John recommends these online literary links.


by John Cayley

with grafts by Caroline Bergvall

This version of noth'rs is a severely cut-back extract from the first published rendition of the piece as it appeared on the CD ROM which accompanies the current issue of Performance Research ('On Line', Performance Research, Volume 4, Number 2 (Summer 1999), edited by Ric Allsopp & Scott deLahunta).

noth'rs is very much a work-in-progress. Since many of its concerns are formal and engaged with the theory-in-practice of its media, technical and paratextual aspects of its publication are foregrounded, and these require further development. Over the web, platform-independent speech synthesis is not readily available, so the looping of hefty sound files (generated by a speech synthesizer) may cause some readers problems; the way Java runs under many browsers is still not stable or entirely predictable; transitions between the transliteral phases of the piece are not precisely as I would like them; and in a subsequent version, I would arrange the assignments of keys for navigation differently. Nonetheless, the overall literal and literary structure of the work is accessible in this form. From November 1999, a link to a developing site of noth'rs can be found through my recommended links.

In the CD ROM version, there are 16 English and 14 French 'nodal' texts. At any one time, four of these texts are linked in ring of transliteral morphs and any four texts may be set into such a ring - any text may be morphed from any other. In this extract, there are four English and four French nodal texts and these may only be arranged on a ring in a relatively small number of permutations.

In the CD ROM version, there are also 16 one-line texts, '16 flowers', composed by Caroline Bergvall. These appear at quasi-indeterminate points when an 'up' key is pressed. Each of these are seen once and once only. In the present version, five of Bergvall's texts are accessible.

Please note: this piece opens with a short 'title' sequence of textual morphs. The reader should simply watch and read until these settle. If you are revisiting the piece and don't wish to sit through the opening sequence, clicking on the black bar cuts to the half-page of basic instructions, at which point the arrow keys become available for navigation of the transliteral morphs.

Over the web, moving from one transition to another can be slow, if the network is busy. The speed will certainly vary. Results seem to be better using Netscape over IE as a browser.

There is audio in the piece at certain points - when morphing between two pairs of nodal texts (one English-English, one English-French). On a slower dial-up link to the net, it may take a while for the audio files to load:- these audio files are run directly from Java, so they are not streamed. Finally, on some systems the quality of the audio may not sound the best. I was obliged to make compressed recordings of speech synthesis.

Pressing the 'home' key starts a brief 'closing' sequence of morphs. Clicking the lower-right 'meridian' link takes you to the meridian entry point at any time.

John Cayley

John Cayley is a London-based poet, translator and publisher, who now invests in poetics chiefly through networked and programmable media.

Caroline Bergvall's text work has been included in anthologies such as Out of Everywhere (Reality Street Editions, 1995), Conductors of Chaos (Picador, 1996). Site-specific pieces include the sound-text "Eclat" (Sound & Language, 1996). Currently working on "Ambient Fish" a sound-text commission for Hull Time Based Arts, "flesh a coeur" a handmade book for Vols of Vulnerability (Gefn Press) and "Jets-Poupee", part 1 to be published by RemPress. Net info also at the EPC and the Performance Writing Symposium sites. She is Director of Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts.

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