When I started smoking a couple decades ago now, I had this experience for a while where visual text on screen would sometimes appear almost textured, where like shapes within the columns of text would sort of jump out at me visually. I would I guess ascribe it to the substance, but the impression has stuck with me so long now that I need to exteriorize it in order to let it grow into something else.

This was always the root of the concept:

That there would be some kind of app, or tool, or way of reading or… something… which would be composed in its essential form as a diamond, through which words of a text would rapidly scroll for reading, and that somehow, this technique would be much faster than regular conventional reading, and it would enable the user to scan through far greater volumes of textual material (and other compatible multi-modal inputs & sources). I’m imagining something you could just as easily use to read a book as scan through in a meaningful way a large dataset.

Thinking through questions around intertextuality also seems to yield applicability of whatever this kernel of an idea is here, a feeling, a fleeting stoned impression…

Whatever replaces our current old stodgy way of browsing the web will have to be able to visualize for us all the wexes, all the intertextual references and borrowings, connections to and from other sources, other voices, other texts, other interpreters and commentators. Enter the Power Reader.

In the interest of getting these ideas out of my head, so they stop swirling endlessly, I worked with Dalle3 to draft some concepts for this visually, but it got stuck and constrained in its own limited beliefs about the usefulness and desirability of “apps” and “cellphones” both of which I think I eschew (No Apps No Masters – a topic for another blog post). Still, the visual explorations have some additional nuggets of truth in them I think. There’s definitely something her worth expanding further.

Here’s the full set, an archive, and highlights below, hotlinked out of Imgur (and therefore likely broken by the time you see them) for your viewing pleasure: