Perceptual Depth: Cave Works and Three-Dimensional Hypertext

LEA Online Article
Perceptual Depth: Cave Works and Three-Dimensional Hypertext
by Casey Michael Henry

“Perceptual Depth” posits that the form of hypertext, far from becoming obsolete, is actually in the process of being reexamined and redefined. Uniquely, the nexus for this self-consciousness and probing, I argue, is found at Brown University’s “Cave” system and the threedimensional literary compositions produced there. In this paper, I put forth that the virtuality and playfulness of these Cave works expose holes and indeterminacies behind the basic assumptions of hypertext; in particular George Landow’s formula of “lexia” and “link.” Through hyperspatial and aural functions, most evident in the expansion of the formerly two-dimensional “lexia” (or inscribed plane of writing), the Cave works offer new perceptions of how literary sequences are tied together in a hypertextual scheme and what new directions may be possible for mediareliant “narrative,” broadly defined.

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