Readings, readings, readings. So far I’ve read two of the three core readings for this subject. They’re definitely the biggest readings I’ve come across, at most times they’re complex and often you require three staples to bind them together. At the moment I’m most confused as to which one I will choose to bibliographfy. In an attempt to steer clear of cinema for once in my University education I’m tempted to go with old George Landow and his hypertext. If you bypass the complexities of Derrida, smile and pretend you understood, take a right at Barthes and go left at Plato you’ll eventually get to the good stuff. Well, it’s all pretty good but Landow’s ability to emphasize the similarities between hypertext and collage is probably the most of good.
I interrupt this blog with an image of Still Life with Chair Caning (1911-12) by Picasso ——————————————->
Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning is perhaps his first piece that demonstrated a detachment from Cubism and a shift towards Collage (but still combining the two). Here, we see a piece of rope working as a frame and resting on a real surface of canvas with imitation chair caning pasted onto it. Collage techniques permitted artists such as Picasso and Braque to “use contents of a wastepaper basket to explore representation and signification by contrasting what we in the digital age would call the real and virtual” (Landow). According to Landow, what the artist has done is “shaped and combined materials, then drawn or painted upon them to give a representational meaning, but they do not lose their original identity as scraps of material.”
Much like this painting, hypertext also appears as a textual and visual collage. Collage draws upon both juxtaposing and appropriating materials, and in this case we can refer to online material. The notion of juxtaposing different texts online produces recognition and immediately establishes a relationship between both texts, allowing online authors to create additional and layered meaning surrounding a specific text. Essentially, the hyperlink encourages individuals to think in terms of creating connections, it continuously strives to offer more and larger amounts of information. Similarly to how Picasso appropriated tangible materials, online visual and textual appropriation can be applied to hypertext given it can consistently be “reproduced, reconfigured and moved with a small amount of effort” (Landow). By creating a link between different authors’ texts, it only serves to bolster each text by drawing comparisons whilst still retaining separate authorial voices.