Dene Grigar: Pathfinders

Archiving eLit presents its own particular challenges.
Fortunately there are people who are rising to meet them…

WSU Vancouver ResearchNow!

What happens when the medium on which a work of art was meant to be experienced no longer exists? That’s the question that absorbs Dene Grigar, director and associate professor of the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at WSU Vancouver. In her Electronic Literature Lab in the Multimedia Classroom Building, she keeps 35 vintage computers dating back to 1983. These computers enable anyone to experience literature produced by and for a computing device as the artist intended—even if that particular computing device is no longer around.

“I collect computers to be able to access this work that is now obsolete,” she said. “The problem is, if you use a new computer to access an old program, it will make it look like a new program, and that’s not right. The work is defined not only by its content but also by the context around it.” That includes the computer…

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