After reading the supporting evaluation of these works you will need to write a blog entry(s) that answer the following questions. Your responses will be discussed in the upcoming lab.
What is your favourite hypertext example?
Why is it your favourite?
What characteristics in this work would you adopt for your own hypertext essay?
(Please note in the discussion that follows I will use the word ‘page’ to refer to a web page and the word ‘essay’ to refer to a hypertext essay.)
So I looked through the four examples given. I think they are all good for different things, depending on what you’re after.
Stuart Moulthrop’s ‘New Literacy and the Great Age of Code’ is very informative and easy to read, but not very interlinked. It is structured in a way that differs from the hypertext essay that we are going to make, as it is linear and doesnt allow you to go anywhere but to the next page of the essay. At the end it goes back to the start, but in the middle of the essay you can only continue to the next page (unless you use the back and forward button on your browser of course).
The second example is also good, and resembles an essay in many ways. It is made out of mainly text, with the exeption of the image on the side that visually tells you where you are in the essay. It allows you to jump to any part of it that you’d like, which I found clever and very useful. However, it is very academic (which I am sure it is intended to be) and not really something that caught my attention.
The third one is a mix of text and image, and it almost bacame a bit to complicated to follow. “Webs are constituted by their links, not their linearity”
Adrian Miles explains in the introduction that “The web pages that make up this site use the HTML <meta> tag to provide a client side push where pages are loaded serially. You can attempt to intervene at any point by clicking on an image, a word, or a letter. In most cases where a link is available it will randomly place you back into the series, however in some cases the HYPERWEB ‘expels’ the reader.
If you simply let the pages cycle then the HYPERWEB will take about 6 or 7 minutes to return to its beginning, but if you intervene you can end up anywhere.”
Like he explains, you are lead through the hypertext essay without having to do anything yourself, it goes automatically to the next page (note: not a random page, they have numbers). However, you can press any link you wish, which will lead you to somewhere random in the essay. It then continues to go.
I liked this one because it is visual, unpredictable, and impressive. It is inspiring to see what can be done in a hypertext essay.
As for the fouth example, we are told that it is more a form of internet art than a hypertext essay, but i really don’t see why it doesn’t qualify completely. It contains just as much information and links as any of the other, and it includes images as one of the key elements. Maybe because it isn’t so much an essay, but more a collection of stories about the authors body?
However, I think I preferred this one to the others, probably because I have an interest for film and photography and are like many others cued by images just as much as text.
AND THE WINNER IS:
My Body: A Wunderkammer, by Shelley Jackson.
Like I said, I prefer this because it is so visual. It is also an easier read; because it is personal and written in a casual tone, it is more entertaining than the others. It might also have something to do with the fact that I’m female, and can compare my own experiences with hers regarding the body. I think the way she leads you through the essay, or you might say her body, is unpredictable as the links doesn’t always tell you exactly where you will end up.
She might have chosen to make it so unstructured and unpredictable for entertaining purposes, but I think all the links leading to different pages are a way of showing the body as an interlinked unity. Everything is linked on the internet, and the same applies to the body.
The characteristics from this work that I want to adopt to my hypertextessay is the interlinking, the images, and the writing style. So far we have been writing in a very casual tone, trying to make it interesting/informative and enjoyable at the same time. We depend a lot on images; our “front page” is mainly made out of different images, and just a little text. The other pages consist of both.
We are in the process of linking everything, and we want links that makes sense and links that don’t. Shelley Jackson only links to other pages in her essay, while we are linking to pages outside the essay as well.
There is much left to do! Writing, coding, linking.