Interstory – I Make Up Words for Research Sake

One thing I’ve always loved about the English language is how relatively easy it is to make neologisms. I love to make up words and Spanish is, it’s always seemed to me, a slow developing language, at least at the institutional level. For as wonderful as the Royal Academy of Spanish (Real Academia Española in the original) is, it is usually very slow to welcome neologisms into its dictionary. The Academy itself has made efforts to address this, and in partnership with EFE (a Spanish language press agency) and BBVA (a global bank) came up with an “Urgent Spanish Foundation” to help tackle the need for the myriad of new words coming out of mostly new media. The result is, in my opinion, a rather conservative lexical corpus that still tries to normalize the use of the Spanish language in new media.

Having said that, in this post I will be proposing an English neologism myself: interstory.

In previous posts I have discussed the term intermedial text. After a couple of months of further research and intense writing, I have come to the conclusion that the phenomenon I’m trying to describe is much more specific than I anticipated. Thus, I’d like to propose interstory – and, I have to admit, abuse the prefix inter a bit – to comprise a set of qualities:

1) Intermediality and Convergence. I take intermediality as used by Marie-Laure Ryan, “the medial equivalent of intertextuality [covering] any kind of relation between different media” [2010, 3]. I have chosen the term intermediality over transmediality for two reasons that will become clear below: first because of its resonance to intertextuality and interactivity; and secondly because it has been used to refer to the proliferation of semiotic medium: image, text, etc.

Henry Jenkins’ notion of convergence goes alongside with this as: “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want” (2006, 2). For Jenkins’ convergence is also about a “cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content” (2006, 3).

From here, interstories are stories published in several media, in more than one platform, and likely involving various devices. These might come as text, pictures, videos, audio and in digital form: blogs, apps, social media, websites, or print materials. Interstories require involved readers that will bring all of the media content parts together into the one story.

2) Intertextuality and self-referentiality. For interstories to make sense and form a coherent (sort of) whole, a self-referential apparatus is necessary. Interstories link their non-sequential development referring to parts of themselves on different media, platforms or devices. Reference to other texts, in literary theory, is commonly termed intertextuality. Nevertheless, in the case of interstories, the textual reference is to the same story, the difference is in media, platform or device. Intertextuality is, in these stories, self-referential.

3) Interactivity and forward looking narration. Developing in several media, interstories have at least one interactive component. Through commenting tools and other forms of feedback to the author such as social media, readers get a saying, or at least the illusion of a saying, in how the story is to continue. The implication of this is that interstories are not finished, but as Tom Abba would have it “forward-looking” (2009, 65). This newly-gained power for readers is cause of further involvement and participation. There is a strong social component to the putting together of interstories.

I argue that these threads characterizing interstories lead up to metafictionality. The intricate play of inter-referential cues, by highlighting the presence of the story in any given media, the story’s artifactual nature comes to the fore. The constant involvement of the reader in bringing together the different contents manifests their role in the building of the story. Furthermore, this process becomes physical as readers move from one platform or device to the next, and navigate the story literally in different spaces. Likewise, the participatory environment and forward-looking progression of interstories showcase their story in the making. Although it’s not an exact match, the idea of metafictionality is something that Bryan Alexander hints at as well in The New Digital Storytelling, as “a nascent metafiction subgenre, a body of stories about new digital stories.”

The result, I suggest, is an organic story emerging from a social process that is only possible in our current media ecology facilitating the engagement of readers. So there, I made up a word, added some research based meaning to it and I present it to you.

The only cure for writing is more writing

The only cure for writing is more writing. A different kind of writing. About an hour ago I finished my Ch1 first draft and already feel the urge to write something else. It’s been a month since I wrote here. I had promised to post something everyday during my December writing marathon, which you’d be able to tell, didn’t happen. Part of the problem was the marathon didn’t start until the 20th. Things never go as planned, and this was no exception. I was going to write three chapters these days and I didn’t. I might still get to 1.5 chapters but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Ironically, or tragically or happily – I can’t really tell at this point – the major interference with my dissertation writing, as it would probably be expected, is neither social media, nor “life”. Although they have their part, the big interference comes from more writing and other creative stuff. In the past eleven days, “devoted” to my dissertation writing, I’ve been cooking a lot, taken close to 200 pictures (the snowy landscape and furry pals are to blame there too), and written over a dozen pages of half-baked story beginnings. Suddenly as I dive into academic writing, objects come alive and begin telling me their stories – those frozen thorns are having a hard time, the train tracks are tired of their never-ending journeys; or their plans – my new antique type writer and the Italian fountain pen are getting ready to write many old-fashion letters next year.

