November 4, 2012

The Future of Hypertext and Print in our Evolving Technological Future

The main thing about Landow's Hypertext and Critical Theory that jumps out at me is the huge paradigm between hypertext and print media.  Throughout the essay, books and print were connected with linear and hierarchical writing while hypertext was presented as a new interactive way of thinking, composing, and reading. Through Derrida, Landow seemed to be advocating the end of print media.

"'The end of linear writing,' Derrida declares, 'is indeed the end of the book,' even if, he continues, 'it is within the form of a book that the new writings -- literary or theoretical -- allow themselves to be, for better or for worse, encased.'" (Landow 47)

"According to Derrida, 'the form of the 'book' is now going through a period of general upheaval, and while that form appears less natural, and its history less transparent, than ever... the book form alone can no longer settle... the case of those writing processes which, in practically questioning that form, must also dismantle it.' The problem, too, Derrida recognizes, is that 'one cannot tamper' with the form of the book 'without disturbing everything else' in Western thought." (Landow 47)

"'... this death of the book undoubtedly announces (and in a certain sense always has announced) nothing but a death of speech (of a so-called full speech) and a new mutation in the history of writing, in history as writing.'" (Landow 48)

[Citing Landow's citations of Derrida makes me feel like the writer of the essay described by Miller: "He applies deconstructive strategy 'to the cited fragment of a critical essay containing within itself a citation from another essay, like a parasite within a host.'" (Landow 46) Nevertheless, as much of Landow's text is quotations from other texts (perhaps his version of a print hypertext?), I cannot refrain from citing his citations.]

What I want to know is this -- is print destined to forever more be viewed as an archaic form of communication and thinking? Are the two forms really so different? Is hypertext a medium -- or is it a quality which can be applied to print? Can print survive through incorporating hypertextual elements?

Furthermore -- how will the new tablet technology and design change our notion of hypertextuality? Windows 8 tablets now offer a picture password option, where you interact with your own photo through the touch screen. Your touch-gesture unlocks the tablet. Check it out:

This isn't the way we are used to interacting with our technology. Will it catch on? If it does, will it change how we think about technology? The design trajectory of tablets? If so, that will surely change what you can compose. Imagine composing a Prezi through a touch screen. That website wasn't designed for a tablet, but could easily be adapted. Could something else be better suited for a touch screen?

And, another Windows 8 commercial -- this one actually relates to print media as well! Granted, it is geared towards a younger audience, but it is an attempt at bridging the gap between new technology and print -- if you notice, the girl's art ends up printed out.

Windows' campaign definitely proves interesting for conjecturing about the future of our culture. Will it be just digital based? Just print based? Some odd mixture of both? Where will hypertext fit into that mix?

What hyper-textual compositions will this new technology unlock for our culture?

Can the increased interactiveness with the medium bring us closer to our compositions -- or will it push us farther away by self-referencing itself or losing its degree of transparency?

1 comment:

Steven Loer said...

Answering your question - is print destined to forever more be viewed as an archaic form of communication and thinking?

Eventually print will become extremely obsolete, yet I doubt lost. The internet is so broad, that many masterful writings get lost quickly. Books allow for storing and referencing over a longer period of time. Maybe we will come up with an algorithm that can access anything on the drop of the hat, more advanced than Google.

If this is the case there will come a time where people consider the absence of text, but many of our countries foundations were built on printed text. To continue to hold some of the same values as our ancestors we will hold onto at least a sliver of print.

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