Forms of Communication

  • "In all beautiful art the essential thing is the form", Kant, Critique of Judgement.
  • "The further in anything, as a work of art, the organisation is carried out, the deeper the form penetrates...the more capacity for receiving that synthesis of ...impressions which gives us the unity with the prepossession conveyed by it", G.M. Hopkins, Notebooks.
  • Forms and representations are considered by discourse theory to be powerful in their own right (rather than merely the reflection of power-relations that exist elsewhere).
  • Some forms (Imagism?) emphasise static features, others map connections or dynamic features.
  • Symbols lets us communicate our internal world to others. New means of communications that don't use new symbolism shape variants of existing art forms. Letters produced epistolary novels, discussion produced Plato's dialogues.
  • "To deal with [importing disparate foreign elements into Europe], a new encyclopaedic form became necessary, one that had three distinctive features. First was a circularity of structure, inclusive and open at the same time ...Second was a novelty based almost entirely on the reformation of old, even outdated fragments ... Third is the irony of a form that draws attention to itself at substituting art and its creations for the once-possible synthesis of the world empires... Spatiality becomes, ironically, the characteristic of an asthetic rather than of political domination", (Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism, p.229).
  • A literary work is the setting for communication between writer and reader where the absent writer anticipates (perhaps seeks to control) the readers' responses.
  • "The adoption and popularisation 'overnight' of globally-linked pages and fragments can be seen as evidence of the predisposition of text to what the hypertext community calls 'advanced' or 'late' literacy; not, that is, a function of hypertextual advance" - of Programmatology (John Cayley)
  • Hypertext poetry is yet to catch on because HTML is too restrictive to engender new forms directly (though it encourages the use of Spatial Form), and other techniques are currently too difficult to use. Future hypermedia developments look more promising.
  • However, hypertext does offer readers new possibilities for evasion - they can click when they are bored. Web writers can anticipate this, offering explicit escape routes (intertextuality is no longer virtual) which can deviously lead back into the work. As Michael Joyce remarked at the 1996 ACM Conference on Hypertext, maybe it's "the pure boundedness of its linked space that will distinguish hyperfiction in the age of the web."