Conference with Mark Bernstein

Mark Bernstein publisher of Hypertext works such as Margaret Heyward’s “Of Day, Of Night” was the keynote speaker at a conference I went to today. His topic: “False intentions and the fallacy of finding” explored the ways in which information architecture (that is internet and web design) fail to really match the way we read or understand things. It was a fascinating paper which helped to show that so much of what is constructed on the internet is actually lagging behind the way we shape our reality. He asked simple questions like “What do people do when they read?” and answered this by suggesting that what we do is very different to what designers of information might think we do… for example how do people read a magazine… very rarely do they read it in any kind of sequence… and even when we do read in a sequence where are all our daydreams taking us… shades of Virginia Woolf… so how does all this relate to information architecture? What he was tring to do was to stir up thinking about all kinds of assumptions we make about people’s thinking patterns and about what people actually know… especially as educators we need to let go of our paradigms that assume that our students might not know very much… there IS a heap of stuff they do know and that I don’t ….. in fact in the last 3 days I have been reading LiveJournal almost non-stop and it is amazing how my experience has expanded through listening in to the lives and thoughts of all the students I am teaching: all those song-writers, parties, way out artists, inner-city back streets, video clips, and feisty concerns over what content should and should not be allowed on the internet…. fabulous discussions to be having….
Now for those of you who are interested Mark Bernstein is giving another lecture at Sydney University next Tuesday evening from 6-7 (one hour) at the Wooley Building A20 Room N497. His topic: “Some Thoughts on Hypertext and Historical Narrative”. Here is part of the blurb for this free lecture: At times, hypertext has seemed incompatible with historical narrative, either because non-sequential writing is at odds with understanding cause and effect, or because hypertext caters to short attention spans and immersive, unreflective visual appeal. Since the future of serious writing so clearly lies in electronic writing spaces, this incompatibility has inspired alarm, and the most commonly-cited advantages of new media for the historian – cheap publication and economical illustration – are not powerful allies in this contest. Fortunately, the literary qualities of hypertext turn out to be well adapted to the needs of historical discussion.” Mark Bernstein is chief scientist at Eastgate Systems and desinger of Tinderbox… he is a graduate of Harvard University. Here is Mark lecturing at today’s talk:

But I didn’t spend all my day indoors… I had a look around at the steam train on which I am going to take my 2 year old grandson Alexander next week (besotted as he is with Thomas the Tank Engine)

And when I got home I went into the Bush before sun-down and caught a glimpse of the new crop of native spring flowers: Boronias

And my favourites: the Isopogons:

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