Treasures from The Dene Grigar Collection
The Electronic Literature Lab holds the collection of over 300 works electronic literature, video games, and interactive media, along with the hardware and peripherals with with to view the work, collected for the last 29 years by Dene Grigar. The collection highlights include all works of electronic literature published by Eastgate Systems, Inc.; posters, catalogs, and proceedings from many conferences and media art shows that featured electronic literature; books and other printed materials published to accompany born digital works.
The items featured in this exhibit, however, are among the rarest in her collection because they represent one of the last, the only iteration of a work or unique work. The copy of Judy Malloy’s Uncle Roger Version, for example, is one of five left from those she sold to the public from 1986-88 via the Art Com catalog. The costume worn by Rob Wittig in the Invisible Seattle performances in the early 1980s is the only one left from that work. Other items like Mark Amerika and Ryan Ruehlen’s 2057: Supersonic Space––Time Hacking are signed special editions given to Grigar by the artists themselves. In most cases, the printed material included in the exhibit is signed or accompanied by notes or letters in the artist’s hand. A few items, like The Unknown: An Anthology, have been purchased but are now difficult to find, particularly in the condition of the one in her collection. All works are treasured, for they speak to the unique way artists combine the digital with the analog to produce experimental works of great vision and reflect an artistic vision of great scope.
Invisible Seattle. The items were donated by the artist Rob Wittig to Grigar, on 11 December 2012, on the occasion of the MLA 2012 exhibition, “Electronic Literature,” that she co-curated with Kathi Inman Berens and Lori Emerson.
- Costume: Invisible Seattle uniform with hard hat used in performances by artist Rob Wittig
- Book: Invisible Rendevouz: Connections and Collaborations in the New Landscape of Electronic Writing, by Rob Wittig for In . S. Omnia. Wesleyan UP: Hanover, NH, 1994. The dedication by the author to Grigar reads, “Dene––Invisibly yours. Rob Wittig 12/11”
- Book: Invisible Seattle: The Novel of Seattle, by Seattle. The True Text of Version 5.2 Set from Copies of the Original Disks. 1983-1987. Purchased by Grigar for the MLA exhibition
- Note: Hand-drawn note created by Wittig for Grigar that reads, “Dene––This is gonna be fun! Rob,” along with other items
The Griffin and Sabine book series purchased by Grigar, with Ceremony of Innocence, donated by Jim Bizzocchi to Grigar.
- Book: Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, by Nick Bantock. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1991.
- Book: Sabine’s Notebook: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin and Sabine Continues, by Nick Bantock. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1992.
- Book: The Golden Mean: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin and Sabine Continues, by Nick Bantock. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1993.
- CD-ROM:Ceremony of Innocence: The Mysterious Correspondence of Griffin and Sabine, by Nick Bantock and Alex Mathew. CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows 95. UK: Real World Media, 1997.
Items associated with The Gathering Cloud, by J. R. Carpenter.
- Book: The Gathering Cloud, by J. R. Carpenter. Axminister, UK: Uniform Books, 2017
- Cards and Flyer: Three artist cards and one flyer created by the artist and donated to Grigar. One card, dated 26 July 2017, reads, “Dear Dene, Here are a few more print pieces linking to web pieces, for your archive. XO JR”
Quilt: Hand-made quilt made by Anastasia Salter and given to Grigar at the ELO 2019 conference banquet at University Cork College, Cork, Ireland as a gift for her six years as the organization’s President.
Artist’s Box and floppy disks: The artist box created by Judy Malloy for her work Uncle Roger, Version 3.3 (1986-88) containing two of three 5.25-inch floppy disks and hand-made paper inserts, given to Grigar by the artist in 2013 in preparation of the Pathfinders project that featured the work.
Literary & Media Art by Mark Amerika. Items include:
- Book and cassette: 2057: Supersonic Space––Time Hacking, by Mark Amerika and Ryan Ruehlen, 2018. Limited Edition Artists Book, 3/20, signed by the artists. It includes a book and cassette tape
- Novels: The Kafka Chronicles (1993) and Sexual Blood (1995) both published by Black Ice and autographed by the author, with a note to Grigar
- Book: Remix the Context, Routledge Press, 2018. Autographed to Grigar and John Barber
Plastic cubes and card: Loss Set 1: Power into the Draw, by Namir Ahmed, Tiffany Cheung, Jordan Scott, and Aaron Tucker, given by artists to Grigar at the ELO 2016 Media Arts exhibition in June 2016 at the University of Victoria that she chaired. Items include:
- Four 3D printed cubes produced from poetry by Tucker
- The informational card that featured poetry used for the work
Book and CD-ROM: The Unknown: An Anthology, by William Gillespie, Frank Marquardt, Scott Rettberg, and Dirk Stratton, dated 1 March 2002. It includes booklet and CD-ROM that Grigar purchased for the lab.
Poster: “The Future of Electronic Literature,” 2007. Grigar received this copy from the conference held at the Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park hosted by Matthew Kirschenbaum. It is an artifact from the second ELO conference held by the organization.
Sweatshirt: This sweatshirt was sold by the ELO in its early years. It belonged to Margie Luesebrink (M. D. Coverley), who served as the organization’s second president. She gave it to Grigar for exhibition at the University of Victoria library in June 2016.
Items associated with Eduardo Kac’s Space Poetry, the former given to Grigar by artist Eduardo Kac when she visited with him at his studio in Chicago, January 2019; the latter at the ELO 2017 conference in Montreal.
- Artist’s Book: ISS#71904 (2017), by Eduardo Kac, 35/100, signed and dated by artist
- DVD in Folio: Télescope Intérieur: Une Oeuvre Spatiale d’Eduardo Kac, avec Thomas Pesquet (2017). The DVD contains the film by Virgile Novarina that documents Kac’s poem produced and performed in space.
- Patch, hand-made by Kac, to be worn on flight suit, given to Grigar during Kac’s visit to the lab in February 2020
- Sticker created to promote the work, given to Grigar during Kac’s visit to the lab in February 2020
Book and DVD: Nybble-Engine, given to Grigar by artist Margarete Jahrmann in 2004 when they were both studying at Roy Ascott’s Planetary Colleguim.
Items associated with Ice-Bound, by Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe, 2016. Items include:
- Book: The Ice-Bound Compendium. Simulacrum Liberation Press, 2015. The book was purchased by Grigar for the lab
- Posters: Four Augmented Reality (AR) enhanced posters given to Grigar by the artists for the 2017 exhibition, “YOU/I,” at Winona State University curated by Grigar at the Paul Watkins Gallery
- Book: Ice-Bound Compendium: The First Two Chapters. Grigar received this copy as a supporter of the work’s Kickstarter campaign. Also included is the letter to supporters signed by the artists and a business card promoting the Kickstarter campaign