David Núñez Ruiz
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Throughout history, technological implementations have generated new approaches to culture. Currently, digital support allows us to create multiple paths of interpretation to link different formats and contents that generate a multiple work, in five levels according to the proposed proposal. Advances in support make the creative process, the reader-author relationship with the text. the work, the approach of the user and, above all, the work, without a final point that closes it.
Keywords: digital narrative, support ,, multilinear, interactive, immersive.
ABSRACT: Throughout history, technological implementations have generated new approaches to culture. Currently, digital support allows for multiple interpretation paths to link different formats and contents that generate a multiple work, in five levels, according to the proposed proposal. The advances in the support, transform the creative process, the relationship between the author and the work, the approach of the user and, above all, the work, without a final point that closes it. Keywords: digital narrative, multilinear, interactive, immersive
Digital tools are creating a paradigm shift that we did not experience five hundred years ago. In the communicative sense, beyond the vital, ontological and social transformations that are being generated, what implications-and of what kind-does this mutation entail? If cultural and social development continues along the current path, the digital platform will transform two twin narrative elements: new reading schemes will be created and there will be fundamental changes in the creative path. The consequences will be multiple and the modes of affectation will be diverse.
Neither the narrative of linear reading will disappear nor its devices, such as the book, are in the process of extinction, but the digital support, and the sociocultural changes that this entails, may lead to the formation of new narrative genres and new creative processes and lectivos, as happened with the printing press.
Just as the printing press gave rise to the novel - the extension and the relationship with the reader can only be given with printed reading, not with orality, as well as the approach to a larger public, in this case the bourgeoisie - the digital media allow to create a new multidisciplinary genre.
With the technological implementations new aesthetic matters are generated. Currently, hypertext support allows us to create a new artistic discipline that unites various branches of art and multimedia elements -videos, audio, literary and informational texts, images and hyperlinks to other platforms such as videogames, chats, social networks, use of a microphone, camera, gyroscope, GPS, elements that interact with the touch screen and metatextual links, among others - around a narration. In addition, being nonlinear but multitextual (in the sense used by Roland Barthes that a text is any code to be deciphered), the discourse is divided into the microstructure (what is found in the diegesis, with all its possible variations), the macrostructure (the elements that are outside the narrative, either with other means or tools that nourish the architecture of the work) and the narrative levels (multimedia elements that adapt according to the needs of the text). With this, each change alters the work in different circumstances, confirming what Iuri Lotman determines: "the essence of the generation process is not only in the deployment of the structures, but also, to a considerable extent, in their interaction." (Lotman , 1990: 56). Therefore, digital is achieved the principle that Borges longed for, reading as a labyrinth, with innumerable paths laden with symbols that materialize in an endless moment.
When talking about digital textuality, people think of two paths, the spatiality of the support and the multimediality that the medium promotes. This transforms the narrative itself.
Andrés Bello, the South American linguist and liberator, says in El repertorio Americano "The foundations on which rests the whole building of literature and science: reading and writing" (Bello,:). Reading and writing are complex processes, so much so that converting sounds into symbols and arranging them so that they form ideas and daydreams took a long time, from the 132 thousand years of homo sapiens sapiens, only 5,400 years ago the writing was conformed in Babylon and 3,800 that the first alphabet appeared, but its evolution has been dizzying. Although the French scientist Stanilás Dehaene determines that the different spellings have identical neuronal functions, which means that the reader is the same as the scribe of the Hammurabi Code, throughout history, technological implementations have generated new approaches to culture. Nowadays, digital support allows us to create multiple interpretation paths to link different formats and contents that generate a mutilineal work and, in the end, transform the reader's relationship with the text.
