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Tim Guthrie’s 10:01 – Art Imitating Life (Second Longer Blog Essay)

10:01 began as an ambitious print text by Lance Olsen that explored the thoughts and inner demons of a variety of characters attending a movie in an AMC theater in the Mall of America one afternoon. An excerpt provided by Olsen’s website delivers much of the novel’s intentions: a cataloging of external and internal reactions to various stimuli and memories unfolding ten minutes and one second before the feature presentation begins.

I assume 10:01 conjures up high degrees of visual content even without its hypermedia version. The descriptions embedded carefully in Olsen’s meticulous prose beg to be dissected and supplemented by the reader’s imagination. In the linked excerpt (which serves as the novel’s start), moviegoer Kate Frazey enters the theater with the same attitude as the words that introduce her, remaining in control of her physical being (seated comfortably in “row three, seat nine”) and surveying emotional and mental states as astutely as the narrator (with her employment of a “crane shot” that scans her fellow moviegoers for neuroses and nuances).

Tim Guthrie’s hypermedia version of 10:01 allows those that interact with it to assume the roles played by both Kate and the narrator. The hypermedia experience relies on an all-encompassing, highly malleable experience that complements the sense of narrative omniscience quite well. Once the e-literature finishing cycling through its introduction, a substantial epigraph that collects quotes that marry intimate human experience with the detached nature of film, an experience begins that attempts to write human interaction and thought processes with as much tension and explosion as characters in a screenplay, with the user as the all-knowing “audience” from above.

This isn’t a novel technique by any means, but that speaks more about the text itself than the technology that encapsulates it, which offers a more unique, customizable experience.

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