From Gutenberg to InteLnet

/, Literature, Blesok no. 24/From Gutenberg to InteLnet

From Gutenberg to InteLnet

Michael Epstein

Discontented with the traditional sintagmatic order of the text, this distinguished Russian literature semiotic and philosophy professor at the Emory University in United States decided, in the spring 1995, to violate the linear-time logic of writing. He allowed his hypertextual thoughts to liberate there selves from the bilateral logic of the paper and to sail along the three-dimensional everlasting electronic Net. Accordingly started the “weaving” of one powerful hypertextual concept.
Imagined as replica to the popular Internet, as a net of intellectual “isms” which does not represent a sum of beforehand written books, but everlasting leafing throughout the space, whereby different philosophical conceptions flow. The Epstein InteLnet arised into the manifesto of one new over-national and humanistic intelligence. His open life organism is page less: it is an interdisciplinary bank of ideas, containing not printed materials, but mediative systems (myslesv/zi/thinklinks) distinctive for one new discipline-InteLnetic.
According the words of Michael Epstein it is “laboratory of one new virtual literacy”’ encyclopedia of new ideas and paradigms, whose rhisimatic concept demolishes the illusion of linearity, shakes the foundations of rectilinear reading. The InteLnet is an a centric and non– hierarchy structure, for which the philosophy of the name becomes completely irrelevant, as it itself is a name for one philosophy, if it becomes more fragmentary it will be more complete, philosophy that recognizes not real subjects, but coexistence of minds. Hitherto what is its history like?
Everything starts in the far 1984 when Michael Epstein decides to realize his project called The Book of Books (Kniga knig). The idea is not mine, he says. Somebody whispered it to me – as Socrates whispered to Plato, as Nietzsche was whispered by Zarathustra, as somebody else’s independent and nondependent voices, live according their will in us, said the Russian philosopher Alexis Losev. They demand multidimensional net in every point, every knot will have potential to connect itself to numberless other knots. Isn’t that a rhisomatic point of view, which were Deleuze and Guattari6F speaking of, in their The thousand plateaus? Hence, do we not enter the third era of literacy, of which the essay of Umberto Eco debated? Isn’t it the era of hyper textual CD-ROMs, thanks to which we sail today, undisturbed throughout the world of information, accordingly stimulated by “the secret whisper of the strange voices” do we not learn other, alternative views?
Unfortunately, trees grow still in our heads, although we are fully aware that the brain is more grass then tree, that the history of our though is not branchy but rhizomatic, possessing its own coexist lines which nourish the nomad logic of thinking. It seems that this concept instead of forward, it pushes us backwards towards the Bakhtin`s dialogue logic. Nevertheless before we conclude this we shall check, are the influences present in the Epstein’s The Book of Books?

