Thursday, January 29, 2009

Notes on Landow Hypertext 3.0

Notes for George P. Landow Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization

Chapter 1


(15) The anchor feature in HTML, which is created by the tag, thus permits authors to link to a specific section of long document.

This mistake in an otherwise educational lexia could be the starting point of a psycho-analysis, but we have chosen to focus on the non-human actants in the network. Is technical education infused (spliced) or woven humanities discourse? Of the eight or nine types of hyperlinks Landow enumerates,

(18) Typed links, our ninth category, take the form of limiting an electronic link to a specific kind of relationship.

These are the closest to the 'phasor' type of hyperlink I have been imagining both in computer software development and philosophical relevance. Could tie in Engelbart's hyperscope, whom Landow mentions, to explain this point.

(52) Electronic linking shifts the boundaries between one text and another as well as between the author and the reader and between the teacher and the student. It also has radical effects on our experience of author, text, and work, redefining each. Its effects are so basic, so radical, that it reveals that many of our most cherished, most commonplace, ideas and attitudes toward literature and literary production turn out to be the result of that particular form of information technology and technology of cultural memory that has provided the setting for them. This technology - that of the printed book and its close relations, which include the typed or printed page - engenders certain notions of authorial property, authorial uniqueness, and a physically isolated text that hypertext makes untenable. The evidence of hypertext, in other words, historicizes many of our most commonplace assumptions, thereby forcing them to descend from the ethereality of abstraction and appear as corollary to a particular technology rooted in specific times and places. In making available these points, hypertext has much in common with some major points of contemporary literary and semiological theory, particularly with Derrida's emphasis on decentering and with Barthe's conception of the readerly versus the writerly text.

What about throwing into question the asymmetry between human and non-human parts of the phenomenon? The determinism to which Landow alludes can be interpreted as challenging even the anthropocentric bias that remains after Derrida released us from logocentrism.