Eastgate Systems      Serious Hypertext

On My Screen

Abbe Don, president of Abbe Don Interactive, Inc., is an interface designer and interactive multimedia artist, specializing in digital storytelling. She was the founding Executive Producer for Electric Minds, named one of the Top 10 web sites for 1996 by Time Magazine.

She is best known for her innovative interactive family album We Make Memories which has been exhibited in the United States and Europe and received an Honorable Mention in the Second Annual New Voices, New Visions contest. Her most recent foray into interactive family storytelling is Bubbe's Back Porch, which received the first Hy Struct Award.

Abbe Don

1. the fray

Derek Powazek has created one of the best designed and best written personal storytelling websites around, with impeccable attention to detail and aesthetics. Derek plays the web like a virtuoso musician plays his instrument, collaborating with other artists and then pulling out a solo that makes you realize why he's the guy that everyone wants to "gig" with!

As Derek eloquently states in the fray mission statement:

the fray is a place
for people who believe
that the web is about
personal expression
and a new kind of art

2. Joe's Digital Campfire: Where the Storytellers Meet, Eat, and Scratch Their Feet

Joe Lambert is co-founder of the San Francisco Digital Media Center and has written an excellent hypertext essay on the process of digital storytelling based on his four year stint teaching the Home Movie Workshop. While the course he teaches focuses primarily on creating digital home movies, this comprehensive essay provides an excellent foundation and background to anyone interested in using computers as a storytelling medium, whether creating complex hypertext systems on the web or lyrical digital poems using Quicktime movies.

With a background in political activism and community based art programs, Joe articulates his vision for the new medium:

Like the movement of community arts,
its essential charateristic will be
a commitment to the democratization
of peoples' narratives.
3. home page

Doug Block, documentary filmmaker, is evolving an intertwining double narrative as he keeps a journal about his struggles to edit a linear video documentary called "home page." "home page," the documentary-film-in-progress spins a web of connections around central character, Justin Hall who bares his soul on his web page, on a daily basis.

Doug's journal serves as a companion to the film and accomplishes what the film may never be able to do: create an infinite set of links which resist closure. There can be no end...yet Doug's goal is to end the editing process in order to screen his film in front of a live audience.

Ironically, Doug has been "screening" his film for nearly a year as he shares his process with his web audience. The result is an unintentional exercise in understanding in just what ways the medium is the message.

4. Justin's Links From the Underground

Justin Hall taught me HTML so I can't very well ignore him even though his web site drives me crazy!

I think it's fair to credit him with, if not inventing, then at least perfecting, the concept of the personal home page as vehicle for a net persona. He launched his website back in January,1994 when, as he proudly states, "it only took an hour to look at all the new links available in a day."

Now, his site is almost determinedly retro: no fancy graphics, no plug-ins, no multimedia, just a simple gray background and a spoof or two of popular sites such as Yahoo and Wired News. Dedicated to his own gen-x patois and a love of the "hyper" in "hypertext," Justin's rambling collection of essays, personal journal, and in-your-face confessional, is nevertheless, a testament to four years of organic, amorphous hypertextual growth as an infinite number of seemingly arbitrary links actually contribute to the overall aesthetic experience of feeling what it's like to be inside Justin's head!

5. Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse

Where others have an interesting concept but fall short on execution, John has excelled in both. Too often overlooked, Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse shines due to John's deep understanding of this medium, his playful sense of humor, his multi-linear narrative timing, and biting intellectual mocking of post-modern lingo and aesthetics. This still remains one of the most satisfying and playful uses of the medium that emerged from the early days of HyperCard.

Also, John has interwoven a variety of original songs into the reader's journey which punctuate the experience and make you wish that he could find a way to quit his day job so he could write a sequel to Uncle Buddy or begin a series of new works!

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