'Into an alien ocean:' The Lore of Kathy Mac’s Unnatural Habitats

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

In her poetic hypertext pastiche, Unnatural Habitats, Canadian writer and scholar Kathleen McConnell, alias Kathy Mac, explores the spatial affordances of Storyspace hypertext both formally and thematically. It engages with the ways in which modernity’s phallogocentric strife for teleological technological progress and masculine dominance has created numerous subjugating, alienating, and potentially fatal spaces for humans and other animals. In my ethnographic research into the lore of early, pre-web hypertext (Ensslin 2020; 2021), I had the opportunity to interview Kathy about some of the processes and ideas underlying her work, as well as to access some of the written correspondence she had at the time with Eastgate’s Chief Scientist, Mark Bernstein, who published her work in The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext (issue 1:3) in 1994.

Pull Quotes: 

The weaving metaphor runs through the entire work, reflecting Mac’s concern with the relationship between text and textile. Mac’s PhD was about textile metaphors in the literature of the Industrial Revolution, and Storyspace allowed her to combine and entextualize formal elements of weaving, such as interlacing, repetition, patterning and cyclicality. 


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Title Developers Year initiated
Storyspace 1987

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Title Location
Eastgate Systems, Inc.
Eastgate Systems, Inc.
134 Main Street
02472 Watertown , MA
United States
Massachusetts US

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Dene Grigar