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"*water always writes in *plural" by Linda Carroli and Josephine Wilson
"This is of course, from the point of view of the woman, an impossible story. " *water always writes in *pluralAbout the Work
*Water always writes in *plural is a collaborative hypertext created by Linda Carroli and Josephine Wilson. They worked for eight weeks on the project alongside ANAT (Australian Network for Art and Technology) and the Electronic Writing Research Ensemble. The goal was to produce a cross-disciplinary work that addressed electronic language and writing as invention. In this way, the writers could explore the specific medium of the internet community by engaging in the design and identity of that medium.
Throughout this project, the writers strived to maintain their own distinctive voices and styles. As with the internet, Linda Carroli stated that “collaboration doesn’t necessarily have to result in homogenisation, but rather that there is space for different voices, for partiality.” (ANAT) By maintaining their unique writing styles, it was possible to analyze a topic from a variety of angles. Specifically, this topic explored women’s thoughts about romantic and/or sexual relationships.
As aforementioned, the work is a hypertext collection of narratives that form a cohesive whole. When entering the piece, the user is presented with four different paths from the get-go. Together, these links read as “a woman stands on a street corner waiting for a stranger.” As the user continues to explore, they find that each page treats differently content, presentation, and functionality. While some pages only contain text, some might also include an image, or present multiple hyperlinks to the user, or arrange the content in some unique way, and so on. Despite the lack of uniformity within the work, the theme is strong enough to create a sense of cohesion to the user. After fully exploring the piece, the reader will have been shown many different viewpoints regarding a single topic and gain a better understanding of it. Again, this process mirrors the nature of the internet: a user types in a search query and are presented with many pages to choose from with varying answers.
Linda Carroli enjoys exploring non-linear styles of writing, tending to gravitate towards hypertextual work. She is a postgrad in writing at the University of Queensland. As an essayist, freelance journalist and researcher, she has published in a number of journals including RealTime, Eyeline, and Periphery. She once expressed her fascination with the hypertextual medium in an online chat with the ELO, stating "I think the equation of creation and navigation is really quite interesting ... make[sic] me think all those colonial explorers must have thought they were creating the world as they passed through it." (Chat Transcript ELO, April 21, 2002)
Like Linda, Josephine Wilson is also interested in the potential of writing online and hypertextually. She graduated from Queensland with a Masters in philosophy, and from the University of Western Austrailia with a PhD. She is also known for her lectures in creative writing, performance studies, and the history of art and design. Some of her works include The Geography of Haunted Places (which was performed in Australia and London), and her novel Extinctions which received the Miles Franklin Award, Dorothy Hewett Award, and Colin Roderick Award.
This is the first page users come to. Each group of text is a link to a different page. Readers can begin at any point, though a brief summary of the story is given if they choose the first link.
This is one of the pages within the work. The paragraphs are structured in three columns, with images placed at the top and center.
This page contains a small paragraph of text, with three different links to choose from lining the bottom.
On this page, the paragraphs are placed sporadically across the space.
The text on this page is structured uniformly, with larger text placed above each centered paragraph.
Links to the work
"*water always writes in *plural" has been recorded in Rhizome's webrecorder. Additionally, it has been crawled by the Wayback Machine. A link to Linda Carroli's and Josephine Wilson's plate in The Progressive Dinner Party is also provided below.
View "*water always writes in *plural" in the Webrecorder
View the web archive link
Carroli, Linda and Wilson, Josephine. “Intro.” *water always writes in *plural. 1998, http://ensemble.va.com.au/water/intro.html. Accessed 6 July 2019.
“Josephine Wilson”. Wikipedia. Last edited 24 April 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Wilson_(writer). Accessed 6 July 2019.
“Water Writes Always in Plural”. Australian Network for Art and Technology. http://www.anat.org.au/2010/08/water-writes-always-in-plural/. Accessed 6 July 2019.
“Credits.” Ensemble Logic. http://ensemble.va.com.au/water/credits.html. Accessed 6 July 2019.
39 Works Key
To present the 39 restored works, a system was devised involving tags and organizing them alphabetically by title. The works themselves can be viewed in alphabetical order in the next page, and the tag descriptions can be found here. These tags serve to provide a brief overview regarding the key features of each piece for the reader's convenience.
