August 23, 2007

Hypertext, Moulthrop

by Scott Rettberg · , 5:51 pm

Hypertext innovator Stuart Moulthrop has been a guest researcher at the University of Bergen for the past two weeks. Over the past couple of days, Stuart gave a couple of wonderful lectures. In the first Stuart proposed that we supplant the commonplace notion of “content” based on withholding or separating off with the idea of “d8a” (pronounced ‘dataleet’), based on the ideas of giving in and giving out. Moulthrop encouraged the audience to consider new forms of secondary literacy based on an understanding of participatory procedurality. In his second presentation, today, Stuart showed several newer pieces of his electronic writing, including a brand new work, “Under Language,” in which the users’ interaction with parts of the poem/game affect the procedural properties of the work. Based on your reading of/interaction with particular lines of the poem, you might for instance, crash it, change its visual presentation, adjust its volume, or change a variety of its other properties. It is a particularly interesting work from the perspective of “codework” because the operations of the program are part and parcel of the work as it is presented to its reader in a particularly intriguing way that would be difficult for me to explain until you see the program in operation. “Under Language” is a work in progress, that Stuart has been working on while he has been at UiB, and one that I think will be interesting to a lot of people interested in codework and procedural literacy when it is published. But that is not what this post is about. This post is to notify you that we have discovered what the future of hypertext is all about. It is a Norwegian band named, simply, Hypertext. Moulthrop and I will attend their show tomorrow night in Bergen.

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