In one of the very few hostile reviews of Understanding Hypermedia, the reviewer took particular exception to my use of the word bricolage. This he explained to his readers meant do it yourself in French. Not long afterwards, I went on holiday to France and it seems almost everywhere we went was met by signs at the side of the road advertising “Mr. Bricolage”. Ever since then I have been tempted to create a new identity for myself as Monsieur Bricolage.
This has long been a running joke with some of my friends and the other day my friend Karen Mahony sent me this link to an entry on bricolage from Charlie Bertsch‘s blog.
This prompted me to dig out a copy of Understanding Hypermedia to see what had aroused the ire of that hostile reviewer all those years ago. If I’d still got it soft I’d reproduce the whole section, but since it involves retyping I just put in a couple of passages so that you can get the flavour:
“With a digital medium such as hypermedia, not only is copying very easy, but once it has been copied, material can be very easily adapted, modified, changed or merged with other copied material. In 20 years time, one definition of ‘literacy’ may be the ability to put together an interactive communication (using sound, images, animation and live action video as well as text). If this is the case, it will be largely because hypermedia is the supreme medium for bricolage.”
“… bricolage can be seen as a fundamental aspect of human creativity. Nothing that any of us creates is totally new. Everyone, including the most brilliant and original, draws on existing elements of the culture. What makes something new and original is the organization of those existing elements into new and original relationships, combined with the detail of their expression.”