Area maps are used to create images with clickable areas. They are usually presented as a <map> tag towards the end of an <img> tag, followed by a list of screen coordinates. Though rarer, area maps is included as a tag because of the unique functionality it introduces, allowing users to hover over various spots on an image to access different hyperlinks.
This is for works that include auditory components.
Broken or Missing works
Unfortunately, not all of the local files for the works within The Progressive Dinner Party could be obtained. This was either because the work no longer existed (such as Slattery’s Glide) or because contact could not be made with the author for missing files. When possible, an external link to the most complete version of the work was provided in the website.
This tag is applied to works that were produced by multiple artists.
Works that used Adobe Flash to produce animations or sounds were given this tag. Unfortunately, all support for Adobe Flash in modern web browsers will be dropped in December 2020; thus it was imperative that these works were restored within the Webrecorder to ensure their survival.
Frame sets are used in HTML to divide the screen into sections, or "frames", that coexist while simultaneously remaining separate from each other. These are works that use frames as main components for separating menus, images, buttons, and more.
GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format) are still or animated images used by works to introduce animations with technology other than software such as Adobe Flash or Shockwave.
High Level Interactivity
On occasion, a work will demand greater participation on the users part than average to experience the work.
This tag specifies works that focus on hyperlinking text as a way of communicating messages.
Though many of the works featured in The Progressive Dinner Party include images, some of them cannot be easily navigated without them. Such works may be using images as the main way of presenting the piece. Others may include images to provide critical visual cues, such as written cues (like Home, Back and Next), or non-written cues (like arrows and other icons.)
For works that are presented in a linear fashion.
This includes hypertexts that are unusually large, usually as a result of collaboration from one or more artists.
Refreshing the page to redirect users to another is a fairly common practice among these web artists.
Many of the works relied on software produced by companies. Though Adobe Flash and Shockwave are considered proprietary, they were unique and used often enough to justify separate tags.
Artists on the web have many different methods of presentation at their disposal, which includes featuring their work as a slideshow.
This tag is given to works that utilize tables in an important way, such as for images or overlaying content.
This is for works that include video components.
This tag is applied to works utilizing Adobe Shockwave. Though support for Shockwave was dropped in April 2019, Shockwave plugins are still available for certain browsers. Thus, it was imperative that these works were restored with the Webrecorder to ensure their survival.
Shockwave and Flash
As of 2019, Adobe discontinued its support for Shockwave, while support for Flash will end in 2020. This means that any digital works that used these software programs will soon become obsolete. There are at least eight works within The Progressive Dinner Party that utilize these software programs, and though the Flash works could be easily viewed the Shockwave files would not play in most modern browsers. Fortunately, the Pale Moon web browser offers a downloadable Shockwave extension that allows files such as these to be viewed. At present, the Webrecorder can emulate browsers that support Flash but has yet to support Shockwave, but can record these files nonetheless. Thus, these works require browsers that support Shockwave in order to view them.
The Flash and Shockwave works are generally visual in nature, though some works use the software to play background music (such as *water always writes in *plural by Linda Carroli and Josephine Wilson.) Many of them are also highly interactive, such as The Intruder and Illusions, Philosophical Toy World. Still, the majority of them simply played videos or included moving imagery.
Animations created in CSS were not common until around the 2010s, so Flash and Shockwave were used to fill this niche during the explosion of the World Wide Web. But because Flash and Shockwave were so similar, the two competed for dominance (with Flash eventually winning.) Flash was released in 1996 as FurtureSplash by FutureWave Software, but was soon purchased by Macromedia and renamed Macromedia Flash. Macromedia also owned Director at this time, a software authoring system used for creating interactive CD-ROMs that predated the web. However, before it had purchased Flash Macromedia began outputting Director Files as Shockwave for the web, which meant Flash and Shockwave were fighting for the same audience drawn to interactive media. Eventually, Flash’s ability to play content quickly and its ease of use gave it an edge over Shockwave, despite the software program offering more robust features than Flash did. During this period of success Macromedia sold its products to Adobe, who in 2013 announced it was dropping support of Director, Shockwave in 2019, and Flash by the end of 2020.
Below are the works containing Flash and/or Shockwave files.