New Gestures

Imagine a hypertext that was complex in complex ways.

Imagine a hypertext made up of complexes of nodes with link patterns demanding attention and rewarding rereading. It might be composed of just text or it might include the full panoply of hypermedia. What would be important would be the links. Not intensities linked but intensity in the links. Not different discourses linked but discourse in the links. (Isn't this what universities sometimes try to do?)

Imagine a hypertext that was more than a reference work, and more than a series of fun surprises. Its patterns of linking would demand attention beyond the current node and the immediate horizon, like a seductive but difficult book that challenged and resisted the reader and asked to be re-read. A text that made new gestures and created new intellectual objects.

What would these hyper-gestures be? More than ironic or other metacomments, more than the shock of random links. Gestures that took whole patterns of links to accomplish themselves. New kinds of discourse, perhaps new speech acts? Such effects and acts need not be predicative nor links of one statement to another. The units linked could be sentences, but they would more likely be paragraphs or longer, played off against one another. How many kinds of links can paragraphs have with one another? Have we invented them all already?

We already write linear text that contains structures that are far from linear. What new actions and gestures can we invent in a less linear medium? We need experimental writing to find out what can be done in the hyper-medium.

Such writing would not be easy to write and not easy to read.