On the road

I popped in to the British Library to see the original scroll which Jack Kerouac used to write On the Road in three weeks. He taped sheets of architects’ tracing paper together to make a continuous, 120 foot scroll.

It’s amazing to see this scroll in the context of scrolling as one of the defining interactions of our age.

The manuscript of On the Road

Scrolling is a continuation; clicking is a decision. Kerouac was aiming to get the words out without interruption.

It’s interesting how the medium helps to define work. The framing of work, its context and its presentation are important parts of the work itself. There was a talk at Design of Understanding about the frame of comic books (the gaps between the panels) and how the “page is f*cked” in digital comics. Just like comics we haven’t yet made it to the point where literature has adapted to networked culture in convincing ways. I look forward to seeing how literature evolves without recourse to the usual “death of the novel” stuff.