Wednesday, November 09, 2005

random access apologetic part 3

…for Brush Boy and Big Talbottoms
If I were ever to write a paper book, it would have to be a pop-up book in which by pressing on a particular word or phrase, you could cause a different section of the book to pop up and follow a tangent line of thinking sparked by the phrase. How does one make forks in the road in a linear, left-to-right, paper copy? I have to recall that Garrison Keillor nearly did this with so many bogus footnotes in a work of fiction that it was almost impossible to follow the story line – but that’s because the reader, having read the footnote, was still expected to return to the path and linearly follow the story. What if the book could be constructed so that the reader didn’t have to read the book in any particular order, and that, not just out-of-order chapters or sections, but phrases that connect directly to ideas and thoughts in other sections?
In Webernese terms, all combinatorial. For example, I would write a chapter about Anton Webern’s tone rows and link it to that text. The reader would decide whether to ignore the fact that he didn’t know what I was talking about, or to hit the link and go off on a tangent listening to me ramble on about dodecaphonic composition.
There is, in fact, a musical work for percussion called Zyklus, by Karlheinz Stockhausen (b. 1928), (who appears in the crowd on the cover of “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which was quoted by Bono in the middle of another song on Saturday night at the concert in Dallas) that I’d like to model in book form. The work has no beginning or end. The score is bound in a ring-binder but there is no front or back to the score. The player simply starts wherever the booklet falls open. If this idea were coupled with the pop-up book idea to simulate hyperlinks rather than footnotes, then the reader would have a simulated idea of how my mind works.