Scott Bukatman

  • Hypertext

    ALTHOUGH THE TERM “HYPERTEXT” has yet to acquire the mass-cultural (and instantly clichéd) cachet of “virtual reality,” a growing corps is treating it with a similar utopianism. Yet the two modes have interesting points of divergence: where VR eliminates language, hypertext is based entirely on the sign; where VR emphasizes a dizzying phenomenology of direct experience (or the elaborate illusion thereof), hypertext emphasizes symbolic representation; where VR is sexy and mainstream (Wild Palms, Lawnmower Man), hypertext remains the province of Brown University’s English department (just kidding).

  • Jurassic Park

    Data multiplies. More data is pouring out of more terminals all the time. Nobody can read it all—we need machines to sift through the data, to funnel it to us, to provide us with some kind of eye in the datastorm. We are data rich: we have 500 channels, news channels, CD-ROMs, camcorders, Court TV, the Internet, infotainment, E-mail, fax modems, MTV, the FOIA, and a Genome Project. Data proliferates; it replicates. The paper-less office generates more paper. My own data is on hard drives, hard copies, floppies, and Post-it Notes. I print rough drafts, first drafts, final drafts. We want all this

  • Ridley Scott's Blade Runner

    “YOU NEXUS, HAH?” asks the wizened Asian technician at Eyeworld. “I made your eyes.” Roy Batty, the android replicant, purses his lips in ironic amusement: “Well, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.”

    References to eyes abound throughout Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, not only at Eyeworld. The film’s second shot features a huge disembodied eye, staring unblinkingly at the infernal city spread before it (visible in the pupil as an impossibly clear reflection). Replicants’ eyes reflect with a glowing red when the light hits them right. The replicant-detecting apparatus of a blade