The same. In a few images.

Told by books, pictures, meals and socks, without noticing I start listening to my own story too: how I became thirty and only took time off as a byproduct of going to conferences, how this year I’ve learnt to work more than I had ever had, how that made my green tea addiction come back, how I cut my hair, got new clothes and shoes, poured some glasses of wine and became myself, how I became jealous of my alone time while I also cling to my friends here and others, every time further scattered around the world, how I just read and wrote and thought about writing and reading, and how it all became Ch1, how I loved all that and how it all together becomes a story.

That’s the story of 2012.

Day 0

It turns out I did get a bit lucky and one day before the start of my official writing month, I managed to start writing this morning. I must have been really inspired because I woke up before 5 am and all I could think about was getting to write some words. I’m not going to lie, I was still pretty much asleep and in that state, the first words of Chapter 3 came to my head. Before I new it I had a bit over eight hundred words, it was time to take the dog for a walk and run to campus.

I feel like I cheated and now I have the advantage of it.

Still a grad student…

…not for long, hopefully.

As of December 1st I have six months to finish writing my dissertation. It really feels like a meaningful landmark, some sort of point of no return. I really want to embrace that feeling as motivational instead of freaking out about it. Now six months seems a lot of time from here, but I already know that as soon as the Winter term starts all my TAing, RAing, and managing responsibilities will take up a large amount of my time, so I’ve made the kind of panicky pre-new year’s resolution of writing everything (everything I can, that is) before the end of the year.

I made a plan, because that’s the kind of thing I know I’m good at, and because I really want to enjoy my writing time, have fun while doing it and record it in another format that’s not *just* the dissertation itself.

The Plan (or a personal dissertation writing manifesto):

Officially starting on December 1st, but might start before that with a little bit of luck, I will:

1. Finally split that monster 80+ page chapter I wrote in the Spring into two different chapters. One will be devoted to the cognitive, bio-cultural aspects of my argument: how all the wonderful things we keep seeing in every new literary rendering point to the human need for storytelling; and how the hyper sociality of new media is fertile ground for this on account of fulfilling an ancestral tendency to share storytelling. The other chapter will start with the way in which new/old media interactions (intermediality) favors the sociality of storytelling, that’s the easy part. The harder part is the way in which intermediality is a world-creation machine in which readers not only become participants, but part of the story itself. In its own making, a story’s live and unstable development through different media, in my characterization of intermedial text is the basis for its auto/meta-fictional status.

This part is a bit scary because of my well known over-editing condition.

2. Write a third chapter (of which I have many scattered fragments) dealing with my case study Orsai. I’m specially excited about arguing how simultaneously Orsai (the ‘real’ project) became its own story as it slowly wove its text intermedially.

3. Since I’m writing so much on self-referentiality and self-consciousness it would only be silly not to exploit it. And so, the third step will be to write a lot about my writing. What this means for you dear readers is, for the month of December, I will post on a daily basis something related to my own live writing with the hope of getting whatever feedback, words of wisdom and encouragement, and, why not, some virtual pats on the back.

4. I’m going to leave only chapter four for the Winter term.

*****

It’s going to be dark and cold.

I won’t be going home for the holidays.

I’m going to have a blast!  …And at the end there’s going to be a scrapbook of all that.

Where is the story?

A lot of research has gone in the past few weeks into the blog aspect of Orsai. Although part of my argument consists of characterizing the project as an intermedial text, it is important to remember that it started off as a blog, a personal blog actually, and the blog aspects of it continue to be fundamental to the whole. The questions I’ve been asking myself then are what makes a blog different from an intermedial text? Is it really different? In what way? The usual. In order to answer that, I have to go back in Orsai’s history.

Orsai’s birth as a blog has a long and interesting story. In the early to mid 2000’s, Hernán Casciari produced a series of blog fictions such as Weblog de una mujer gorda, El diario de Letizia Ortiz, among others. The success of these varied, being Weblog the una mujer gorda the one who enjoyed a bigger readership because of its interactive live textuality and development. For about two years, Casciari wrote Mirta Bertotti’s diary where the story of her family interwove with the arrival of new technologies to their household and the recent history of Argentina. Fittingly, Weblog de una mujer gorda can be seen as Orsai’s “mother”. For about half a decade and while involved in his other blog narrative projects, Casciari kept Orsai a personal blog, one in which everything went: short stories, rants, personal happenings, and whatnot. Then came 2010 when the larger Orsai project started gestating first, “just” as a print magazine, then a publishing house, then a bar, now the publishing house is becoming interactive. Less than a year ago, the blog migrated from bitacoras.com into a new “pan-Orsai site and became many blogs to separate the focus of the content into a blog (as Casciari’s personal diary-bucket), redacción (where the magazine dealings are discussed) and bar (where the bar chronicles go). Increasingly, the narrative of the project has become more and more atomized.

