The Electronic Literature Lab is restoring Christy Sheffield Sanford’s “Red Mona,” a work of net art that unfolds over the course of 42 “flash-cards” containing text, images, and sound. Based on Guy de Maupassant’s story, Petit Soldat, it was exhibited in 1997 at the “Maid in Cyberspace XX” exhibition held in Montreal. 

Much information can be found about the work. Sanford’s interview for Riding the Meridian, entitled “Better than Bali: Travels on the WWW,” reports that she worked with the computer science engineer Bradley Spatz to develop a random script that allows readers to access the various cards randomly. She also tell us that:

“One day Joel [Lipman] came into my office and gave me a stack of French Flash Cards. I’ve always been a francophile. (I imagine myself as Suzanne Valadon painting in the nude.) Throughout my tenure at U.T., I was cutting out images and overlaying text on the Flash Cards to make a nonlinear story about a woman who has stepped out of a DeMaupassant short story, “Two Little Soldiers.” I envisioned this as a work for the Web, as it was the only way I could see it being published. I also wanted to explore how it could be not just a gallery-type project but a web project. I had French sound files and a random cgi script created and the text itself is very hypertextual. By that, I mean on the cards themselves, there are multiple meanings, associations and lines of connection.”

Sanford has the distinction of being the first trAce Virtual Writer-in-Residence. Winner of many awards including The Well’s prize for the Best Hyperlinked Work on the Web for her work “NoPink,” Sanford has been won many grants including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two NEA-Rockefeller sponsored grants for New Forms. Visitors to this blog will also find her work currently exhibited in The NEXT.

The project begins on May 13 and will be completed within a couple of weeks, so stay tuned!