PRINT September 1998

Gregory L. Ulmer

WALTER BENJAMIN PREDICTED that in the age of mechanical reproduction scholars might abandon the book and just link directly to one another’s card files. If Benjamin was right, it should be possible to compose a netsay (essay) purely by creating a series of links to extant “pages,” applying to the Web the poetics of the found-footage film. I tested this method, in which the basic unit of meaning is the website, in an experiment conducted with the Florida Research Ensemble (a virtual consulting organization that applies Arts and Letters methods to public policy issues). The “problem” to be toured is: the Miami River.

Gregory L. Ulmer is professor of English at the University of Florida.