Research – The history of hypertext

What is Hypertext ?

In my opinion hypertext is a complex structure built from nodes connected by hypelinks that can be both textual and visual.It is a basic element of www and also of net art works ( but not all of them ). Hypertext consists in multiple number of links, it is only a framework that can exist both with data and without. The biggest problem of hypertext is that in the presence of complicated structure the content becomes less important and sometimes hypertext is difficult to read because the frame takes over data. 

History of Hypertext

Origins of Hyeprtext based art

The great infuence of structralists and post structuralists Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida is a major factor in the development of hypertext based art from the point of view of the literature.

Some scientists find footnotes of traditional paper books an important step in the history of hypertext. The thing is that even in the Bible there were the first footnotes that connected pieces of text with numbers and titles that made the content clear and easy to read.

Art has this strange capacity to predict the future. I found in the history of art some examples which introduced concepts that a few years later in other, digital form have become real. I`m thinking mostly about abstract painting, cubists, futurists that broken the linear perspective and decntralized the composition of the artwork.

One of the most important names is Paul Cezanne, who was the first to make many experiments with perspective and decntralized his paintings. He also opened doors to the New for cubists and later futurists and abstractionists. The cubist Georges Braque brought together image and text using in his collages colourful pieces of paper, colours and pieces of newspapers. Futurists and dadaists continued working with collages.

William Burroughs invented cut-up and a combinatorial literature. Together with the poet and abstract painter Brion Gysin, he paved the way for hypertext based art, not directly but with their experiments, they made a way into interactive text.

The utopist project by Theodor Nelson – XANADU from 1960, realized in 1998 consisted of a space with interactive text can be navigated only by keyboard, without using the mouse. All hypertext connections in this utopist project are bidirectional, making the hypertext work by Nelson very innovative.

oliwia blawat “something about hypertext”

Another essential step into hypertext based comes from the first artists who experimented with happening, like John Cage and Allan Kaprow. In 50`s and 60`s they made artworks that are classified as the first experiments of interactive art that involved public participation [ Fluxus movement].

The origins of hypertext based art are related not only to the research of scientists and tecnologiests but also to the history of art that for many years has been transformed from a linear and centralized, one-direction art into interactive and decentralized forms.


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