One of Seth’s links on the Networked Media 2011 website took me to “the first novel that has been annotated in its entirety with online satellite imagery”: ‘Senghor on the Rocks’.
Though the novel is written in German, its format is easy to understand. Clicking on the right hand side page moves the story forward, as if the viewer has ‘flipped a page’. The viewer can navigate backwards by clicking the left hand side page, just as one would move the left hand side page to refer to the previous pages. The left hand side page uses a Google Map image to show precisely where the story’s action on the right hand side is taking place. The image being shown on the left therefore changes every, or every few, pages.
The author of ‘Senghor on the Rocks’ has combined elements of the Internet with that of the book. Though the novel is clearly remediated from the traditional bound book novel, it borrows conventions from its
predecessor ancestor – possibly for a few reasons.
Firstly, the author may be commenting on the significance of the bound novel in that it has curated the language we came to use in online publications such as ‘Senghor on the Rocks’. Essentially, the author is considering its roots; how imperative the bound novel was to producing content on the Internet. Secondly, the author may appeal to a wider audience by moving the novel to a platform favoured by the majority (the Internet viewer) but maintains some of the aesthetic conventions that appeal to the minority (the bound text reader).
But how would other novels fare if remediated from book to Internet? Is the appeal of some novels stored mainly within that tangible object we know to be a set of pages bound within a front and back cover? Compared to owning individual books, is there any sentimental value in reading a text from a screen that is used to interpret a range of other texts? These are all the kind of questions that are raised in my other course, ‘Histories and Technologies’, that seems to fear the “death of the book”.