Locating Stephanie Strickland's True North

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Many essays about the hypertext poem, "True North," address Stephanie Strickland's use of color and maps, such as Deena Larsen and Richard Higgason's "An Anatomy of Anchors" and its instantiation into two distinct media forms, such as Joseph Tabbi's "Stephanie Strickland's True North: A Migration between Media." Strickland herself has written essays about the work, most notably "Quantum Poetics: Six Thoughts," where she reminds readers that her work "investigate[s] oscillation between image, text, sounds, and animation, both within and between hypertextually linked units" (32). This essay, therefore, takes a different tack from these excellent examples. It offers a discussion of the work's history of production, which is necessary for establishing valid information about versions and dates, and its mechanics because experiencing the hypertext poem will soon no longer be possible for readers. 

Pull Quotes: 

Despite the breadth of her vision and lushness of her words, Strickland was frustrated by the limitations of the medium for expressing her work and has stated most recently in the “Prologue” that she originally visualized the poem in 3D, a feature not possible on the net or web at the time. At the time I first read the poem, I agreed with her, for I too was critical of the limitations of the platform for expressing her universe of ideas more fully. However, looking back now after these (almost) 20 years that have passed since the CD-ROM's release, I locate the work amid the constellation of hypertext stars as one that pioneered the form in anticipation of her net art that followed, such as "The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot" and "slippingglimpse," and the art practice of other artists.

True North's Interface

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Dene Grigar