Reading is dispossessing space, leaving the place we inhabit to populate the page full of signs. As Maurice Blanchot explains in The Space of literature, when reading "someone is fascinated, it can be said that he does not perceive any real object, no real figure, because what he sees does not belong to the world of reality but to the indeterminate medium of fascination." ( Blanchot, 1992: 26). When reading we transform our space, or rather reading is a space with its internal characteristics: from the spatiality that is narrated in the text to the arrangement of the text that in itself is a space that is inhabited. The page, for all those that we offer ourselves to the books, is the conformation of a sacred space, where the rite of reading is concreted, and a Center is created where the communication can be direct with the other, the one who writes and with me same (Eliade, 1967)
Like any space, sacred in its amplitude and profane in the object sense, with the passage of time it has evolved. At the beginning, the texts were inscribed in a limited and chaotic space, where each centimeter had to be used because the materials were scarce and precious, accessible to only a few. Afterwards, in order to facilitate reading, not only the use of the imperishable support, the page was decorated with beautiful visual games, capital letters and illustrations that turned the reading route into a semiotic and artistic transit, beyond the words contained. With the arrival of the printing press, the symbolic acts of the page were linked to writing and created typographic families and editorial rules that favor reading. Determining that if typography is metaphorized speech, the blank spaces surrounding the text and the printed order serve as rest, as a silence between the noise of words, as in music.
The silence of the page, that rest, conditioned reading, as a delicate passage through a labyrinth of words and blank spaces that harmonize the visual journey. As Clarice Lispector narrates in her short story "Silencio": "silence has been the source of my words. And silence comes from the most valuable of all: silence itself "(Lispector, 1995: 188). Thus, thanks to the blank spaces, the game of typography and the arrangement of visual signs, the reader walks through the book as if through a labyrinth, marveling at the construction and turning in each aisle, discovering the path that leads to it the center of the narrative.
When you think about the support of reading, you talk about the space of reading and writing. As a fixed place that is inhabited. But with digital support and content are concatenated. Understanding the transformation of the support and, therefore, the reader, allows us to create teaching platforms different from those that preceded it, due to its multilineality. If reading is a mythifying act, the space that the digital reader goes through mutates from the page to a labyrinth, a double game is articulated where the aim is to construct a space that would be sacred to make it the property of the transgressor. Therefore, as Levi Strauss articulates, a labyrinth is a mitema, where the mythical perspective is altered in the opposite sense to the myth. In the same way, the transition of reading is dispossessing space, uninhabiting it, to inhabit the space that the digital architect built.
The writer is an architect, a planner of worlds and spaces that seeks to introduce his reader into a world of written walls and new paths to discover when walking through the pages. He is a creator of labyrinths, as Daedalus was in ancient Greece. Legend has it that the King of Minos, aware of his extraordinary invention, asked Daedalus to build a gigantic labyrinth where he could lock up his particular monster, not because of his monstrosity but because of his closeness, the minotaur. Daedalus created trails with countless corridors where anyone who entered would stray. This labyrinth was the basis of the lost structures that have populated the West, from the labyrinths that precede the European castles to the straight-angled strokes printed on a cereal box. In this same way the printed texts were built, as Umberto Eco says in The Open Work, the text is constructed as "... a work of art, complete and closed form in its perfection of perfectly calibrated organism, it is also open, possibility of to be interpreted in a thousand different ways without its irreproducible singularity being thereby altered. " (Eco, 1990: 11) The labyrinth can be traversed by different paths but only one path, because at one time or another it will reach an impasse but almost never without reaching the center, where the monster rests. For this reason, Dédalo is the architect of the printed page, with a closed labyrinth, with a single entrance and exit, with narrow walls and predetermined paths.
Once Daedalus restrained the minotaur, only one man ventured to its depths and emerged unharmed, Theseus, the warrior who traveled the fixed paths and was able to leave the labyrinth tied to the subtle thread that hung from the other architect, Ariadne who builds a labyrinth in mise en abyme since it is built as it progresses in it, like reading. In the same way that monsters mutated and became increasingly fearsome and powerful weapons, humans realized that square labyrinths could not contain their enemies, like books to their stories, so they built circular mazes, with multiple entrances and exits, that reaches the point that Borges longed for in The Garden of Forking Paths, "in what way a book can be infinite. I did not conjecture another procedure than that of a cyclic, circular volume. (Borges, 1993: 112). Linear labyrinths were fixed spaces, like painting and photography. The textual characteristics of photography-the spatiality it contains, the reflection of an instant dismembered in eternity, the recurrent staticity-allows the apprehension of objects and reality, in a static comparison to the illuminated cavern of Plato. If the hypertextual reality has encumbrado to the image to be more than a replica of the reality, to determine its borders, specifying the augury of Moholy-Nagy: "The illiterate of the future will not be the inexperienced in the writing but the unfamiliar of the photography "(Benjamin, 2008: 12). Point that nowadays we can see it in a maximum expression with the iconographic prostitution of the daily life in the digital age. And, in the same way, the labyrinths had to mutate. But the circular labyrinths were the first step. In the same way that books were, or are. Now, with the digital revolution, the topography of the page mutates. On the printed page, there was a determining accommodation that served as a rest and was composed of margins, spaces, silences. In digital, the fonts are adjusted to the browsers, not to the eye of the reader, and the page itself seeks to be expansive, driving the user between different paths, some contradictory, and preventing the break with hyperlinks. If there are no more silences, it is because the experiences are no longer contemplative but linked - with other information paths in a multitextual discourse - and without a design that sacralizes the space, or a visual game that catches us. This transformation of space is in turn a creative and reading reshaping not as an established path but a space in constant, infinite change. On this principle the digital labyrinths were created with which the conception of the book, of reading and of space itself, mutated. Not only because the new library of Babel allows you to erase, strike and replace words that you do not consider appropriate, that you rewrite the text that another stipulated, but because in digital the multiplicity of writing is given in the infinity of possible readings.
