Intervals and Links: The Indeterminancy of a Link's Possible Future

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Abstract (in English): 

This paper proposes that link node hypertext can be conceived of as a postcinematic discourse and that a major mechanism of this geneology is available through the comparison of the hypertext link to the cinematic edit. I wish to consider the hypertext link from the point of view of Deleuze's cinematic 'sensory motor schema' where the link can be considered as analogous to Bergson's zone of indetermination between perception and reaction. This work builds upon recent theoretical work that has attempted to define hypertext as a temporal or cinematic medium.

Deleuze's analysis of Dziga Vertov's 1929 film "The Man With A Movie Camera", and the example afforded by Chris Marker's 1962 film "La Jetée", will be used to demonstrate that the significance of the link as a moment of indetermination locates the link within a larger schema. This indetermination is not only the result of a perceptual reduction (what Deleuze has described as the production of an assemblage which obeys the rule of n-1) but also expands into its possible futures. It is around the status of this interval, and the movement that it expresses, that hypertext offers a potential movement that is not so much analogous to cinema as literally cinematic. This will be developed, along similar lines to what Deleuze has offered in his philosophical history of the cinema as a concept, so that much existing hypertext practice can be defined in terms of a 'making habitual' of this indetermination (what we might ordinarily call realism). However, not only might it offer a theory for considering the manner in which hypertext design (and theory) recapitulates other forms (what Bolter and Grusin have recently defined as 'remediation'), but it also provides the framework for articulating a practice that is able to conceive of a concept of 'hypertextuality' that lies outside of its literary heritage.

To link in hypertext is to recognise an indeterminacy (whether as reader or writer) and the possibility of this gap is what hypertext theory, to date, appears unable to have to conceptualised. This paper is less concerned with what actually lies within this gap but rather what produces this indeterminancy in the first instance.


Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema One: The Movement-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema Two: The Time-Image. Trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Petric, Vlada. Constructivism in Film: "The Man with the Movie Camera" A Cinematic Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

(Source: DAC 1999 Author's abstract

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Scott Rettberg