in process ...
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the grammar of traversals ::: the syntax of relationships between things ::: between resources in the giant global graph in the sky that many of us find ourselves inhabiting for hours of our waking day.
As we wander we leave traces of our lives ::: artifacts left behind in that cloud. We are mined.
We spend much (or all) of our connected lives weaving a personal story collaged from purchases, searches, emails, messages, likes, posts, friends, purusals, traversals, petitions ... We are creating a complex web of an autobiography owned by others, stored by others, sold by others. You can only see the glimpses of your representation as you move from node to node ::: close up ::: first person. You see rudimentary images of your constructed self in the advertisements that are mirrored back to you as you move through your digital every-day world.
The reader becomes an actor in a vast digital game space ::: this new cosmology.
How can you exist in this world as a conscious writer? How can you pursue a heroic ( quix·ot·ic ) writerly resistance in this age of information industry. In this era of deep, invasive data mining how can you be more than a resource to be extracted & tracked & consumed?
The writer .... unbound.
Hypertext is merely a way of articulating linked text (
c l i c k).
The shift from digital links that allow the reader to jump about in a single document (like an activated index) to links that become bridges between documents that might exist on far-away machines was critical to the growth of the world wide web.
Gradually these links pointed beyond plain text to rich media resources ::: things like images, video, audio and actions / queries. Static web pages became fluid. They were dynamically generated by machines and became themselves like radio receivers listening for latest information / updates.
The world wide web became the semantic web ::: the data-filled, resource-rich, keyword-tagged universe. The semantic web is a world of schema-mapped resources that reveal themselves to humans and to machines through meta-information. A website, for eample, can wrap its core content with an explicit context and grammar. Resources can reference an ontology ::: a schema that reveals the language that they speak ("I am a person & describing myself according to this particular schema ::: this is my address..."). In this way a resource provides a legend for itself that facilitates information sharing in the broader world.
The semantic web expanded into an eventful, responsive web. Nodes became listeners and creators. Links became contextual, shifting, ephemeral. Documents became responsive to external events. Information streams became a life-blood flowing in real time across networks. Books became choreographies. Narratives became open landscapes for the wandering, restless reader.
How do we navigate this wild space? How do we map stories onto this web? We have the tools to move about in a geolocative context ... Our stories can be mapped to place ::: accessible through location ::: existing on a map. (one can't help but see maps then through a fictional lens ::: constructed boundaries ::: colored shapes and borderlands). What does time look like in this context? Is a story's temporal arc completely dependent on the "reader's" movement through a physical space?
Navigation ::: revealing all of the corners of a story becomes an explicit challenge for a writer in this context. Linearity dissolves into trees ::: into graphs ::: into the infinite canvas. The writer defines temporal, spatial, social relationships ::: the set of axes that describes the story space ::: the navigation ::: the compass.
A reader has a new power ::: a new agency ::: they become another character. The reader becomes a game-player ::: a part of the action. What is their role? narrator ::: writer ::: geographer ::: cartographer ::: investigator ::: the boatman? The reader becomes an actor (first person? second person? third person ?) do they become a story layer for future readers to encounter? do they leave their trace?
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