Figure 1: Title page for Red Mona

The lab finished the work to reconstruct Christy Sheffield Sanford’s work of net art, Red Mona, and restore the original website that presented it. This activity marks the first time we have done both activities to  a single work of digital art to preserve it.

Red Mona is a narrative based on Guy de Maupassant’s short story “Petit Soldat” that unfolds over 45 randomly generated flash cards. As each card appears on the screen, readers can hear the words written in French on the card spoken aloud by clicking on the card. Sanford’s dazzling images and the beauty of the French language deliver a sensual representation of the story to the reader.

Figure 2: One of the 45 flash cards

Because the randomization of the flash cards was coded in CGI script, the cards became inaccessible to the public. Using the archives of the cards shared with us by Sanford, Greg Philbrook, our tech guru, re-programmed the randomization with JavaScript.

The artist no longer had the archives for the presentation website, but the files were still available via the Wayback Machine, allowing Holly Slocum, our Senior Designer, to restore them as part of the archival material for the work. She also created a contemporary presentation website for the work basing her design on inspirations from Sanford’s art. Both the art and website are built in open Web languages and freely accessible to the public.

Sanford plans to exhibit the work at the Kolaj Festival in New Orleans later this month. We are so pleased to be able to make this opportunity possible for her.