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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathNarration
Finnegans Wake (Joyce, James), 1923

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In order to achieve this, he develops various narrative strategies that will prove seminal in particular for the media art of the 1980s and 1990s. Especially in «Finnegans Wake,» the linear account of an objective report continually comes up against its limits. The text keeps creating new constellations, which are open for alternating associations and can be tied into a continuing series of new narrative knots. Reading increasingly becomes a matter of «networking.»[10]

The Rhizome—metaphor for hypertextual narratives

This view of Joyce's work would surely not have been possible without the benefit of poststructural theory and without the metaphor of the rhizome conceived by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in 1977. They write: «The rhizome itself can take on the most diverse forms, either branching out and spreading in every possible direction across the surface, or condensing itself into bulbs or knots. … Any given point of the rhizome can and must be connected with every other point.»[11] Thus, the rhizome offers the ideal metaphor for a


narrative strategy that was already laid out in Joyce, but which first experienced its aesthetic realization with the advent of the computer. Since the mid-1960s the narrative strategy of hypertext in art has been a topic of discourse. Theodor Nelson, who coined the term «hypertext» as early as 1965,[12] had since the 1970s pursued the idea of developing software that, like the library of Babel, would be able to manage all forms of writing and would make it possible for the user, whenever he/she reached a point in the text requiring further clarification, to immediately call up the appropriate note. Nelson defines «hypertext» as «non-sequential writing— text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen.»[13] Interactive installations and environments, which have been common in Europe and the USA since the mid-1980s, make use of the principle of dialogue by which computers function to tie in recipient participation, not only conceptually but also functionally. Although Joyce already developed some of the central aesthetic categories for involving the reader, these were unable to unfold their full

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