Implied Code as Mental Geography

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The "implied code" is a mental model of the operational logic of an interactive work. We might describe this as a kind of interior map in the mind of the interactive user, a private cartography created while wandering the territory of the code. In hypertext fiction, representations of the corpus of the text through "maps" (e.g. a garden, quilt, or body) have played with the disjunction between the map and the territory of node-link navigation. In interactive fiction (IF), map-making both an authoring and user engagement strategy is a tradition that stretches back to the foundation of the genre in 1970s speleunking. Later, paratextual maps of various kinds were often bundled with 1980s corporate works. The tensions between these authorial, descriptive maps and user-created, experiential maps (both mental and physical) are still explored in today's contemporary IF. Like the implied human in Turing's test, these implied psychogeographic landscapes are often not what they appear, however this artifice is one fundamental aspect of their art electronic literature.

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Scott Rettberg