Some of the works that will be part of the “Electronic Literature” exhibit.
 
 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A U.S. Library of Congress exhibit in Washington, D.C., will be curated by faculty, students and an alumna of Washington State University Vancouver. They also will guide visitors as docents during the April 3-5 run.

“Electronic Literature & Its Emerging Forms,” will be curated by Dene Grigar, associate professor and director of the creative media and digital culture program, and alumna Kathi Inman Berens, lecturer in the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. Eight undergraduate students will join them.

The exhibit will feature 27 works of electronic literature – dating 1982-2013 – by American authors. It will include printed works from Library of Congress collections, readings by select authors and hands-on workshops for visitors.

It is part of the library’s free, public “Electronic Literature Showcase,” which will include an exhibit of rare books; a keynote address by Stuart Moulthrop, author of the pioneering electronic literature work, “Victory Garden;” and a panel discussion about electronic literature’s connection to major areas of knowledge. The discussion will feature Berens; Grigar; Matthew Kirschenbaum, associate director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities; and Nick Montfort, president of the Electronic Literature Organization.

Genres displayed on various systems

Generally defined as a “digital born” literary work, electronic literature is a “first-generation digital object created on a computer and (usually) meant to be read on a computer.” In a world dominated by smart phones and tablets, the term computer has come to include any computing device.

The electronic literature featured in the exhibit has been produced by major American artists and influential pioneers working in any language. It reflects a broad spectrum of genres and approaches, e.g. kinetic poetry, hypertext fiction, animated graphic novels and augmented reality environments. These works will be displayed on iMacs, iPads, vintage Macintosh computers and vintage Atari game systems.

Students gain experience

The WSU Vancouver undergraduates will volunteer as docents to assist visitors and educate them about this innovative literary form. All of the students have received training in curating and acting as docent for multimedia art. Many of them have previous experience.

Senior Greg Philbrook has assisted Grigar at “Electronic Literature,” “Avenues of Access” and “Electronic Literature Affordances and Constraints” exhibits in Seattle, Boston and Morgantown, W.Va. respectively. Seniors Setareh Alizadeh and Nicole Buckner have volunteered as docents at numerous shows and have curated their own exhibits at North Bank Artists Gallery in Vancouver and Nouspace Gallery at WSU Vancouver.

Evan Flanagan, Morgan Hutchinson, Jason Lee, Gary Nasca and Amalia Vacca have volunteered as docents or assisted in mounting at least one exhibit and have taken courses offered by the creative media and digital culture program in curating and electronic literature.

This exhibit of electronic literature is the library’s first. It was made possible by digital humanist Susan Garfinkel, research specialist with the Digital Reference Section, CALM Division, at the Library of Congress, as well as colleagues in her department and at the library.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Grigar, dgrigar@vancouver.wsu.edu, or visit the exhibit website at http://dtc-wsuv.org/elit/elit-loc/. For information about the Electronic Literature Showcase, contact Susan Garfinkel, elit@loc.gov, or visit the website at http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/elit-showcase.html.