folded space, traversal machines and the poetics of ‘emergent text.’

by Hanjo Beressem

Rather than providing a fully worked-out argument, the paper advances some propositions about a number of questions concerning the 'hypertextual field.'

The first proposition has to do with space. It concerns the fact that the discussion of the affinity between space and hypermedia has suffered from the fact that it relies on a static, Cartesian rather than a dynamic, topological concept of space. Drawing on Deleuze, I propose the figure of 'folding' , - rather than 'linking', 'surfing' or 'navigating' - as a way to think of textual movement:s within topological space.

My second proposition concerns the dynamics of hypertext in the context of its 'eventuality', 'performativity' and 'interactivity'. Aarseth's definition of cybertext as a 'text that involves calculation in the production of its scriptons', especially when it is coupled with the spatial metaphor of folding, can offer new insights into these fields.

The third proposition concerns what might be called 'emergent text'. Drawing on examples from print- as well as digital literature, philosophy (Deleuze), hypertext theory (Aarseth) and complexity theory, I consider some of the problems and possibilities surrounding the creation of 'autopoietic texts' through specific programmings (such as built-in 'chance operations') of the ‘traversal’ hypertextmachine.

full paper

(given at conference p0es1s - poetics of digital text )