Under the Parable. Hypertext and Trauma in Genetis: A Rhizography

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

On the surface, Genetis: A Rhizography by Richard Smyth, a hypertext story published in The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext (Fall 1996, Vol. 2, No. 4), could be labeled a typical work from the late period of Storyspace hypertext publishing. The growing popularity of the Web put the development of Storyspace in a position of catching up with multimedia capabilities of the Web. Thanks to this, apart from the allure of the visualised “hyperspace,” of multi-linear storytelling, and associative argumentation, Storyspace of 1996 offered authors a set of functionalities to include sounds, images and even videos in their hypertexts. Multimedia could be displayed and played back on the reader’s machine in a stand-alone mode: a much more reliable way than over the dial up, PPP connection protocols of the early Web. Smyth took most of these Storyspace affordances to their full potential in creating an engaging, multimodal, and intellectually stimulating hypertext in which the myth of creation meets the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan, and where metafictional reflection combines hypertext structures with the structure of DNA in innovative ways.

Pull Quotes: 

Yet saying, or seeing, is not enough for Smyth. The author wants to go beyond the treatment of hypertext as compositional structure into the realm of embodiment and experience; hypertext is seen as a vehicle for re-anactment of the represented world in the act of reading.

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Dene Grigar