Well, it’s reassuring that someone as smart as Aarseth complains of being “dead sure that important things were being whispered just beyond my hearing” (p. 772) while “riding the link stream” (p. 771). As I scramble to find information on Moodle and in the ebrary, I console myself that you’re not being paranoid if people are actually talking about you. I know I’m missing information and spending way too much time trying to locate the landmarks that I’ve been told exist but cannot find. I could relate to the Jackson quote in Laccetti’s work, where she says that "hypertext does not provide so much courtly guidance across the intellectual terrain, but catapults you from spot to spot." Broken links abound this week, including the one to week four’s lecture notes on PowerPoint - NMN Lecture 4: Narrative Theory and Temporality.
The “intertwingling” of animation, streaming video, motion, layering, and text/textons etc. is truly, as Marsh says, literary performance. Is it the death of text as we know it?
Not only the death of text as we know it, but what about the poor recipient of this richness? Are we a reader/spectator/participant/agent of the text/eyes in the path of the text/witness/narrator-narratee or an intertwingling of all of the above in a sort of death of a singular identity? We journey into a world where to be literate, we must be transliterate. We become a cybernetic user/reader/narrator/critic/gamer and those who used to write and illustrate their writings with sketches in the margins will use images and video and music and textual juxtapositions to create their works.
I wonder, too, if time based narrative wasn’t always a bit of a fiction? When there is a paper book that I like, I often dip into its narrative stream randomly and re-read bits of the story. We impose our own timelines and organization onto any information around us, whether it’s using a music cue to turn our attention back to a TV program or scanning the headlines and jumping to the comic section on a Sunday morning. Maybe it has always been about “perpetually unfinished textuality” as Landow said (Laccetti, 2008).
When I talk to clients, one of the most important pieces of information they can give me is who they believe is in their audience and that question arose for me as I read this week. It’s a good question for the creators of literary performance. They’re on the edges of usability, but what they do is instructive for the journeyman writer, too. I’m working with a design firm on a website for a charity I volunteer at. Thinking about the information as different narrative streams is helpful when thinking about the users of the site, who may not always keep two things in mind at the same time. So if I want them to donate (Please!), keeping elements and reminders of the mission on the same page as the info on how to give will be useful. As Aarseth said about MUDS, information on the web is “like constantly meandering rivers, developing new courses that cross and re-cross each other and are filled with all sorts of peculiar flotsam and jetsam” (p. 776).