This is more than a product of many hands, but a labyrinth with thousands of paths where the reader defines the blocks to get their own maze, optimal. For the perfect labyrinth is the one that changes as the passer walks through its corridors. Like the path of Ariadna or the digital one that breaks with the static labyrinths, of stone and monsters, where the brave ones that penetrated it could cross it, know its paths and find an exit. In the labyrinths where everything changes, like a river or a desert, the paths are endless.
An example of this are the wikinovelas that are structured around a writer proposing an argument or a first chapter and thousands of hands develop the following. This mixture of novels with several hands and exquisite corpse, had a greater impact when the American novelist John Updike, at the request of Amazon, wrote on the network the beginning and end of Murder Makes the Magazine, readers co-wrote it for a month. Or the wikinovela Hundred Penguins, where the publishing house with the same name allowed thousands of readers to write -only 250 characters per person-, edit and make up a monumental novel; the idea was broken into more than 50 characters and several intertwined novels. Similar to what is created from the FanFiction, where readers take elements of pre-established stories to generate their own stories. Still, this was just the beginning. In recent years, the creative transformations from digital have had breakneck progress.
Borges tells in "The two kings and the two labyrinths" that the perfect labyrinths are like the desert, because the sand buildings mutate with the air, or the digital world where every day appear and disappear pages between an accelerated increase in the information that transforms the social map, the digital shelves and the way we approach the texts. What remains is the idea that the library, in this case the network, is a sacred space, as Borges called it, because it is an evocative space, like memory, a fundamental issue that I will analyze in later chapters. With this, if the spatiality of the page mutated, the temporality in turn was reconstructed with the digital world. Well, just as the linear labyrinths were too transient for monsters, the circular ones allowed in their multiple entrances and exits the symphonic path the multiplicity and the simultaneity.
If in the twentieth century, time underwent radical transformations. Before, only two temporalities were conceptualized: the sacred and the profane, human and historical, without rupture, monotonous, that "unfolds in the past, present and future, has a beginning and an end, is unique and irreversible." (Marcos, 1992 : 197). In the last century, this conception is fragmented, first with the relativistic theory of Albert Einstein and later with the idea that time is an internal conception -an idea that can be traced from San Agustín (Agustín, 1999: 202) - fragmentation mental in a distension of a simultaneous present that unites the present-past, the memory; the present-present, the vision; and the present-future, the wait; and arrives at a maximum point with Henri Bergson who starts from the fact that one has to experience the passage from a finite, transitory vision, which is conformed as soon as it is remembered, where the future and the past are in the being, and the world in the present ; that generates that the elapsed time can be represented, because in its way it invents and closes. "What is there, of the duration, outside of us? The present or, if preferred, simultaneity. Undoubtedly external things change, but their moments do not happen but for a consciousness that remembers them "(Bergson, 1963: 212).
People inhabited an interiorist relativization during a large part of the 20th century, until, with the digitalization of reality, they began to look for simultaneity. This symphonic notion of temporality is based on the fact that "a multitude of simultaneous ideas are presented to the spirit, in succession so rapid that they seem simultaneous, and make the spirit float in such an abundance of thoughts or spiritual images and sensations, that this is not able to cover each and every one fully, or do not have time to remain idle and deprived of sensations. "(Calvino, 1998: 55) The difference is that, contrary to what Calvino believed, with digital people are able to cover them all and each one fully.
