This multimedia hypertext poem written in French is designed around a painful personal memory— the gesture of closing her deceased father’s eyes, which proved to be quite different from what is depicted in innumerable Hollywood films. The emotional impact of this moment is burned into the speaker’s memory (a representation of the poet herself) and is represented by several mechanisms in the poem.
The first one is the looping narrative stream, describing the traumatic moment in the background throughout the whole poem. The texts in the foregrounded windows all are different memories of different situations yet they all revolve around this original event. Saemmer signals this visually from the outset by precisely positioning a text box with a text scrolling at the same speed as the text in the background to make it seem as if the text is spilling from one surface onto another (see image below).
But they are not the same text, and while they are also not in the same setting (notice the faded, abstracted background video loops in each window), the traumatic memory transcends place to become ever-present.
As readers move and foreground the text boxes— all of which seem to be grouped and identified by a symbol on their top left corners— and start to assemble a sense of the whole, they must close some windows, which triggers new windows to pop-up. This creates a dynamically oppositional relation between readers that seek clarity and an environment designed by Saemmer to frustrate a desire for closure that her speaker also seeks but can never quite get.
Just as human bodies eventually break down, resulting in death, this work is created with a similar lability. The speed at which the scrolling central narrative is displayed is determined by the processor speed, becoming less legible as they improve over time. It is also created in Adobe Flash, a proprietary technology that seems to be reaching the end of its days. This mechanism of memory wants to disappear in time, like William Gibson’s “Agrippa,” perhaps because memories fade and make room for peace.