscious.

It’s interesting that we complain about trying to take in this apparently difficult to follow way of experiencing text and images when it is exactly how our own minds work.

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