In reading this transformation is substantial. In the digital or hypermodern generation, the reader does not have a passive role. Many levels of reading coexist, many stimuli. This idea may sound overwhelming and it is for the brain, as the neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin specifies in his book The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overlad, but this is the new reader and the new being that inhabits a reality different or rather, it navigated through the web in search of simultaneous stimulus, of inhabiting two temporal realities, in tune with José Gorostiza, who in Death Without End writes "There were two times in my time" (Gorostiza, 1996: 186). With this, spatiality and temporality unite in a complex labyrinth, a tesect.
By uniting these spatial transformations of support and temporal, digital support creates a tangential transformation by linking contexts and temporalities or, rather, the new temporality is a palimpsest, where the text is written and writes over an extensive string of authorship and of significance. In digital, the scriptures are multiple, contain multimedia variations and contain reading paths that affect the interpretation of the text in each reader. As Borges dictates in "The Memory of Shakespeare," De Quincey asserts that the brain of man is a palimpsest. Each new writing covers the previous writing and is covered by the one that follows, but the almighty memory can exhume any impression, however momentary, if they give it enough stimulus. "(Borges, 1993: 304) And with that, the The narrative went from a transformation ontological lesson to a creative restructuring.
The second point that is transformed with digital support is the interactive multimediality of the narrative.
Starting from the fact that digital narratives are texts shaped for "computer environments or products capable of integrating all morphologies of information, which also facilitate new forms of access to data and that offer the possibility of an interaction requiring, for its operation, the active participation of the user. "(Vouillamoz, 2000: 19), this allows the relationship with the work to be transformed, as it did not happen from orality.
In the linear narrative, the texts, printed or digitized, have a stable narrative and a closed, immovable discourse; if the work is closed (Eco, 1990); With the adaptive support that digital tools allow, the creator must stipulate variables for the user to establish their personal reading, aware that it is governed by their decisions. If in the paper support the stories divided into imbricated structures start from the explanatory function, in the sense used by Luz Aurora Pimentel (Pimentel, 1998: 46). In digital textuality, the multiplicity of possible variants, rather than deforming, increase the totalizing idea. With this, the link between the work and the receiver is transformed in a radical way because the reader becomes a co-creator and changes the essence, only now alterable, of the text.
It is important to note that the interaction of a computer to define the variables of a text is not unprecedented, in the 1967 essay, Cybernetics and Ghosts. The Usses of the Literature: Essays, Italo Calvino proposes that the literary author can be eliminated as a subject and reduced to a series of functions that a programmed machine would perform with a combinatory effect of language, an idea developed by Janet Murray on the "multiform argument" . Nor is the idea that readers form the narrative is recent.
Multitextuality, seen as the linking of texts (sense of Roland Barthes of code to be deciphered in a symphonic way) can be achieved because the machine allows, with combinatorial processes and specific narrative strategies, to create particular works for each user. This transformation entails an active process of reading and writing, as in the novel by Italo Calvino If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler ..., one passes from a reader to a reader as co-creator in a triad between primary creator, machine and receiver-user.
This transformation is anchored in strategies or characteristics of digital texts, which Branda Susja Pajares Tosca in his book Digital Literature: the hypertext paradigm, who by its creative possibilities and teaching characteristics, divided into: multilinear, multimedia, multiple, interactive , dynamic and connected. Each level has internal characteristics and reading dynamics that distinguish the approach to one text from the other and its ergodic distinctions1.
The first level, for a creator and a reader, consequently, digital is, as Pajares Tosca defines, multilinear, "the possibility of structuring information in different ways from the typical linear form of printed literature" (Pajares, 2004: 20 ). This property, which goes beyond links and hyperlinks for the possibility of generating unique texts, opens creative possibilities that do not exist in printed literature, where the author forms a design of possibilities based on the support of computer systems and obtains a work that allows to the receiver the wide possibility of readings that transform the linking process with the text itself. The mechanisms of appropriation by the reader-user are symphonic, or polivocal as Marie-Laure Ryan names them, non-linear.
