In 2014, while in Chicago attending the annual MLA Convention, I visited the “Pathfinders Exhibit” curated by Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop. I was introduced to a number of works, including Jacob Garbe’s Closed Rooms, Soft Whispers. During the exhibit, I spoke with the work’s creator, which prompted some further correspondence, a portion of which I present in this post.
I recently had the pleasure of being invited to visit Dene Grigar’s Creative Media & Digital Culture (CMDC) program at Washington State University, Vancouver. In addition, I finally got to experience her fabled Electronic Literature Lab (ELL). The ELL, or what on first glance looks more like a Macintosh museum, boasts what is undoubtedly the world’s finest collection of electronic literature. Dene has in her possession much of the canon’s earliest works, maintained in near-mint condition. To my knowledge, there is no other institution with such a catalogue of e-lit, coupled with the systems necessary to read them as first intended. While I have argued the importance of digital materiality in the past, this was the first time that I had traversed many of these pieces without the veils of emulation or remediation. I was struck by the significance of the platform-specifics, more-so than I had expected to be. Continue reading “WSU Vancouver’s Electronic Literature Lab”