About the Exhibit

Reading Rebooted opens its doors on Nov 30, 2009 at 5pm, where it will be "visitable" at the Kipp Gallery, on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. This is a project of the Kipp Gallery, IUP Center for Digital Humanities and Culture, and students from the Graduate Program in Literature and Criticism (ENGL 983/ Fall 2009.)

The exhibit aims to "explore the imaginative engagement of poets and fiction writers with the tools of new media. . . inventing a post-Gutenberg space for literature." We have together chosen works by twelve digital writers / artists that we believe will allow for an interesting intervention on a university campus.

Among our many interests is the experience visitors have of reading or viewing this work in a public, social space. Our class has thought about how oral literature is necessarily social, but how in some ways the reading of printed books led to less social, more intimate or perhaps isolated experiences with literature. There is no "private reading" in an oral culture. But what about in digital culture?

We have a number of contradictory images. First, there is that of the student transfixed by a laptop screen, perhaps with an Ipod and earphones -- reading in an isolated, perhaps even detached zone. Then, there is the picture of media artists dowloading, remixing, and sharing again musical works or youtube videos, commenting and collaborating.

We are interested in thinking about how digital writers engage with the possibilites of public and private, social and individual in their work. And while all of the pieces selected are available on the web (unlike some digital works designed for site-specific installations) and so can be "read" by an individual user on his or her private laptop, in the security of the home, we are placing them in the social space of the gallery.

We wanted to show them in the gallery because we are interested in how visitors to the site will choose to interact with these works. The spatial configuration of the gallery itself is envisioned as offering the visitor significant choices about how to take in these works ... to read, use, play, operate, and spectate. Also, we recognize that many of these pieces will be challenging or surprising to visitors unfamiliar with new media experiments. We look forward to the opportunity to share this experience and believe that discussing this work with others is a powerful way to glimpse the future present of our cultural moment.

Please visit the forum and share your thoughts!

Thanks are due to Kyle Houser, director of the Kipp Gallery at IUP, without whose support and guidance this exhbiit would not have been possible and to the artists, for permitting us to show their works. The students of ENGL 983 contributed by writing material for this site and through the semester-long conversation that helped energize and provide its context. Thanks to Diana Leach, Ghada Al Abbadi, Abdually Al-Badarneh, Sameer Al-Shraah, Mohammad Aljayyousi, Mohammad Almostafa, Betsy Casaday, Adam Colton, Anna Factorvich, Brooke Fenstermaker, Dominique Ficalora, Majid Mgamis, Muhammad Suliman, Begona Vilouta-Vazquez, and Natalie Yaquenian.