The Hypertextual Experience: Digital Narratives, Spectator, Performance
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis demonstrates how the dynamics of hypertext fiction can inform an understanding of spectatorial practices provoked by contemporary performance and installation work. It develops the notion of the ‘hypertextual experience’ to encapsulate the particular qualities of active user engagement instigated by the unstable aesthetic environments common to digital and non-digital artworks. The significance and application of this term will be refined through an examination of different works in each of the study’s six chapters. Those discussed are as follows: Performances: Susurrus, by David Leddy; Love Letters Straight from the Heart and Make Better Please, by Uninvited Guests; The Waves, by Katie Mitchell; House/ Lights and Route 1 & 9, by the Wooster Group; Two Undiscovered Amerindians Discover the West, by Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Digital works: Afternoon (1987) by Michael Joyce; Victory Garden (1992) by Stuart Moulthrop; TOC by Steve Tomasula; The Princess Murderer by Deena Larsen. Installations: H.G. and Mozart’s House, by Robert Wilson; Listening Post, by Mark Hanson and Ben Rubin. In developing and discussing the hypertextual experience the thesis uses a number of conceptual frameworks and draws on philosophical perspectives and digital theory. A central part of the study employs an adaptation of possible worlds theory that has been recently developed by digital theorists for examining hypertext fiction. I extend this application to installation and performance and explore the implications of framing a spectator’s experience in terms of a hypertextual structure which foregrounds its performative operations and its engagement with machinic processes.
PhD in Drama