Upside down...boy, you turn me...inside out...and, round and round...

One thing was agreed: no one quite knew what "hypertext" meant. On one rainy afternoon this November, Mike Figgis, Agnes Varda, Cat Le Couteur and Simon Pummel gathered at the National Film Theatre, under the auspices of Scriptfactory, t turn interactive narratives in digital film gently in Spotlight.

Digital technology, they concluded, frees up filmmakers and screenwriters from conventionally sequenced narratives. It enables a multifarious approach to story telling that meets our speedy, multi-layered, twenty-first century demands. Le Couteur is currently

developing an interactive DVD short, Hotel Lamb, in which the viewer can choose to enter the narrative of any room in the hotel (remember those Fighting Fantasy books?) during the ten minute run up to a fatal fire. Animator, Simon Pummell has created a version of Cinderella that tentacles horizontally, as well as vertically, into cyberspace; with a click of the mouse, the viewer enters a different narrative capsule- the bad smell of an ugly sister, for example.

These texts are not 'hyper'. Hotel Lamb, Figgis' Timecode 2000, and Varda’s Les Glaneurs et la Glaneuse, are all texts about textuality, not beyond it; about what it means to construct a narrative, as a writer, and an audience. Post-Barthes and his dead author, the notion that audience creates the text, weaving
together different units of a sense in to a continuous narrative thread, is well chewed. Digital is another mouth, a whole new set of technical possibilities, but less we forget the older 16mm, novels, paintings, poems...

If broken-limb narratives are not 'hyper', nor are the realities they create; ('hyper-reality' seems invariably to lurk behind each mention of 'hypertext'). For better or worse, the indeterminacy of our individual narratives, and our inability to see beyond our own visual spheres, are true facts of life, and here to stay.

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