Sense of place

Garage and street at dusk

  • David Kolb has produced a hypertext essay on the nature of modern spaces in cities called Sprawling Places
  • This hypertext has 100,000 words, 600 pages and 1,000 images
  • The work is multiply linked and threaded by a number of outlines or themes
  • It is possible for two (or more) people to ‘read’ the work in quite unconnected ways and in different sequences
  • Kolb is also revising a ‘linear’ version of the piece (25% content overlap)
  • ‘Reading’ this essay feels very different from reading a book
  • Multiply threaded hypertext has not been prominent recently – Web sites have tended to close down the navigation and structure the content in more linear ways – I welcome this opening up

Iain Sinclair’s London Orbital tackles similar themes – the suburbs vs the City – via a series of walks around the route of the M25. Sinclair interviews J. G. Ballard (in his bunker in Shepperton) and explores periphery. The book has a beginning a middle and an end and a series of side storys and comic ‘business’ at various points. Will I be re-reading Kolbs hypertext ina few years?

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