June 19, 2003
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Collage

An intriguing and important post from Diane Greco (June 18) on the use of windows in Storyspace.

The piece at Beehive [The Country Between Us] is an excerpt of a longer work in Storyspace , which has the nice affordance of letting you work with dozens of windows open at once. I've been using Storyspace since 1992 and I've always used it with lots of windows open. It is nice to be able to see everything at the same time. I find connections suggest themselves more easily than if I had to rely on memory alone to make the links.

As "The Country Between Us" got larger, I realized that I really liked the effect of drawing the reader's eye from one live window to another live window. In "The Country Between Us", every time the reader finishes a window, the piece opens a new window somewhere else on the screen, and the resulting "popping" window is what draws the reader's eye on to the next window. It's an artifact of operating systems that only one window is "live" at a time. "The Country Between Us" exploits this convention.

The effect is, I think, kind of rhizomatic, not exactly in Deleuze's sense but in the old-fashioned meaning of the word -- window #2 will pop up somewhere very different from window #1, in the way that rhizomatic plants like asparagus grow....One unintended effect is that all the layered windows, and the windows seeming to pop up from the depths of the screen, is that the screen actually seems to have depth.