Thursday, February 11, 2010

Moultrhop and Hyptertext Culture

Stuart Moulthrop in “You Say You Want a Revolution?” makes me think of hypertext in ways that I find truly interesting. More specifically, the most intriguing portion of the text was the one that addressed the question, “What does hyptertext displace or render obsolete?” In short, his answer is that hypertext signifies the end of the death of literature. He explains that the “development of hypertext systems implies a revival of typographic culture (albeit it in a dynamic, truly paperless environment.)”

While I agree that it does indeed imply the creation of a digital typographic culture, I don’t understand or agree with the argument that literature was on its deathbed before hypertext. Moulthrop explains that the “death of literature” refers to the end of the “cultural dominance of print” and that common culture today regrettably comes “largely from television.” For me, that does not describe the end of literature. It sounds more like a description of the decay of culture.

In the rest of this section, Moulthrop goes on to imagine the future of hypertext culture. He describes hypermedia as “interactive multimedia ‘texts’ that incorporate voice, music, animated graphics, and video along with alphabetic script.” I found this concept particularly intriguing because I don’t think this exists yet. This makes me think of a future where it’s possible to watch a movie on my computer and I can click on different parts of any given scene. A click on a shirt could take me to a website that sells that particular item. A click might even take me to a previous scene that a character just alluded to. In other words, it makes me envision a new media that is truly interconnected, pervasive, and limitless.

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