Hypertext & Art: A Retrospective of Forms

by Dene Grigar, Curator

As one can imagine, an exhibition curated in Rome, Italy planned over a great distance—from the West Coast of the United States—featuring art displayed on fragile legacy computers shipped specifically for the event to the museum from the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver has required much support. So, it is imporant to recognize everyone who has contributed to the success of the exhibition.

The organizers of ACM Hypertext and Social Media ’23 are much appreciated for both their faith and hard work to bring this exhibition to the conference and the public. Alessandro Adamou, the Digital Humanities Scientist at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, especially, carried a heavy load in organizing the event locally in Rome from the Bibliotheca Herztiana. I doubt the two of us will forget tracking the shipping as the six boxes traveled to Rome or testing the Classic II computers together over Zoom to see if they arrived safely. I would like to thank Dr. Klaus Werner of the Digitization division of the Bibliotheca Hertziana who brokered contract with the Musei Capitolini to host the exhibition at this important cultural site. It is also important to acknowledge Alessio Antonini, the Conference Chair, for inviting me to curate this art exhibition and for his guidance and wisdom in executing it. It would be an error not to thank Claus Atzenbeck, who when he chaired the 2019 conference, worked to "tear down the wall" between science and art by including an exhibition of born-digital literature at the event.

I want to acknowledge the kind support of Washington State University Vancouver, specifically members of the administration, Development Office, and Mail Room: Chancellor Mel Netzhammer, who continues to support the lab and its many projects; Dr. Pavithra Narayaran, Director of the College of Arts and Sciences, who provided the gifts of time and resources; Melissa Bassett, Director of Development, who raised funds in support of the undergraduates and staff who assisted at the exhibition; and Haley Byrd, Lead Mail Processor, who diligently and knowledgeably worked to get the many boxes of computers to the Bibliotheca Hertziana.

Without the support of the sponsors, Autodesk and Dick Hannah Dealerships, I could not have managed the exhibition during its run. Both provided funding to bring students and lab staff to the exhibition to assist with helping visitors and handling tech support: Thank you very much, Jennifer Watters, Jordan Giboney, and Denise McCarthy, from Autodesk; and Jason Hannah, from Dick Hannah Dealerships, for the continued support of the faculty and students in the department.

Additionally, members of the Electronic Literature Lab provided support with planning the exhibition, creating the promotional materials for it, and handling the tech support in advance of the event. Thank you to Greg Philbrook, our tech guru, who worked with me to prepare the works and computers for the exhibition; Holly Slocum, the lab's Senior Designer and Project Manager, who designed the website and other materials and helped to coordinate the activities of everyone else from the lab involved; Andrew Thompson, who coded the website and served as project manager for the exhibition; Sierra O’Neal, who created the many 3D models for the archival website; and Kathleen Zoller, who produced the animation for the exhibition website.

A special thank you goes to the exhibition team: the two undergraduates from Creative Media & Digital Culture (CMDC), Simone Huyhn and James Lesperance spent many weeks of their summer training and studying in preparation for the event.

Finally, I want to thank Mark Anderson for his careful reading of the Curatorial Statement and his input on the historical aspects of many of the hypertext authoring programs included in this exhibition. I also want to recognize Walter Vannini and Lorenzo Miglioli who provided me with a clearer understanding of the history and cultural impact of RA-DIO. Walter also made a special trip to Regensberg to share his copy of RA-DIO and other artifacts from the project for the exhibition. I am blessed to have such great colleagues in the field of hypertext.