Now, the fragmentation of the text so that the reader decides its reading is not a new mechanism in the literature. There are famous works, mainly in the last century, that seek to break with the inalterability of the work. Clara shows in French poetry with Cent mille milliards de poèmes by Raymond Quenau, member of the Oulipo, who composed ten sonnets of fourteen verses that can be accommodated according to the will of the reader. Recite all combinations would require about 200 years. In narrative, both Rayuela by Julio Cortázar and L'amour absolu by Alfred Jarry contain multiple paths that transform the story depending on its reading. The difference is that now, with the possibilities of digital media, a work can be read in "infinite" ways, which concretes the absolute novel that Novalis wanted.
1 The idea of transit and difficulty of digital literature where the reader performs various tasks to unravel the meaning of the text or simply to follow the thread of reading.
After the structural relationship of the hypertext, the second level that is delimited is the multimedia, where the literary text incorporates different languages that favor immersion. Although the use of multimedia elements in the digital literature is one of the most primary resources, since they allow the mixing of different discursive strategies in a single text, it is necessary to clarify that the use of these tools should not be decorative but rather the characteristics of each format to deepen the narrative search that the author wants to achieve.
Introducing another language entails taking advantage of and knowing the characteristics of art to maximize it. One of the reasons why I decided to do my master's thesis on Farabeuf is the way in which Elizondo channels the essence of cinema, of moving images, in a narrative sense and goes beyond the description of visual and sound references, achieve structural transposition between the arts in a process of metaphorization, establishing a structural analogy between the narrative and certain stylistic aspects of other arts that forces the multiplicity of readings and visual acts of the genre. Since its inception, almost all electronic literature uses multimedia elements in his work; however, few go beyond the resource and collect in the structure and its symbolic function as does the American hypernovelary Pry, finalist of the "Future of storytelling 2014" and the Independent Games Festival, which tells the story of a combatant of the Iraq war that returns home but the memories of the battle and its past dissociate it from reality. One of the qualities of Pry is that, although the word continues to be the core of the story, the use of images, videos and sounds emphasize the distinction of the protagonist's realities and reconfigure the meaning of the text from the use of a discursive plane or another. The third level is the multiplicity or transmedia narrative, where the content goes beyond the support what transforms the story according to the textual needs that the reader will decode and allows to link fiction with reality. The technological implementations allow to form a new aesthetic link of the reader with the elements of the text from tools that encourage greater immersion and interactivity on the part of the user.
Henry Jenkins determines that a transmedia narrative uses seven elements: expansion / depth, multiplicity, extraction, seriality, subjectivity, conformation of worlds and execution. Some works that seek to reconstruct the reader's relationship with the work in divergent narrations are the transmedia novel Endgame by James Frey, which uses various platforms, from participation in real spaces to the use of augmented reality, to nourish history, and Cosmonaut, a Spanish film that unites poetry and historical documents in an audiovisual work anchored to a supporting book.
A great transformation that involves the multiple or transmedial text is that the creator can no longer be unique or unidisciplinary, which involves collaborative art, a fundamental element of digital narratives, or the multidisciplinary nature of the creator, which brings it into line with the Renaissance idea of the artist-inventor. Before this, the multiple creator seeks to find the essence of other media, so that the impact is greater, and rethinks the use of technology to transform receptivity. Therefore, the reader must break with their previous horizon of connection with the text and achieve a symbolic appropriation of technology.
The next theoretical division is the interactive one that incorporates temporal and spatial dimensions that change according to the decision of the users. The interactivity promotes that the users transform not only the accommodation of the work but the meaning. This variation in reading also affects the writing.
The great distinction with linear narrative, as clarified by Alexander Galloway in Gamming: essays on algorithm culture, is that an interactive text needs the active and strategic participation of the reader, beyond the idea of Umberto Eco of the text as the lazy machine, and with it Galloway "make a distinction between those art forms that require the physical action of both the user and the work for the work to exist, and those that do not." (Galloway, 2006: 128)
The critical notions the ideas of interactivity (Ryan) and the gameplay or gaming (Galloway) allow us to understand the transformation, thanks to the support in the teaching process. This adaptation can be seen in video games and its relationship with a static book, as in the Polish videogame The Witcher (2011, 2015), a saga that adapts Andrzej Sapkowski novels and that transformed the notion of interactivity in videogames since each The decision that the user makes affects not only the character but also their future environment. In this way, if the protagonist decides to ignore a path or interaction with another character, the story changes in its entirety.
