Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Monday, April 20, 2009

zooming

I really love Scott McCloud's seminal guide Understanding Comics, but in general I'm not a big fan of McCloud's work. And that work hasn't gotten better as, for the last decade or so, he has explored web-based and other post-print media in what seem to be uncertain and half-hearted ways. A case in point is his long-unfinished web comic The Right Number, whose format develops from a single strategy: each panel — or "panel" — contains at its center a tiny rectangle that, when clicked on, comes forward as the next panel. It's okay, I guess, but it gives the comic the feel of being a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. For me that's not a great vibe (even though I think Keynote may be the best app Apple makes). 

I was then reminded me of a rather intriguing new web-based presentation app, Prezi , which allows you (really kinda forces you) to create presentations that zoom in and out and around, making not images but text highly animated. And this in turn reminded me of some of the experiments at Usetext  that have paragraphs emerging from other paragraphs which they displace and then return to. 

All this is sort of cool, I guess, but it is always working against, or at least stretching, the nature of text — as concrete poetry does quite consciously — and that gets tiresome after a while. Sometimes after a short while. Most of the people I know who have tried Prezi say it makes them seasick. I wonder if this is a temporary or a permanent phenomenon? That is, I wonder if people will eventually get used to animated texts and find animation normal, or whether these strategies will always be resisted by text itself?

1 comments:

  • Links on this and subsequent posts don't work. Noticed you fixed the Wunderkammer link, but there's more work to do yet.

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