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Scott Rettberg
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"Signal to Noise" is a web-native hypertext designed for concurrent navigations by multiple readers, whose interactions with the text subtly influence one another's parallel readings in realtime. Artist Statement:"Signal to Noise" is a web-native hypertext designed to be read by multiple people simultaneously. The interface is linked to a database via Ajax. A PHP engine tracks the parallel navigations and behavior of active users and responds by broadcasting relevant fragments, subtext, and other ephemera to all readers in realtime. Readers' concurrent movements through the narrative have subtle effects on one another's experiences. While readers are unable to directly communicate among themselves or evoke representative avatars in the virtual environment (with one clear exception), echoes and ripples are unavoidably left on the surface of the global text with every followed link. In time, these ripples subside and disappear. One cannot read "Signal to Noise" without leaving traces in its text: passive viewing is impossible. Additionally, certain crucial parts of the narrative are only displayed when someone else is virtually present to trigger them. Readers who suspect they may be alone in the work are encouraged to return later or perhaps arrange a simultaneous reading with others. Note: the story has an ending. Consider the logic of the narrative to locate it.(Source: 2008 ELO Media Arts show)