The adaptation of a linear novel in a responsive plot with the study of the narrative structure that revolves around a map of decisions that allow the user to create their unique paths of meaning can also be seen in the videogame The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor (2015) and the saga written by JRR Tolkien.
The importance of this notion of interactivity is to show that in making up the work all roads are possible in a simile to the theory used by Borges in "The Garden of Forking Paths": "In all fictions, every time a man is faced with different alternatives, opts for one and eliminates the others; in that of the almost inextricable Ts'ui Pên, he chooses - simultaneously - for all. It creates, in this way, various paths, different times, which also proliferate and diverge. Hence the contradictions of the novel. "(Borges, 1993: 112) In this case are not contradictions but in the design the creator must stipulate for the user to establish their personal reading, aware that it is governed by their decisions.
The last element to analyze is the symbiosis of the four elements described and the two elements that Pajares concludes (dynamic and connected) with the possibilities generated by the support, which go beyond the technological implications.
Digital support is creating a paradigm shift not only because content can be distributed in a fast way or because it allows us to communicate more effectively, beyond the ontological transformations that are being generated, but because people are striving, every day more, to link the digital reality with the real reality. Hence the true success of social networks. I think that the narrative, the immersive genre par excellence, is not far behind and a new current is brewing that seeks that the character live what the user is doing to create an equation of realities. Like J.G. Ballard stated, in the prologue to his novel Crash, "We live in a novel. It is less and less necessary for man to invent a fictitious content. The fiction is already there. The task of the writer is to invent reality. "(Ballard, 1996: 12).
The linear narrative arts have sought to replicate reality to create in the reader the essential idea that we stop living in tangible reality to belong to a dream. The issue is that when we read, although we immerse ourselves in an alternate world, we are aware that our reality is not transformed, not even affected to a lesser extent, because what changes is not reality but our perception of it. What in digital narratives has been sought is to create an alternate existence, with the same physical and sociocultural principles, where the duplication of readers, from the avatars, are related in a fictitious reality2.
2 To understand the reader's notion of the duplication of experiences between a textual world and a tangible one I follow the wake of Marie-Laure Ryan, particularly in the notion of psychological mental simulation (Ryan, 2004: 140)
That is why it is so interesting, in the study of narrative, the social and ontological transformations that are generating links through the Internet, because it allows a double game, by using the resignification of reality from technology and, on the other hand, , the metaphorical approach to reality through language, based on Paul Ricouer's idea that what is communicated projects and constitutes the reader's horizon and reality (Ricoeur, 2000: 148).
Now, as Marie-Laure Ryan clarifies, "What does it mean in logical and semantic terms to be transported to the virtual reality of a textual world? The answers to these questions are closely related to an ontological model that recognizes the plurality of possible worlds "(Ryan, 2004: 126). This is the basis of the fifth stage, of the simulation, the possibility of generating alternate realities from the linking of narratives and digital appropriation, but this entails another deeper analysis.
If digital technologies allow us to connect tangible and virtual reality, the immersive capacities of the narrative coupled with the desire for the user's experiential connection, can realize the old desire to simulate reality, to inhabit fiction. As Ivan Sutherland stated in The Ultimate Display: "A screen connected to a digital computer gives us the opportunity to become familiar with concepts not possible in the physical world. It is a viewer to look towards a world of mathematical wonders, "(Sutherland, 1962: 1) and narrative.
Although the use of multimedia elements in the digital narrative is one of the most primary resources, since they allow the mixing of different discursive strategies in a single text, it is necessary to clarify that the use of these tools should not be decorative but rather the characteristics of each format to deepen the search that the author wants to achieve.
If digital narratives allow, beyond immersion and interactivity as it has been historically postulated, the transformation of the fixed relation of the plot to be reconfigured in a specific way by means of the opening of the discourse between the user and the machine, breaking the interpretative postulate of the theory of the reception, the active reader could be given a personalized work, with it a new hypertextual genre would be devised that would imply profound changes in the way of narrating and reading the stories, as I analyze in my doctoral thesis, "The transformations in digital narratives: from the link of the user to artificial intelligence "
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