Elizabeth Rodwell

I want to make one; I want to make a hypertext Liz. I want to explain myself in bits and pieces because that's the way I tell of myself. Shelley Jackson's My Body makes sense; it's laid out the way the mind thinks to tabulate an identity, as Melissa Caruso noticed a few years ago, Jackson's piece is writing about the process of writing.

So the body is like a hypertext, but even more so, the mind. My Body gives a lot of insight into the way Ms. Jackson thinks and writes; the process is also the finished product. Hypertext's utility lies in the fact that it allows us to free-associate, to write without blinders. All tangents are relevant, so long as they're interesting. Hypertext is a lot like oral story-telling in that the listener or reader is able to interact with the author, to pose questions and find answers, to follow the writer's train of thought. Shelley chooses her links well: "convoluted surface of folds overlapping folds" links to the hips section, for example

On my web page I've always given little autobiographies and convoluted links lists, so that my reader might figure me out a bit; at least so far as I portray myself accurately. I'll point to a painting I like, (a reproduction, of course,) and send my surfers on to a page of queer resources. I've tended also to change the self-descriptions often in hopes that a faithful reader might piece me together. I haven't had a web page in years that hasn't included a series of personal photos; I like to be known, so I construct my identity with care for the benefit of others. Identities, hypertext, and web pages in general are made of bits. Our minds are hypertextual anyway…

So technology constructs us, we use technology to construct ourselves. Think home videos, avatars, AOL, photographs etc. We look at these, we look at people and we do our own reading of them based on what we see, hear. What we have in My Body is a simulated social interaction, akin to meeting someone in a chat room and attempting to unravel their story. Supposedly this is the information age, but it seems as though we've merely found new mediums. Technology is natural so far as it's constructed to mirror the way info. is transmitted in the natural world. Our memories are constructed differently, our brains may or may not function differently in this age. Not quite Blade Runner, but we're getting there.

Discussion of Patchwork Girl Overview Screen for Website Body and Self