Navigating Subjectivity: South, a Psychometric
Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London
Abstract or Description
South: A Psychometric Text Adventure is an artist’s book and a set of software programs. The South project re-conceptualises the artist’s book and wider bookforms, encouraging models of interaction that are aware of specific locations and individual subjects. These alternatives are a response to what this thesis frames as two rapidly stagnating forms. The thesis argues that both the artist’s book and electronic literature (see the glossary on page 343 for definitions of the key terms used throughout this thesis) have not made a significant impact on the cultural landscape of the early 21st century. Nor have they made a significant use of the key technological changes that have occurred since the first electronic literature emerged in the late 1970s (in the form of interactive fictions, sometimes called ‘Text Adventures’, such as Colossal Cave Adventure (Crowther, 1976)).
In order to move forward from the increasingly problematic, disembodied, computational models used in these early digital works (discussed in chapters two, five and six) this thesis specifically recommends the formation of temporally specific, contextualised, relationships between readers and digital texts. The South project presents a multi-linear, situated and embodied form of intra-activity (see glossary) as an alternative to more linear forms of interaction. These ideas and their implications for electronic literature and artist’s books will be clarified and outlined throughout this thesis, as will the rationale for framing them as valid models for moving electronic literature and artist’s books into a position of cultural and technological relevance.
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