Never-ending narratives


Sara Ohrvall writes that we are "increasingly overwhelmed by the way in which we have build media in the digtal world. ... People consume media in place where they just happen to end up. This leaves consumers uncertain about whethr they have read/listened to/ viewed what's relevant to them or not"(quoted by Peter Kirwan in Wired [March 10, p42]).

Kirwan goes on to say: "The fundamental problem ... is the absence of closure in most digital narratives. On the web you 'always link somewhere else; the story never ends. No sense of completion".

This is interesting, but is it a problem?

AsSomeone spoke recently about 'awareness of other rhythms' in his life - the rhythm of blogs, twitters, different time zones, members of his family's waking/sleeping rhythms, etc.

It's more than just being 'untethered' (Gilly Salmon's phrase), i.e. not just untethered (from fixed, wired, situated media), rather re-embedded in a symphony of rhythms. You dont, crucially, 'see' where you are, you 'feel' where you are, in relation to all these other rhythms, no? And hopefully the symphony does not flip over into cacophony too often.

Do we need to find new language for 'open narratives', or do we perhaps need to recognise that all narratives are open, and have always been so, its just that during a particular phase (the Gutenberg, suturing-text phase) of history, discourses of power seized on the affordances of closed (or at the least teleological) narratives, and made merry while they could.

Darwin executed the first major skirmishes in the battle to shift out of closed narratives, Lyotard and Derrida helped it on its way, and the Internet is providing the global infrastructure for the new figuration, which we could call 'ecological narratives' (written retropectively), no?