Klassifikation | Classification:

Autor(en) | Author(s): 
Espenschied, Dragan
Freude, Alvar
Werk-URL | Work URL: 
Jahr der Erstveröffentlichung | Year of original publication: 
Sprache(n) | Language(s): 
Autoren-Webseite(n) | Author's website(s): 
Deutsche Beschreibung | German description: 

Projektbeschreibung der Autoren:
"Der Assoziations-Blaster ist ein interaktives Text-Netzwerk in dem sich alle eingetragenen Texte mit nicht-linearer Echtzeit-Verknüpfung automatisch miteinander verbinden. Jeder Internet-Benutzer ist aufgerufen, die Datenbank mit eigenen Texten zu bereichern.
Die einzelnen Beiträge können nicht der Reihe nach gelesen werden, stattdessen wird anhand der entstehenden Verknüpfungen von einem Text zum anderen gesprungen. Die dadurch entstehende endlose Assoziationskette vermag dem Zusammenhalt der Dinge schlechthin auf die Spur zu kommen. 
Die Datenbank mit den Texten ist nach Stichworten geordnet. Jeder Text gehört zu einem bestimmten Stichwort und die Stichworte stellen auch die Verbindungen zwischen den Texten her. Jeder Internet-Benutzer darf auch neue Stichwörter eintragen, die dann sofort Auswirkungen auf alle bereits vorhandenen Texte haben. Die Datenbank enthält mehr als 360.000 Texte."
Ausgezeichnet mit dem 1. Ettlinger Internet-Literaturpreis 1999


Englische Beschreibung | English description: 

Alvar Freude and Dragan Espenschied’s Assoziations-Blaster, an internet-based collaborative writing project available in English and German, is radically different from other collaborative writing projects in that the software programme, not a human being, acts as project leader or editor. The ‘machine’, an element which positions the text in close relationship with cybertext, is ‘the only element that definitely ‘knows’ all the segments in the text pool’ (Simanowski, 2004: 87). Therefore, the empowered ‘wreader’ has ‘absolute freedom’ as author. The programme creates all the links (‘Assoziationen’), partly through a random generator. The crucial problem with this technology is that links are solely based on morphological resemblances. Nevertheless, the novelty of Assoziations-Blaster lies in the programme’s capacity of developing the structure independently from its authors. Collaboration thus occurs at programme level.
Assoziations-Blaster parodies the Faustian endeavour among hypertext enthusiasts of using infinite associative chains to find the essence of truth. ‘It ridicules the notion of truth in random, mechanical, and intentionally silly associations. What really matters in this project is blasting open the connections between both texts and their writers’ (Roberto Simanowski: "Death of the author? Death of the reader!", in: p0es1s - The Aesthetics of Digital Poetry, ed. by Friedrich W. Block et al. Berlin 2004, p. 87-89).
Assoziations-Blaster is a prime example of self-referentiality. Individual words are used as associative triggers, which link to each other automatically. Contributions are stored in a database, which keeps a list of key words and matches them with the contributions. The machine operates in such a way as to ban the reader from progressing unless he or she adds more texts themselves. While a chronological order of reading the contributions is impossible, the reader jumps from one associative link to another. At first glance, Assoziations-Blaster seems to convey the ultimate interconnectivity between cognates, words, and ideas. Nevertheless, what looms much larger is the limitation that emerges from such an apparatus. Simanowski (Simanowski: "Death of the author? Death of the reader!") mentions Assoziations-Blaster as one of the three most representative examples of internet-based collaborative writing in German, and discusses it in depth in his book Interfictions (Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp 2002).

The work-in-process was awarded a prize at the 1999 Ettlinger Wettbewerb für Netzliteratur and has, since it became available in English, been met with increasing international acclaim.

This entry has been adapted from Astrid Ensslin: Canonizing Hypertext: Explorations and Constructions. London: Continuum 2007, pp. 95-96.

Autor der englischen Beschreibung | Author of English description: 
Astrid Ensslin
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