Hyper reality

It is clear that today’s concept of literacy encompasses multitude media. They are powerful force. They even overcome the message:the electronic medium for instance, creates possibility for multidirectional connection. It forms specific super linear net from powerful ephemeral textual blocks, whose frame is only the computer’s screen. In that conditional “frame”, the reading and writing ignore the laws of printing syllable. Former separation between the written and visual communication, exceeds in mutual interlace. Computers today create a new form of Literacy. “To be interring the computers means -to write”, convinces Epstein (1998:109). However, in that intersubjective world the subjects are not the only that participate, but also the all actualized statements which give us right to reject the shackles of that necrophil philological linguistic where the Mikhaïl Bakhtin shrank from. Yet, imagined thus as dialogue of the discourses, the project of Michael Epstein assures that in the three-dimensional cyber-space, the links remind of horizons connecting two or more discourses. Their thin surface conceals one pre-discourse or better say one pre-link genesis belonging to one very important “dumbness”, something pre-systemic which enters not the order of any system, not even the electronic. It conceals the trail that “dumbness”, deprived of the connection to the actual mark, but connected to a certain electronic text which is in a constant denial, for its signs direct us not towards the reality, but additional signs-additional texts whose reality in fact is: the hyper reality.
Our civilization – the one imagined and created by the heights from the rank of McLuhan, Eco and Epstein – grew into system of correlative signs which direct to each other and create hyper real poetics. The Epstein’s InteLnet also his The Book of Books, are results of a poetic of this kind, whose dialog plan follows the principle of open structure and incompleted interpretation. It makes them kin to the word formation which could also be considered as pre – hyper textual, but it also changes the status of the authors and the readers. The crisis of the traditional authorship makes us all anonymous. Fortunately, this kind of concept can liberate us from the fetters of the unique identity and to be transformed into “aesthetic absentminded being “(Eaglton). Nowadays finally in the era of the Epstein’s “new folklore art”, we can become those who organize the text, who perform dissemination of the textual meanings (as ages before the rhapsodists and folklore singers were performing, connecting the fragments of a formation into one continuated, endless entirety). It has been created one new – not super-personal but interpersonal – configuration of a literature experience. It convinces that the art is no longer product of the original mastermind – some kind of individual craftwork activity – but total of operations which are performed over the field of marked practices, crossing the present and the past, social and personal dimension. If the culture has far been product from multitude creative strivings, today, on contrary all attempts for politic, technologization, scientism, morallism, with the projects of that kind as the Epstein The Book of Books, our culture increases into self – propelled and self – made practice, in the object of formative creation – in Transcultural as imagined by Michael Epstein ( Such is also his InteLnet : the powerful electronic site covering multiple disciplines and connecting many media.
“The man – once said Joseph Brodsky – transformed himself into the rustling of a pen”. Nowadays for Michael Epstein, he shifts to the other side of the screen, to that side of the truth and the lie, without pen and paper, by just “silently pressing the keyboard”, (Epstein: 1998:109), shifts in the virtual space of his InteLnet, which knows not of coordinates and which celebrates the plurality of the discourses. Textuality is the unique condition of entering that world. Therefore we must not be concerned: with the Epstein`s hyper textual, interactive and multyvoiced project, we are already in the new era of the literacy – in the era of the Pan – textuality, which is fluid and nondeterministic, but yet literary, from the centre to the circumference.

Translated by: Margareta Ivanovska


1. ECO, Umberto: “From Internet To Gutenberg”, Blesok no. 16 (also: Kulturen Zivot, Skopje, 3/2000, 22-33)
2. EKO, Umberto (1965): Otvoreno djelo, Veselin Maslesa, Sarajevo
3. EPSTEJN, Mihail: “Ot Interneta k InteLnetu”,
4. EPSTEJN, Mihail & SKLOVSKJI, Evgenij: “Sti idei – iz vozduha. Kak rozdaets/ Kniga knig (Beseda Evgeni/ Eklovskogo s Mihailom Epstejnom)”,
5. EPSTEJN, Mihail (1998): “O virtuelnoj knjizevnosti” in: Postmodernizam, Zepter Book World, Beograd
6. KRISTEVA, Julia (1969): Recherches pour une sémanalyse, Editions du Seuil, Paris
7. BARTHES, Roland (1970): S/Z, Editions du Seuil, Paris
8. BART, Rolan (1975): Zadovoljstvo u tekstu, Gradina, Nis
9. BART, Rolan (1986): “Smrt autora” in: Suvremene knjizevne teorije, SNL, Zagreb
10. BART, Rolan (1986): “Od djela do teksta” in: Suvremene knjizevne teorije, SNL, Zagreb
11. DERRIDA, Zak (1998): Pismenostta i razlicieto, Nauka i izkustvo, Sofia
12. ZENET, Zerar (1996): Umetnicko delo: imanentnost i transcendentnost, Svetovi, Novi Sad

6. We should stop believing in trees, in the roots and the ridicule said Deleuze and Guattari (Lusu:1999;316)

2018-08-21T17:23:40+00:00 January 1st, 2002|Categories: Reviews, Literature, Blesok no. 24|0 Comments