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First Look: Hypertext Characters

Date: March 17 2016

Identifier: 16_0317_Hypertex

“My name is Mouchette. I live in Amsterdam. I am nearly 13 years old.”

This event featured presentations of three works of digital art and literature that allowed users to engage and identify with on-screen characters: (1996–ongoing) by Martine Neddam; The Pink of Stealth (2004) by Mendi and Keith Obadike; and PSYCHO NYMPH EXILE (2016) by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Neotenomie, and Sloane. A panel discussion with the artists followed the presentations.
The works shown during this event all made use of hypertext—text that is organized in a nonlinear manner so that it can be read in any order. This form was an important inspiration for Tim Berners-Lee’s 1989 proposal of the “WorldWideWeb,” which he described as a “HyperText Project.” In 2016, most online user experiences are organized around vertical scrolling processes or other sequential browsing formats, with hypertext playing a less central role. However, artists continue to find that the nonlinear structure of hypertext makes for productively fluid relationships among artists, characters, and audiences. The works presented during this event, created between the 1990s and the present, made use of such relationships to build empathy, perform identity, and model alternate social possibilities.

“Hypertext Characters” was organized alongside the premiere of PSYCHO NYMPH EXILE by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Neotenomie, and Sloane, copresented by Rhizome and the New Museum as part of First Look: New Art Online.

Lectures & Discussions