Helen J. Burgess
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Citation: Burgess, Helen J.. “Introduction: SpaceWorks.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 3, 2007. doi:10.20415/hyp/003.i01
Abstract: Introduction to "SpaceWorks" - special issue of Hyperrhiz 03.
In what could be called an accidental convergence of intellectual currents, our featured works in this issue suggest the presence of "space" as their organizing principle. In Interempty Space, John Grech walks the city of Berlin, documenting the ways in which the "forced silences and empty spaces of the communist regime" have given way to the "area in between," sometimes filled by consumer products for the walking tourists, and other times celebrated by a purposely empty space, a space filled only with the uneasy spectacle of memory. George Thomas Morrow, in Interpreting Actuality, Representing the Artifact, sets up mics on street corners, collecting stories from passersby and then reenacting them to produce a hybrid between the narrative aural space of the storyteller and the reinterpreted visual space of the video window.
The global spaces of the installation gallery and the laboratory also feature prominently. OnacloV's documentary work in Islamic Intertext deals with space both in its content (interviews with Moslem residents of Australia in the wake of that singular and unaccountable event, the Cronulla Beach riot) and in its form. Her accompanying essay, "Hijacking Documentary into Video Installation Art," documents her own experience presenting the interviews in the multi-dimensional, multi-voiced space of the gallery installation. Dene Grigar and Steve Gibson's essay on telecollaboration, Motion Tracking, Telepresence, and Collaboration, offers a framework for understanding ways in which telepresence can activate not only virtual collaboration with another artist, but also a deeper collaboration between humans and remotely located machines.
Body space and visual space intertwine in our two poem offerings. Theodoros Chiotis' poem Codeswitching, envisioning a future in which DNA and the Dewey Decimal System collide in a hypertextual code, navigates unexpectedly through the normally linear space of the page; sidebars jostle for position as the reader navigates a hypertextual library of the body. Mez Breeze's scrolling poem ID.xorcism invokes a reformatted body that simultaneously hijacks the dead visual space of the browser window and the "curling geo_edges" of sampled skin, reminiscent of the detached virtual flesh-ovoid we see in the old "floating finger trick."
In addition to the SpaceWorks above, this issue sees the first article in our new reviews section. Davin Heckman explores "the space between [the] treacherous objects" expressed in Jason Nelson's hypermedia works. Heckman notes the tension between high art and junk, in the sense of trash (elicited in Nelson's formulation of "The Dumpster"): the commodity economies that bounce us around between art and trash, our desire for prestige and our "egalitarian impulses." Hypermedia poetry, he argues, complicates this dichotomy by allowing the poet to "sacrifice" his or her work to the audience.
Finally, Hyperrhiz is hosting this month ePoetica, the e-Lit symposium convened and moderated by poetical taskmaster Davin Heckman. This symposium, the outcomes of which will be presented at MLA in December 07 by Heckman, reveals the range of work currently being conducted under the aegis of "electronic poetry." We hope this symposium, among other things, will stimulate your submissions for Hyperrhiz.04, a special issue on eLit, which will go live in December.
— Summer 2007