TOPOGRAPHY OF THE PAGE
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.
Reading is dispossessing space, leaving the place we inhabit to populate the page full of signs. When reading we transform our environment, or rather reading is a territory with its internal characteristics: from the spatiality that is narrated in the text to the arrangement of the text that in itself is a place that is inhabited.
The page, for all those that we offer 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 myself.
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 point, 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, determines reading, as a delicate passage through a maze of words and blank spaces that harmonize my visual journey. As Clarice Lispector narrates in her short story "Silence": "silence has been the source of my words. And from silence comes the most valuable of all: the silence itself. " 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.
If the reading is a mythifying act, the territory that the reader goes through, whether it is a page or a labyrinth, a double game is articulated where the aim is to build a place 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 to dispossess the space, to uninhabitate it, to inhabit the area that the architect built.
The writer is an architect, a planner of worlds and extensions 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 him to build a gigantic labyrinth where he could enclose 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. " The labyrinth can be crossed by different paths but only one path, because at one time or another you 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 inputs and outputs, which reaches the point that Borges missed, as recounted in The Garden of Forking Paths, "how a book can be infinite. I did not conjecture another procedure than that of a cyclic, circular volume. A volume whose last page was identical to the first, with the possibility of continuing indefinitely. "
Linear labyrinths were fixed spaces, such as painting and photography, as I clarify in my Master's thesis, the textual characteristics of photography-the spatiality it contains, the reflection of an instant dismembered in eternity, recurrent staticity-allows the apprehension of objects and reality, in a static analogy to the illuminated cavern of Plato, memorizing the details that vanish in everyday life until the totality is visualized, which consecrates the moment. This leads us to elucidate not an exegesis of the image but of reality.
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 " 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 infinite.
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. Remember, that comes from the Latin remember, means going through the heart again, also involves touring the cord again, transit through the points that our Ariadne left on the road and it is important to understand the topographic transformations of the text to understand how and why , the user, who carries the cord in his hand, makes his own way.
If the spatiality of the page mutated, temporality in turn was reconstructed with the digital world. Well, just as the linear labyrinths were too transitable for monsters, the circulars allowed in their multiple entrances and exits the symphonic path, the multiplicity and the simultaneity.