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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Recombinant Poetics

4 messages, from Bill Seaman, Nino Rodriquez, Mez, and Ben Williams

Bill Seaman <seaman@umbc.edu> writes:

Dear Katherine Hayles,
There is a long and a short answer to your question. The long answer is
my dissertation (under construction).

The short answer is that one can pay attention to the detail of each
module that is used in a Recombinant Poetic system. I work with networks
of elements exhibiting specific ambiguity, or fields of meaning. If one
considers a pun, there are a series of different readings for a given
word. If I load an interactive with a network of specific puns, I can be
assured of an emergent meaning -- where elements inform each other.
Imagine, we are on the second reading of "Lolita." We read it in a
different way - we know the ending so we can move through the material
and focus on the detail. In my work, I am interested in non-closure.
There is no ending... Each detail is as important as the next, but the
order does not matter. I attempt to make the elements resonate. The more
time someone spends with the system, the more depth is revealed. Thus
the loading of the elements, their choice, the mechanism that enables
the interactivity, all work together in a resonant way. I am quite
interested in meta-systems. Often the work will punningly refer to
itself as well as other foci. I am currently working on my Ph.D.
dissertation. In it, many references are made in relation to the
construction of such a "resonant" system. The complexity of the relative
relation of the elements creates an emergent experience for the vuser



Nino Rodriguez <nino@pobox.com> writes:

> Does randomness have pleasures of its own?

I've come to believe that "randomness" is one of those things that has
to be strategically communicated to your audience, sort of like Milli
Vanilli admitting to lip-synching on-stage (an example of how not to do
it). As an artist, you have to decide if you're going to label your work
"random" or not, and if so, how to present that message.

In the past, I've tried to hide the mechanisms of randomness, letting
participants contruct meanings for themselves (which is what they'll do
anyway, "recombinant" or not). If someone perceives the randomness, then
they can decide how to factor it into their experience.

Some questions: (Hello, question archivist -- Who are you?)

As a reader/viewer/participant, how does knowledge of an artwork's
production affect your experience? If it were conclusively proved that
Nabokov wrote "Lolita" using the I-Ching, would that alter your
perception of the text?

Why is randomness in hypermedia (particularly hypertext) so often seen
as a sign of artistic laziness?

Is labor-value (the amount of work the artist put into it) really more
important than use-value (what the participant gets from the

-Nino Rodriguez

(LA 90025)



mez <mezandwalt@wollongong.starway.net.au> writes:

N.Katherine Hayles wrote:

'when I read a hypertext fiction (let's say, Shelley Jackson's
"Patchwork Girl") I am not quite willing to put in the same amount of
effort, because I expect that many of >the juxtapositions that I as a
reader can create will not be particularly significant, at least in ways
that I can find meaningful.'

As a writer who is currently engaging in creating work that has been
niche-labelled as hypertext [HT] fiction  [i prefer the terminology
cyberhybrid writing myself], I need to ask a few qs and raise a few

1. Why is it that HT fiction can provoke this type of confusion within a
reader? Is it just this lack of an atypical narrative structure
[disemboweling the narrative has such a nice ring to it] &/or the actual
structural/physical/mechanical differences encountered within the text
itself [hyperlinks etc]? 

2. I choose to write my style of fiction [using a multimedia format] in
order to _enhance_ a possible fragmentation of predictable reader
reactions - which, of course, can alienate certain readers who may want
to have the conventions [read:canon] of traditional fiction echoed in
the hypertext realm. That is, if a reader/viewer/inter-actor expects to
have invisibly crafted cues/clues/concept arrows concretely
embedded/foregrounded in the fiction itself in order to enhance meaning
or signification, why bother trying to grapple with new types of
fiction/function?  Hopefully some audience entities will make that
effort to personalize the experience of engaging a HT work, and not just
seek out/demand a series of signifiers or overall meaning/s...["but what
does it MEAN?"] Surely this effort of _finding_ that connection point
must be a reward in itself. Whatever happened to the notion of
reader/viewer actually participating in/cogitating upon a work, and
making an overt effort in order to glean something from it?

     -mz prepaste modemism herself (aka mez)

<<"I always wrote. I can't remember not writing. I can't remember
>>expressing myself. I wrote my first novel when i was 10 years old. It<<<< 
<<<<<<was three pages long. As far as I was concerned, it was a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>_Cronenberg on Cronenberg_<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


Ben Williams <bwilliams@citysearch.com> writes:

N. Katherine Hayles' post on recombinant poetics pinpointed the problems
that plague a lot of cut 'n' paste art, for me at least. I look forward
to someone's post on the pleasures of randomness, but in the meantime, I
think this reductive but provocative experiment is quite interesting in
this context...

"In a pioneering study of 'bioaesthetics' published in 1973, the Belgian
psychologist Gerda Smets asked subjects to view abstract designs of
varying degrees of complexity while she recorded changes in their brain
wave patterns. To register arousal she used the desynchronization of
alpha waves, a standard neurobiological measure. In general, the more
the alpha waves are desynchronized, the greater the psychological
arousal subjectively reported by subjects. Smets made a suprising
discovery. She found a sharp peak of brain response when the
redundancy--repetitiveness of elements--in the designs were about 20
percent. This is the equivalent amount of order found variously in a
simple maze, in two complete terms of an algorithmic spiral, or in a
cross with asymmetrical arms. The 20 percent redundancy effect appears
to be innate. Newborn infants gaze longest at drawings with about the
same amount of order."

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