Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reading On Our Own Terms

The idea of hypertext that Stuart Moulthrop brings up in “You Say You Want A Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media” was very interesting to me, especially after doing the Patchwork Girl lab. At first, I didn’t know what to do with Patchwork Girl, but as I got more involved in the story, I found that I wasn’t thinking where was this going, but instead, I was letting the story take me where it wanted. By knowing that my clicking was the only reason the story was progressing, I not only felt empowered, but also I was further engaged into the story.

Our active role in reading Patchwork Girl brings us back to Ted Nelson’s “grand hope [of our] return to literacy” (Moulthrop p. 3.) When reading hypertext we are not simply, as Barthes states in “S/Z”, “commercial[ly]…’throw[ing] away’ the story once it has been consumed” (p. 15,) but instead we are becoming closer to the text by reading it on our own terms and drawing “the text out of its internal chronology…[which] recaptures a mythic time (without before or after)” (p. 16.)

But it’s not just Patchwork Girl and hypertext fiction that recapture this sense of mythic time and a return to literacy where we are not just consumers but active and engaged participants, it’s any other collaborative or user driven text that engages us with the text. One example of this shift is this blog. I can read and comment on entries when and how I want to. I also know that whoever is reading and commenting on this post isn’t just reading it to then throw away, but is (hopefully) as engaged in their reading as I am in my writing, thus linking us by Nelson’s “new Renaissance of ideas” (Moulthrop p. 3.)

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