no end

November 14, 2007

In doing some research on the concept of hypertext itself, I have come across another aspect of internet writing that defines it uniquely as a medium. Hypertexting allows for a reader to determine his or her own linear path. This fundamentally changes the way we read, the concept of a linear path in a book is turned on its head. Blogs, I suggest, are the writer’s version of reading hypertext. In maintaining a blog, one does not have to follow any linear path in what they write, they can absolutely choose to, just like a reader can choose to read a blog from its first post to its last. But hypertext in the format of a blog does not force you to interpret the material in that way. We find blogs through different means and rarely read a blog from the first to the last post; instead we read pieces of the threads that interest us and then move on to other blogs or sites that continue the same thread. Thus the artistic experience, the experience that I have defined in another post on how art is defined, is not based on the relationship between the writer and reader, but rather on all the writers (the blog writer, the commentators on that blog, the other blogs and sites linked through hyperlinking) all these make up the artistic experience this one reader has with the “art” of internet writing.

Now there is a reverse argument, that which states that one may choose to read a blog however they want but it is fundamentally organized linearly, ie chronologically. And that is completely true most of the time, but fundamentally we do not look at blogs that way and when visiting a blog you do not see the first post first, rather you see the last post, suggesting a linear pattern in the opposite order, as if one should read the last chapter first of a book and end with the first chapter.

But going back to the hypertext and freedom this creates for the reader we then connect this with the readers ability to add their own content, in their response they can add more links and arguments to the conversation, thus becoming a writer of the same evolving story.

But I titled this with “no end” and that is because there is no end in this format. We can add as many posts as we want, same with comments, and even when a blog goes idle and the writer stops adding, that doesn’t mean the artistic piece ends, because for as long as that blog exists, readers can add. Thus these are works of art that will never end and always evolve.