Now, the texture of blogging and its uses might be seen already as a convergent one. The amount and variety of contents and media blogs are known to include — text, video, pictures, audio — is something we’ve come to take for granted. No question there. Also, we’ve assumed that there is a lot of leaking from blogs into other digital spheres such as social media, email, and analogue such as print publishing and live meetings. No question there either. But these two things are actually pretty different, almost contrary to each other. On the one hand is the flexibility of blogs to encase other types of content/media, the other is its susceptibility to spread outside of its digital covers. These are two very different movements. I believe, they are the key to my questions. In Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins argues that convergence is not the “process of bringing together multiple media functions within the same devices”, the way it happens in blogs if we characterize them as devices. For example, whereas Casciari’s other blog narratives where contained in the blog and there might have been some “spilling” off the screen (Weblog de una mujer gorda was later published in print and adapted to theatre) all of it pointed in the direction of the blog as both its source and target.

In Orsai, the story is quite different and more in tune with what Jenkins proposes as convergence —“the flow of content across multiple media platforms”. In many ways, through these two years, the blog has remained the headquarters of the project, where only a portion of the stories are told, while the rest is narrated in other media or “simply” takes place at the bar. The constant narrative of the project makes all of the different media platforms (blogs, blog commentsmagazinebar) stay cohesive. Although in a historical way, the narrative of Orsai can be traced back to the original blog, ever since the inclusion of the print and location platforms, the story not only happens elsewhere, it also gets told elsewhere. The idea of following a story in Orsai becomes literal and to a large extent actual. The narrative is the thread uniting the diverse media components along which readers collect the story.

As opposed to a blog narrative in which the story is made up, by means of different media, within the blog; an intermedial text can be characterized as both the sum and the parts of the story made up also of different media but spread out in various platforms. The role of the reader is key to my characterization of intermedial text. In a blog narrative, the organization of the content is largely put together by an author, it might later on be complemented by the social interactions common in blogs, but readers need not go anywhere else to get the story. On the other hand, in an intermedial text, such as Orsai, the blog might be a meeting point, but the content is collected by readers there and anywhere they might find it. Then they make up the story from what they get.

DH is hard work. It’s insightful. That’s why we like it

On sunday night, after reading multiple reactions to Stephen Marche’s Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities I happened to be browsing my narratology basics and somewhere in Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan’s gloss over the concept of reader I found this: “At one extreme the concept is of a real reader, whether a specific individual or the collective readership of a period. At the other, it is a theoretical construct, implied or encoded in the text, representing the integration of data and the interpretative process ‘invited’ by the text” (my emphasis). I was immediately struck by the choice of words, I kept on reading and found numerous instances of this. Shlomith-Kenan’s Narrative Fiction was published in 1983, almost thirty years ago, and almost twenty years before Marche’s alleged kidnap of literature by – what he hurtfully implies are – data fascists. Regardless of time periods, since the origins of DH go farther back than the early 1980’s, it is very interesting to see that narratology, hauling its formalist, structuralist and phenomenological baggage, aimed at a systematization of literature that actually takes its components as data in which meaning is encoded – something that sounds quite familiar to many doing DH. The first question that popped into my mind was: in what way is narratological systematization different to the processes TEI, stylometrics or graph database creation require? If we look at the particulars, of course, everything will seem different: it’s not the same to talk about the heterodiegetic narrator, collocations, subaltern subject or directed edges. But the process of organizing (and by this I mean understanding) literary texts according to theoretical notions cannot be that different from one methodology to another. In principle, I don’t think it is at all different.

Before I continue I will allow myself a couple generalizations. Many of us trained in literary studies with a strong close-reading base assume the possibility of multiple readings of any given text under the condition that those readings be grounded on solidly built interpretive and contextual notions. Similarly, many of us were trained to assume the fact that nobody doing any kind of study could possibly explore and account for every minute aspect of a literary text. As complex as it might be, any study is, at least to a certain extent, an organization – a trimming – of, what Marche would term, the messiness and incompleteness, but really any topic/formal aspect of literature. When I started gearing towards digital humanities, a few years ago, it dawned on my rather quickly that the change in methodologies and research tools could not do without those same solidly built interpretive and contextual notions if I meant to say something insightful. If I meant to say something I would like to say about literature. It was also pretty clear that the issue of large scale could not be equated with an exhausting of texts, literary traditions, etc. As many different emergent practices, it seems to me that DHers have been wise to carry along at least those two fundamental assumptions.

