LITERATURE: If on a winter’s night… – Hypertext and Multimedia

A nice analogy to hypertext:

I said I would like to distinguish the sensation of each single ginkgo leaf from the sensation of all the others, but I was wondering if it would be possible. (…) If from the ginkgo tree a single little yellow leaf falls and rests on the lawn, the sensation felt in looking at is is that of a single yellow leaf.  If two leaves descend from the tree, the eye follows the twirling of the two leaves as they move closer, then separate in the air, like two butterflies chasing each other, then glide finally to the grass, one here, one there. (p. 199)

And this:

Passing again beneath the gingko, I said to Mr. Okeda that in the contemplation of the shower of leaves the fundamental thing was not so much the perception of each of the leaves as of the distance between one leaf and another, the empty air that separated them. (p. 202)

These passages are from the section On the carpet of leaves illuminated by the moon. Maybe I’ve become hypertextual to a degree of heightened sensitivity in creating and separating life and all I read into a different meaning of spaces, but this image certainly calls to my mind the individual writing spaces of hypertext software such as Storyspace, and presents to me the map of separation within the whole.

Then this, on adding sound and visuals to text:

(…) I tried to make the comparison with the reading of a novel in which a very calm narrative pace, all on the same subdued note, serves to enforce some subtle and precise sensations to which the writer wishes to call the reader’s attention; but in the case of the novel you must consider that in the succession of sentences only one sensation can pass at a time, whether it be individual or general, whereas the breadth of the visual field and the auditory field allows the simultaneous recording of a much richer and more complex whole. (p. 203)

Sure sounds like "Lights! Camera! Action!" to me. Yet I find it odd that in all the time I’ve studied hypertext–though it not be all that much I suppose–I have not heard Calvino mentioned along with other pioneers of new media. 

Then again, it could just be me as I crawl out of a literary rut and myopically gaze about.

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