The question is how to reconcile the conflicting and codependent relationship between form and meaning. True human thought is naturally digressive, imperfect, unlimited, and unformed. Form, then, is the cast into which our molten thoughts are poured; that which is too hot becomes cool enough to touch. But how close ever is this new product to what was there, inside? It seems to me that a true account of any feeling or impression would use as many words as are in a dictionary. And then move on to sound and color. It would mean everything—and nothing. But form, like a sentence or a paragraph, helps us to make any sense at all. It takes us down a path to somewhere. And where we would stray, form brings us back.


Form unifies. The meter of a poem or the repetitive schemes in an Ozu are good, not because they make the story more accurate or complete, but because they give pleasure and help us to feel and to remember. Again, the truth, I suspect, lies somewhere between a two-line sound byte (easy to remember) and a loud cluster of black raindrops smeared across your face (easy to remember, harder to get on film).


I have always found the standard human inability to express – or often even understand – what is in my own mind a rather cruel dose. Unsatisfying, stultifying, horrible. The moment I write it down it’s wrong? Maybe hypertext can offer some escape. When I create a link I connect two different pages as if by a small invisible stream. A new form emerges consisting of two files linked together. And if the links are non-prioritized, then the original form itself (as existing without the links) can still be followed. Both options are available.


A poem can remain a poem, but now also be tied to a story, which is, in turn, linked to a song, and so on. And like a small stream, a thoughtful link follows one direction, by gravity. Without this force there would be no current, and movement arbitrary, and reckless. But as it is we can float down the stream from one page to another. For as long as we want, or until a black hole gets us. But it’s also good to work our way back to the original page with its original goals and determination, lest hypertext become a mere excuse for floating happily downstream. The last thing we want is to be happy.


The idea is to enjoy the illusion of completeness and incompleteness both in the same space. Is this the pursuit or is the avoidance of truth?




April 2007