Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why I'd Marry Patchwork Girl

While reading Moulthrop's You Say You Want A Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media, I was struck by how fitting Moulthrop's language is to describe Patchwork Girl.
    "Hyperreality, we are told, is a site of collapse
or implosion where referential or "grounded" utterance
becomes indistinguishable from the self-referential and the
imaginary. We construct our representational systems not in
serial relation to indisputably "real" phenomena, but rather
in recursive and multiple parallel, "mapping on to different
co-ordinate systems" (Pynchon 159)."

Challenging the dominant narratives of society is a concept that underscores Pathwork Girl and- more generally- Hypertext. The 'indisputably "real" phenomena' are only real if we accept them as such; Patchwork Girl's very essence is recursive, and indeed it stands in stark contrast to what is commonly accepted as a textual representation of life. If we accept Patchwork Girl as a 'real' text, then classic textual representations reduce to simple, one dimensional works that could just as easily be labeled 'unreal.'

In challenging dominant narratives of society, Patchwork Girl (and Hypertext) challenge the very people who create these narratives: the scientists, social scientists, and humanists. Moulthrop writes:
    "the hypertext concept in general challenge humanists and
information scientists to reconsider fundamental assumptions
about the social space of writing."
Vannevar Bush's As We May Think does just that; it's a call to scientists to reorient their work around opening up the massive stores of information at our fingertips today. If not the end to the means; The Internet undoubtedly serves as a means to that end, whereby every single person would have the beautiful but dangerous capability of unlimited access.

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