March 2, 2006

Fleming on Of Day, Of Night

Fleming on Of Day, Of Night

One of the nice parts of my job is that I have the pleasure of reading notes that people send us about new hypertexts. Professor Dan Fleming writes from Waikato about Megan Heyward's new of day, of night:

The more time I spend with it, the more I think it's one of the best pieces of new media narrative I've encountered.

At times, on a formal level, it recalls Peter Gabriel's Eve, but where the latter invites the reader/viewer to reconstruct a lost paradise by puzzle-solving, of day, of night doesn't so much offer puzzles as narrative 'knots' that loosen and reconnect themselves just by having time spent over them. There's a delicious sense of reconstructed memories that gently exert pressure from underneath somewhere until you can't stop them from flowing back together in unexpected but wholly satisfying ways.

That rising flow of connectedness is very rare in hypertext where connection often doesn't shake off the arbitrariness of user interaction. Here the interaction shifts gradually away from the physical encounter with the interface and onto a conceptual and emotional plane where I found myself, in the end, in a state of stillness and apparent non-interaction with the computer - but very much engaged by the dreamlike flow of interconnecting memories. Powerful stuff.