Jason Nelson's Between Treacherous Objects is a hypermedia poem fraught with the anxiety that its title suggests. Packaged as a series of seemingly absurd juxtapositons (Credit Card/Dumpster, Gun/Hamburger, Prescription/Wedding Cake, etc.), BTO is sparsely populated with text, but rich with sensory stimulation. Against a somewhat menacing sonic backdrop, readers advance and retreat through three-dimensional screenspace, passing forward and back through slick, poppy atmoshperic graphics, bouncing between the images designated by each section title. Each section (11 in total) contains a password which unlocks artfully-edited public service announcements. These videos loop alongside mirror images of themselves, their audio tracks overlapping, deconstructing their intended purpose while suggesting new meanings through this strange doubling.
The aesthetics of the piece (slick interface vs. subtly unsettling audio, the nostalgia of 1950s video clips vs. their uncanny looping, and poetic text vs. the intense visual and aural ambience) illustrate the tension implied by the title. The overall effect is to suggest that this is a hypermedia poem about the experience of being in between—in between the past and the future, hope and cynicism, art and rubbish—a perfect metaphor for the role of Nelson, the digital poet (and, perhaps, his audience, as well).