Remediating the apocalypse

Hypertext and Spatiality

From Christian Hubert's Hypertext project

Hypertextual links, on the other hand, seem to add dimension to the textual surface. It is here that the spatiality of hypertext starts to come into its own, for the linked text suggests a complex spatiality, perhaps ressembling the fractional dimensions of of fractal geometries which are more than two-dimensional but less than three dimensional, or the space of "wormholes" which shortcut through time and space, or the reconfigured spaces of telemedia. The space of hypertext is like a constantly changable constellation. Rather than being a stable territory, it changes according to its mappings, for its features are primarily relational, and those relations can determined anew through every use. It is this capacity for reconfiguration that situates hypertext at the intersection between the urban and the textual experience. Movement in hypertextual space effects the production of associations, of narratives, of "cognitive mappings." This movement traces its lineage from the Aristotelian concept of topos through Giordano Bruno's walks through London, to Walter Benjamin's descriptions of Baudelaire in the crowd, to the Surrealists' dérives , and Michel de Certeau's affirmations of the "spatial practices" of Everyday Life.

The contemporary network promises new forms of discursive production and sociality. "Tech-noir " fiction like William Gibson, or Phillip Dick provide some of the scenarios for the future on which to project our current preoccupations.

It is in this increasing congruency between representations of space and representational space (to use Henri Lefebre's terms) that Hypertext overlaps with other problematics of the relationship between cyberspace and the city. Whatever one's position on this problematic, hypertext would seem the (techno)logical extension of writing into the hyperspaces of postmodernism.

This web project is an evolving space exploring contemporary manifestations of the apocalyptic in current affairs and popular culture. It is being developed in association with my Ph.D. research and is both a research method and a presentation of that research. In exploring the apocalyptic I am particularly interested in mapping a series of multimodal mythic clusters that are evolving through a process of remediation which I identify as a key cultural logic for an age in which electracy is the new literacy of nomadic subjects. This hypertextual presentation foregrounds affiliational logic and although I hope the project accumulates meaning it does not seek to present a single, formal, linear argument. I have presented some of these ideas in more traditional academic formats in other places. Although the navigational choices are the user's own these tips may be useful. Feedback is very welcome.

Marcus O'Donnell 2005-2006