title: Hypertext Hotel
artists: Henry Andersen, Kendal Beynon, Bartek Buczek, Shelley Jackson, Daniel Jacoby, Peter Lemmens, Stuart Moulthrop
category: group exhibition
venue: SB34/ Clovis, Brussels
duration: November 25, 2022 — January 14, 2023


Hypertext Hotel is a network of rooms and passages, a collective endeavour, a co-authored text, an appropriated myth, a place of secrets and transgressions, a narrative structure, a mood, a premise for an exhibition.

The project borrows its title from a virtual space for collaborative writing set up by Robert Coover in 1991 for his workshop at Brown University, and it takes the then-emerging genre of ‘hypertext fiction’ – one of the earliest examples of electronic literature – as a starting point to think of an exhibition as a collective work of interactive fiction, where different scenarios and readings are not only permissible but inevitable.

The ambition to do away with narrative linearity goes back to the pre-digital literary experiments, but it was hypertext fiction that first dared to abandon the old medium and harness the potential of the nascent computer technology to that end. The collaborative, do-it-yourself attitude of those involved translated into hypertext fiction’s characteristic rudimentary visuals, and the post-cold-war techno-optimism into its unique emotive quality. These values and aesthetics are now looked back at with a mixture of condescension and desire.

Hypertext Hotel also taps into the hotel’s reputation as a site of secrets and transgressions, which has been established in film and literature, especially in the (neo-)noir genre. While these two genres might appear dissimilar, hypertext fiction being a digital native forking its way out of linear storytelling and noir – a pulp paperback following a tried-and-true narrative arc, they meet somewhere in the vaporwave rooms of cyber-hotels.

For the duration of the project, the delightfully postmodern interior of Clovislaan 87 will be transformed into the lobby of Hypertext Hotel. From there, the visitors can access the physical and digital infrastructures and explore the works of the hotel residents: Henry Andersen, Kendal Beynon, Bartek Buczek, Shelley Jackson, Daniel Jacoby, Peter Lemmens, Stuart Moulthrop, and Alicja Melzacka.
The heterogeneous body of the exhibition is held together by the soft tissue of hypertext fiction, which was co-written on this occasion, and which invites interaction from the visitors.


exhibition documentation [SB34] ⏿