This is where Marche’s article could use some documenting. To start, there is a deep contradiction at the bottom of his argument. The idea that mushiness and incompleteness is a quality of literature, even part of its ‘sacred essence’ it would seem – and I’m assuming also of non DH literary studies – runs throughout the article. DH, however is not only unable to account for that incompleteness but also cannot afford to be mushy “beneath the hard equations”. Marche’s view is, to say the least, uninformed and over generalizing. UPDATE: Ernesto Priego points out, Marche is not an academic and this is certainly (un)informing his approach not just to DH, but to literary studies in general, it seems to me.  As Priego himself has pointed out this morning. It turns out Marche does have a PhD in early modern drama from UofT. This makes it all the more unexplainable why he seems to have such a partial idea of the ways in which literary studies are carried out.

Marche’s assumption that “literature cannot meaningfully be treated as data” rests on a sacralization of literature that seems to ask scholars to be guards and prophets of it, not researchers. Marche’s sentence can usefully be restructured as “data in literature is treated meaningfully”. This is what we do when we read: make sense of codified signs on a page/screen. This does not just underly DH projects, but literary studies in general. Even going way back to Wolfgang Iser, this is the principle of every single act of reading as well.

Coming back to the (re)discovery that led to this, Rimmon-Kennan, in her 2002 afterword to Narrative Fiction recounts how over the two decades since her book was first published, even the strictest narratological assumptions became a means to further interpret the semantics of literary works. What I see in this analogous situation between narratology (which was also subject to wide criticism because of its systematic notions) and DH is precisely the idea that literature is data subject to/inviting interpretation being repeated. The process underlying new ways of organizing literary texts and describing them in terms of “data” in DH – or any other for that matter – is not really different to the ones happening underneath other critical schools. What Marche criticizes as “the mushiness of the words beneath the hard equations” is, in fact, the same mushiness of literary meaning being accounted for especially if discussing terms such as influence. DH needs and wants that from ‘traditional’ literary studies, and hasn’t shied away from it. That’s why it’s hard work. That’s why it’s insightful. That’s why we like it.

Case Study – a short story about online print nostalgia in the digital age

A little over two years ago, I got an email inviting me to take part in a new editorial project based on an almost extinct animal: a print literary magazine. I had no idea who was leading it, who would be writing in it or what it was about.

Intermedial narrative text: smaller parts building up a larger story rendered in many different media.

The invitation was appealing because it was communal: at least ten people had to sign up to buy the magazine, since due to costs it would only be shipped in packages of ten. The price of the magazine was 15PD$ – currency that stands for local Saturday Newspaper Price and was minted with the objective that the publication would not have one price in Spain, for example, and then twice as much in Guatemala, but an analogue amount in each place (which by the way didn’t turned out to be as accurate). Only prepaid copies would be printed, so as to save paper I’m assuming, and most crucial in these days, to prevent bankruptcy after only one issue if it didn’t go well.

 

 

 

The big bubble medial ecology of Orsai out of which readers have to take part in order to attempt to capture a hypothetical total text.

There was a sceptical enthusiasm about it so I signed up, and only later I went and found out what Orsai was. Back then it was a blog, and there would be a magazine, they said. Pioneers followed the developments of the magazine, the leaks on who was going to get published there, what it was going to look like, feel like and smell like. We were a bunch of bookworms, and we thought we were nostalgic about print and that was the reason we were supporting the project. What we didn’t realize – at least, back then I didn’t – was that we were being nostalgic about print all over the Internet: sending emails, commenting on blogs, opening new blogs, buying online, using social media to talk about this, etc. Very, very rapidly a huge community formed around Orsai. There were conversations about the project on social media and right in the Orsai blog between complete Spanish-speaking strangers on opposite sides of the world. By the time Orsai N1 came out in early 2011 and the copies reached eveybody’s home a community of thousands was built. Two years later, Orsai has become an editorial project including not only the blog and the print magazine with a few electronic versions (issuu, pdf, kindle, ipad, web), but also a bar – also funded with reader’s money – and finally a small publishing company with about a dozen books under its brand. Orsai is no longer a grassroots nostalgic-for-print project, but the story of a pretty successful company as well. To give you an idea, the print version of issue N1 sold close to 11 thousand copies, issues 2-4 an average of 7 thousand, and issues 5-10 over 5 thousand. Not only that, the total downloads of pdf and other digital versions should by now be close to a million – which really signals its digital “side” is more powerful than the print one.

