project

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To begin, I'm definitely doing the creative project, since, how cool will it be to actually be a "published" hypertext author? Granted we fit into the "amateur" category that exists despite the internet being a reasonably democratic medium, now we can coolly demonstrate to all our friends who probably don't know that hypertext is that yeah, this is what we do in Writing Machines.

I haven't actually written anything creative since about the eighth grade, but for some absurd reason I continue to entertain the notion that "I like doing creative writing" and "I'm pretty good at it." So I hope I don't prove my middle school teachers wrong in attempting to create my own narrative.

I want to write my own story inspired by one of my favorite books I read while abroad in the Czech Republic, Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal. Although the conditions of Hrabal's story were the result of the communist occupation of Czechoslovakia where books were banned if they deviated from the prevailing ideology, much of the story has to do with the importance and beauty of books as physical objects. In his job of compacting wastepaper and as an obsessive collector of books (for their presence), Hrabal's narrator is both a "destroyer and perpetuator of the written word."

I want to do something somewhat similar with the idea of electronic data--to create a main character who lives in a world where pure immediacy of information is considered a perfect, potentially attainable form. Material forms of information are not democratic, they are flawed because they are not accessible to everyone. The "perfect" form of information is one that is immediate, entirely accessible, and free. Material objects are no longer valued… they are seen as lesser, machine-like. People want to strive above their "machine-like" materiality. Materiality is holding people down from being able to exist in their perfect states-- as "souls," as "human consciousness" that distinguishes humans from machines. The seeming immateriality of both electronic data and the human soul, vs. the materiality of both the computer and the body.

The narrator: both awed and terrified of the potential of a perfect, permanent data storage system-- what that means in terms of the form of human beings
-afraid of losing materiality
-has a bizarre obsession with the perfect form of data, yet also with resisting complete dematerialization through the collection of material data
-in this way, resisting both human and machine intentions

I don't know the story arch yet, and if you're thoroughly confused by now I am too. It will be a narrative, in electronic form with somehow an emphasis on the material.