This lyric hypertext poem is based on a speaker’s thoughts and observations centered upon the pines at Walden Pond, a space celebrated in American literature thanks to Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden, his experiment in self-reliance and Transcendental song.
Larsen’s hypertext is mapped upon an image of a pine branch, in which several nodes are connected by spindly linear trails. Each trail of links can be interpreted as a line of thought, starting with four nodes that focus on the pines, the speaker’s perception of them, Thoreau, and the speaker herself. Following the link trails lead to nodes that hold together well, though there are both physical and conceptual branchings. Clicking on links as they appear within each text also creates thematic associations. Both ways navigating this poem lead to a powerfully associative coherence in a piece that engages the beauty of the place while questioning some of Thoreau’s politics.
The minimalist design for this poem concentrates attention on the visual while it evokes all the senses with its language choices. There is only one input cue at the opening of the poem a white dot in the faint gray background that triggers the poem’s slowly scheduled display of language. The pace at which lines fade in and out creates a layered meditative experience and the words instruct readers to imagine a space, do things with their bodies, and become aware of how it leads to sensory experience. Pay attention to the rhythm established by the fading language and to the rhetorical and semantic pattern Knoebel creates with the poem so you can really appreciate how he breaks both patterns with a single powerfully sensuous word.
This aural poem about a speaker’s perception of a bar fight is arranged on a visually minimalist interface that allows readers to experience both the chaos of the event and the calm recollection of it afterwards. Each circle (or is it the letter O?) contains two areas that respond to mouseovers. The circumference triggers the playback of a recorded line of speech that tells a piece of the story. The center triggers a loud diegetic sound that takes the narrative beyond being a language constructed event to something that feels real. You can trigger more than one sound clip simultaneously, by the way, and if you move your mouse pointer rapidly over the whole piece, you can create a truly chaotic mess of sound and information— perhaps like the experience of a bar fight.
The minimalist interface for this piece presents two links, one in each black square, that lead to a “Poem by Nari.” Self-described as “visual poems from the cyberstream,” these conceptual poems are inspired by the Web— its aesthetics, code, images, and texts, both intended and accidental— and reworked by Warnell to comment, highlight, and transform it into e-poetic works that are difficult to classify in any conventional genre or art form, except as net.art, which is far from traditional. Returning to this piece (or reloading the page) shows different works in the window, keeping the experience fresh while frustrating attempts at re-reading the works by providing uncertain access to them.
These two works are built on the same interface yet take slightly different approaches to their space on the screen.
“Bus” creates a soundscape of the interior of a bus in an urban location, and then uses a black screen for over a minute at the beginning of the piece to focus our attention on the aural information. When the narrative prose starts to flow on the screen, the narrator can focus on describing what he sees and we become immersed in his observations without needing further elaboration on the setting we’re in. The wandering eye approach to this and the next poem yields acute observations of human behavior while revealing much about the narrator & speaker.
This lyrically powerful hypertext poem is inspired and informed by a large number of sources, primarily on mythology (mostly Greek) and labyrinths (mandala shaped ones). Centered upon the Minotaur myth, the labyrinth Daedalus and Icarus built to contain it, Ariadne and the Minotaur himself, the poem gives a voice to some of these characters, representing them visually with an image of a portion of the mandala-shaped stone maze, and a body part (in the name given to the node. The hypertext is structured like a mandala, allowing readers to take direct paths in towards a center space with its own nodes. The interface also allows for lateral or circular movement across voices, placing them in conversation with one another and allowing readers to spiral in towards the center.
This scheduled poem is built around a quote from James Elkins’ 1999 book, The Domain of Images, in which he analyzes the blurred boundaries between images and writing. In this quote, he is focusing on a piece by Chu Ta (also known as Bada Shanren) in which a Chinese character is written / drawn in way that it can be simultaneously looked at as a flower and read as a word. The conclusion of Elkins’ analysis of this piece seems to have provided inspiration to Bell:
Visually, Bell is overlaying different typographical expressions of the same quote by Elkins: one in a serifed font and another smaller one in a sans serif font. Close attention to the differences between the two fonts, reveal how painterly serifs can be. The line breaks are also different, cutting prose into poetry. The scheduled presentation of this piece is used to add layers of formatting, such as italicizing the book title, or adding lines of color, or a handwritten text at the bottom of the window.
Bell is adding a few brushstrokes to the text, making it his own.
var m1 = " Conjuring: beauty, health, self-improvement. ";
var m2 = " Love and Romance. ";
var m3 = " Magick between dawn and sunset. ";
This selection of six poems built with a type of composite image known as animated GIFs used to create the earliest animations in the Web. In Zervos’ experienced hands (see his “Dimocopo” suite), this simple technology can be very expressive indeed, as can be seen in “Divorce” a kinetic concrete poem that uses moving typography to highlight some of the finer points in a divorce process.