Immersive intermedial narrative. Readers, surrounded by the changing and serial texts both in digital, print, and actual media which in our age and time have become part of everyday life experience.

I have been intrigued by how Casciari and Basilis have managed to convince people their project is a good idea (and worth spending money on) and the one answer I can offer is by making them feel part of the whole enterprise. This is easily said, but as I’m exploring, it implies on the one hand a wide-scoped distribution and publication system, and a complex medial and textual apparatus. Please take a look at the images which hopefully will illustrate some of the concepts I have only mentioned so far and am currently exploring for my dissertation.

….to be continued.

Language, Questions & Formulas

Language

Today is a day of transition for this blog. It will from now on be written in English. For about two years I have used this place to develop inch by inch my PhD dissertation project. There have been many stages when things seem to point in one direction, and then onto another, and another and so on. Typical dissertation stuff. The problem is, unless you read Spanish all of that will be… well, in Spanish.

So I thought a good way to relaunch this blog (and on the first of the month!) would be to survey it for all the newcomers the turn to this digital lingua franca will, hopefully, bring.

Questions

My dissertation project was born out of my obsession with reading, readers and narrative, and a handful of questions regarding that as they’re relevant in our time: What human needs and skills have made storytelling so crucial throughout history, so much so that storytelling is itself the subject of much storytelling? What makes storytelling so adaptable to whatever media or technological development is current at a given time? Why/how do we get so involved with stories even in — or because of — the supposedly alienating digital media? From there, the project has grown considerably, so in order not to write a very long post I will try to be mathematically abstract and concise — you can blame my recent rediscovery of math through a python course. The idea is to use it as an index to trace back my steps and, in the next few weeks, post again about previously explored topics. Hopefully some ideas will have changed and developed. while others might have been discarded for good.

Formulas

Very succinctly these are the problems I have encountered along the way and some of the places where I’ve looked for answers:

Problem 1. What happens when we read on a neuronal level, what implications for our life that has.

— reading + mind = (theory of mind + neuron recycling) + (social simulation + empathy)

Problem 2. Why read fiction? what we get out of fiction, and how that has been fictionalized too

— reading + fiction = (Don Quixote + Unamuno + et al) + metafiction +- postmodernism

Problem 3. The way ideas such as “book”, “story”, “social”, have changed through time and most relevantly how that seems to end up as new forms of narrative, and new stories

— history of reading = (book history + [the origin of storytelling + sociality]) ** new ways of telling stories

Problem 4. New ways of telling stories are currently being shaped by the new media through which we access/experience said stories

— reading + digital media = (convergence + intermediality) / (immersive fiction + metafiction)

That’s just the theory. After all, it’s been two years. More details on each of the problems will come soon, as well as the case study and the big methodology of analysis.

Temas vs etiquetas

Finalmente, después de semanas de posponerlo me decidí a comenzar con el análisis temático de las piezas de Orsai. Esto implica dos cosas: releer los primeros 6 números y finalmente darme el tiempo de leer 7 y 8. La meta es leer y categorizar los 8 en dos semanas,  es decir, intentaré que no pase de tres; y desarrollar la lista de temas, categorías o como finalmente, me he decido a llamarlos, etiquetas. Más adelante lidiaré con los blogs… ¿Por qué el cambio? Primero, porque “tema” – como ya me lo había estado temiendo desde hace un par de entradas – es un término conflictivo que parece algo inflexible y determinante, incluso poco multiplicable. El riesgo era terminar con un tema por pieza. Por eso he optado por buscar menciones, motivos, ideas que más fácilmente recurran a lo largo de las ya casi 500 piezas que tengo en la base de datos. La idea de etiquetas, por otra parte, parece algo más provisional y manejable; no obstante, el punto sigue siendo ver la variabilidad/recurrencia temática expresada en términos menos monolíticos. Las piezas son muy diversas y, por ello, que intriga ver en qué momentos se tocan – tengo mis hipótesis, claro.

Los primeros experimentos con esto funcionaron a medias y me veo ya haciendo cambios a diario. Tengo, por ejemplo tres etiquetas llamadas “Orsai algo”. Por ahora queda muy claro cuál es cuál, pero cuando haya hecho más, lo sé, terminarán sobreponiéndose. Y la de “relación distribuidor-lector lector-lector” lo sé ya, es muy amplia y necesita partirse en dos.

