Another unsymposium was spent listening in awe of the articulation and wisdom of Adrian and the tutors (does sucking up get me extra marks?). I’m not a writer, to be honest I find it hard to put a sentence together at the best of times. It stresses me out reading such beautifully put together blogs by students knowing I would never be able to write like that. Especially when we’re getting marked on our expression of ideas, its kinda demotivating. Anyway thats a battle I have to deal with, I digress.
A nice little analogy put forward by Adrian of hypertext being like the edits in a film. The shot progression and how small pieces can be connected to other pieces. A film is structured by the syuzhet (throw out to all y’all cinema students, plot for the non-wankers), how the story is organized, hypertext is to writing as Art Cinema is to the Classic Narrative form, in other words a change in this organised format. Abolishment of the dogma of a beginning, middle and end (I’ve used this analogy before, last time I promise). Here’s a new analogy, cutaways in a film providing slices of extra information ergo resembling links in hypertext? Slightly less voluntary and expansive admittedly. For those visually inclined, imagine not a pyramid but a cycle, perhaps even the circle of life. Never starting nor finishing, one thing will always lead to another. Completely different structure to the pyramid.
A lot of time was spent talking about the significance of the tangible written book, whether it did in fact still hold some importance in this digital age. I guess thats up to personal opinion, where my personal opinion is whatever Adrian says because he’s like 10 times smarter than me.
Seriously though, blind sentiment is put onto literary books because thats just the way things have always been, they represent the past, we grew up reading books, we go to sleep reading books, we love books. You can pass your books down to your children, collect them and create a visual map of your literary journey. So apart from all these aesthetic properties whats the difference to reading an eBook? The soul of the novel still exists, just in a more convenient, practical form. Literary texts ARE a cultural artifact, they read no better, they will sit on the shelf next to the typewriter and the gramophone for use when we feel a little sentimental. The sentiment will fade, just like it has with other obsolete technologies, and we will appreciate them as the 400 year life-span representation of the print age.
I’ll still buy books though, how else am I going to make my house look like this?