Rebooting Electronic Literature: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Visualization of the Structure of Mary-Kim Arnold's "Lust"

During the 2018 Digital Humanities Summer Institute Davin Heckman and Dene Grigar taught Mary-Kim Arnold's "Lust." Grigar had brought one of the Macintosh SE computers and a copy of "Lust" from her lab so that the course participants could experience the work firsthand. One of the participants, Mark Horney, a Senior Research Associate in the College of Education at the University of Oregon, had a long experience with hypertext and visualization tools. Following the course, he created this visualization of the structure of "Lust." Below is the model he created and his comments.

"The diagram above shows how the nodes of "Lust" are linked together. This network has a variety of influences on how readers experience this work. For instance, while the web of links between nodes suggests that readers have many choices in traversing the nodes, this is not the case. Once a reader has selected an initial link in the "Prologue," the rest of their Traversal is fixed and will end in one of two loops, depending on which component of this disconnected network they have entered. In every Traversal readers will miss some or even most of Lust, something which they may or may not discover."

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