Una sorpresa fue que en las primeras 3-4 piezas surgieron 8-9 de las etiquetas de la lista y, más sorpresa aún, que fueron aplicables para las primeras 15 (hasta ahí voy). Así que, ¿qué es lo que voy viendo, poco a poco? 1) El aparato “meta” está más presente en las piezas de autor (es decir, no la parte editorial: las entradas y las sobremesas) de lo que pensaba. 2) El resultado de esto, es que la separación drástica entre “aparato editorial” y “aparato autorial”, que era muy clara en la medusa, podría desaparecer o, al menos, desvanecerse considerablemente. 3)Es posible que surjan patrones temáticos en cada número, lo cual no es una estrategia abierta de la publicación (no hay issues especiales de nada, supuestamente) y será interesante teorizar las razones de esto si es que es el caso.

En otros temas: Hernán Casciari acaba de anunciar que en el último número de este año, el número 10, incluirá un número de páginas con las fotografías de todos y cada uno de los 5000 suscriptores del 2012. A diferencia del año pasado, durante este 2012, la presencia de los lectores en la publicación impresa había estado manifestada en las “Cartas al director”, pero no en imagen. Me parece un regreso muy acertado a una de las licencias editoriales que, en mi opinión, ayudaron a tejer tan estrechamente la comunidad de lectores que sigue manteniendo el proyecto a movimiento. Ya me las arreglaré para etiquetar esa sección.

Primeros avances conceptuales

Con varios días con la cabeza metida en el manual de NLTK y haciendo los ejercicios del libro de texto sigo siendo una neófita total de python y (al final de cualquier cosa de programación). No obstante, los límites y los alcances del NLP (procesamiento de lenguaje natural) hacen que pueda intuir algunas de las cosas que podría analizar en los miles de comentarios de los lectores. Al terminar apenas el primer capítulo de NLTK exploré qué tipo de patrones me puedo encontrar en los comentarios a “ojo pelón” y comencé a idear [idear – una de mis palabras favoritas] formas en las que puedo analizarlos sistemáticamente. Aquí algunos ejemplos (y como siempre quien tenga sugerencias será amplia y públicamente agradecida(o)).

– El número total de lectores de cada pieza y de todas la piezas. Aunque muchos lectores intervienen más de una, dos, tres veces será posible colapsar los duplicados y a la vez contar cuántos comentarios deje cada uno. Esto va a dar una buena idea del tamaño de la comunidad de lectores vs el número de suscriptores a la revista impresa y al número de descargas de las distintas versiones digitales. La organización de comentarios anidados también debe dejar ver cuánto hablan entre sí los lectores. Observar la distribución de la frecuencia de sus intervenciones, también debería permitir ver qué tan constante ha sido la comunidad de lectores, cómo, cuándo y porqué han desaparecido o aparecido algunos si lo empalmamos con momentos álgidos en la trama (sí, uso este término con toda la intención) de Orsai como el cambio de sistema de distribución, la apertura del bar, etc.

– Algo que me ha obsesionado desde que comencé a estudiar Orsai, qué temas despiertan mayor interés en los lectores y en qué medios. Solamente ver que hay piezas con 100 comentarios y otras con 800 o 900 es evidencia suficiente de que hay temáticas poderosas. Una de las entradas de blog que más comentarios ha recibido fue el anuncio de la apertura del bar. Sin duda este momento es un turning point en la trama. Mientras que, como elemento narrativo, es un hito de la historia, no me parece que el asunto sea tan “simple” y ahí entran las preocupaciones metaficcionales. La apertura de un espacio que no sólo permita – sino invite – a la participación en el proyecto, opino, ha despertado algo muy fuerte en los lectores.

– La autoconciencia del proyecto. Qué tan común es que la gente hable tal cual de “la revista”, “el pdf”, “el blog”, “la redacción”, “el comentario #”, y mi favorita “el proyecto”. “Proyecto”, me parece, se ha vuelto el término comodín de Orsai, la huella de su intermedialidad imposible de identificar con uno sólo de sus medios.

– Análisis un poquito más finos sobre por ejemplo: a) el papel de correctores de estilo que asumen los lectores. Su huella identificable: Casciari siempre responde “¡Corregido! b) la longitud de las entradas que a ojo de buen cubero parecen alargarse mientras más se alejan del momento de publicación.