Hastie, Amelie (curator). «Objects of Media Studies». Vectors 2.1 (2006). <http://vectors.usc.edu/projects/index.php?project=65> 28 July, 2014.
This is a curated collection of texts by eight writers exploring the materiality of one object each. The nodes can be read in three ways: By author, by curator’s narrative, or free browsing.
An imaginary cross shape is constructed to facilitate these different readings. As the screen is divided into three panes next to each other, reading one essay by one of the writers is to read «down» the central pane. Clicking the middle pane’s lower edge moves to the next page, clicking on the top edge goes to the previous page.
But the curator has also cut up all the eight essays and assembled a new linear flow of them, ordered by topic. This is read horizontally. In the image below, the story of a powder box is displayed in the middle column, and I as reader can choose to move up or down. To the left and right are paragraphs and images from this or other stories that Hastie has selected. If I click the leftmost or rightmost edge, I move back and forth in the assembled story.
I think it is hard to read through these playing-card sized window is hard, and the typography is not good. One essay contains, for example, a block qute from de Certeatu. I do not understand at first that I am reading a quote, as the quote isn’t indented. The work that is cited is not listed in the bibliography, which is «in progress» at any rate. One wonders how much progress it has seen since the publication in 2006.
I chose to start to read about the Flip-flop: an interesting essay on the flip-flop’s history in Brazil, mixed with descriptions of its use in contemporary dances in the Carnaval.
When I had read the whole essay, I turned to the main assembled story, beginning at «Materiality» which I chose from the navigation links at top. What a fascinating read! This curated thread of pieces is truly connected by relation, and meanders about half systematically, half haphazard, like a spirited conversation among friends.
I find this a truly interesting way of reading, and the spatial cross-metaphor works well. This curated thread of pieces is truly connected by relation, and meanders about half systematically, half haphazard, like a spirited conversation among friends.
As with other Vectors essays it is long. In two hours, I had not read half of it.