Hegirascope: Week Two

8 09 2007

Sitting down at my computer after two hours (on and off) browsing my way through Hegirascope and I think I’ve figured out the basic purpose of the site – drive a visitor bonkers.  It’s something so different, so drastic, that at first glance it’s a jumble of story-lines that launch from one point to another, connected by words you can’t decipher until you click on them, a great chance that none of the words will even slightly relate to the page you have just navigated yourself to. If you let the pages themselves make your choices, the stories seem to connect for a brief, microscopic second, before once again ripping apart to go some new direction.  There’s no secret code to get through it perfectly and even when you’re trying to find a story and follow it, you might end up at the index.

Stories don’t even seem to follow one single guiding hand, a clear color of the page that marks one story as part of another, everything seems broken as it jumps around.  Some threads of stories seem to poke fun at the typical thought process a visitor might have, another thread marvels at the way the internet exists outside of space and time as we consider it – all of them are relevant.  The jokes about the end of the world (and needing lawyers), the wry comment that HTML really means “Harder Than Milking Lemurs” and not hyper-text markup language, the stories of the Pirate Queen – they’re jibes at the way a person seems to touch and communicate with people, and how they think on the web.  It’s structured to resemble a choose-your-own-adventure but it’s not really choices that we’re making, because these are uninformed chance clicks – we really don’t have control over the text, we are simply moving it or letting it pull us along.  If you read fast enough, you can catch little snippets of text that make you think about what this is really about, and what on earth you were ever supposed to get from it.

The flash of colors don’t seem like so many flickering television channels so much as looking at a collage of photographs.  On a television screen there’s some kind of connection between networks and you can catch different channels playing the same show, or a similar show – photographs are just flashes, snapshots of time and scenery.  You can change a television channel or block it but a photograph just is, and that’s what I think about Hegirascope – it’s a book of photographs sitting there, waiting for you to open it so it can begin.  It doesn’t exist outside of it, it remains frozen until you, the viewer, open it up.  When I hit on some of the shots I hit my back button to read them over and over again, because they strike a chord – the father and son talking about bodyspace, the existence of the internet; that seems to be the fundamental question, when I look at this.  The text that I click doesn’t really give a choice, the pages are stories I have to read but can’t quite understand, the goal of the project something that the author doesn’t talk about in the ‘about’ section – it’s visually irritating and it’s a puzzle.  It makes me think of so many things at once that I can’t really put the different things into any sort of order because none of them relate.  What is reality and bodyspace, but why is it in the same project as a pirate queen making a witty quip to god?  It’s not something I enjoy except in the abstract of trying to hunt and follow a particular storyline (which, I have to say, is just about impossible), and it hurts and irritates my eyes.

-Aubrey Smith 




One response

10 09 2007

Yes, the choices the work presents are not informed choices. I think that may be part of what he’s getting at. We want control (of this text, of information, of our lives), but we don’t really have it. But along the way, we find fragments, jokes, bits of recognizable stories. And we make some kind sense.

–dr t

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