[ISEA2015] Curator Statement: Dene Grigar – NEW TEXT: Literary and Artistic Explorations into What It Means To Read, Write, And Create

Curator Statement

Texts that move, respond to touch, are created by bots, are evoked and performed through augmented and virtual reality, that digitally remix print works, extend print text to the digital medium or digital text into print environments – all speak to ways artists in the 21st century are questioning assumptions about methods of production and rethinking notions of audience engagement with textual objects like books and creative output like literary art. New Text: Literary and Artistic Explorations into What It Means to Read, Write, and Create, curated by Dene Grigar, builds on ISEA2015’s theme of Disruption by looking at the way digital technologies disrupt text and notions of textuality. Fifteen works created by 22 artists and artist teams have been selected for the exhibit. Some like Jody Zellen’s mobile app Spine Sonnet, which allows the viewer to produce unlimited iterations of a poem by interacting with the tablet interface, force the viewer to rethink the sonnet as closed poetic system. Others like Tiffany Sanchez and Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo’s hybrid book environment, Prey, disrupt cultural assumptions about both digital and print-based books. Still others like Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg’s Networked Optimization, three self-help books presented on a Kindle with accompanying printed versions of the text, offer a critique of tablets that purport to “optimize” the reading experience. In essence, this exhibit asks, “What constitutes a text in the 21st century, and what are the possibilities for reading, writing, and creating texts when artists have both print and electronic media to use as platforms of discovery?” Certainly, the works demonstrate that the disruption caused by digital technologies can result in provocative and compelling objects of study. The exhibit provides the opportunity to showcase new works by international artists working at the intersection of literature, media art, experimental writing, and technology in the field of electronic literature, and showcases artists from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Australia, the U.S., Canada, the UK, Italy, and Korea.

  • Dene Grigar is Professor and Director of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver, Canada, whose research focuses on the creation, curation, preservation, and criticism of Electronic Literature, specifically building multimedial environments and experiences for live performance, installations, and curated spaces; desktop computers; and mobile media devices. She has authored 14 media works such as “Curlew” (2014), “A Villager’s Tale” (2011), the “24-Hour Micro E-Lit Project” (2009), “When Ghosts Will Die” (2008), and “Fallow Field: A Story in Two Parts” (2005), as well as 52 scholarly articles. She also curates exhibits of electronic literature and media art, mounting shows at the Library of Congress (USA) and for the Modern Language Association, among other venues. With Stuart Moulthrop (U of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA) she was the recipient of a 2013 NEH Start Up grant for a digital preservation project for early electronic literature, entitled Pathfinders, which culminated into a open source, multimedia book for scholars and is the subject of a forthcoming print book for The MIT Press. Grigar is President of the Electronic Literature Organization and Associate Editor of Leonardo Reviews. nouspace.net/dene

We appreciate the support of the Electronic Literature Organization for its help with promoting the event and Washington State University Vancouver for providing access to technology and research assistance.