I have been involved in some aspect of digital media for the last 19 years, using computers and computing devices to create literary works, engage in textual analysis, pioneer online environments, and create multimedia performance pieces. For the most part I see it as the duty of artists and scholars to take control of electronic technology in order to shape it, else we will, without a doubt, be shaped by it.
In 1991 I created my first hypertext–an (unpublished) academic essay on Gertrude Stein produced with a program called Storyspace. To quote Stein's comment about one of her poems from Tender Buttons, my hypertext was a "failed experiment," but it did provide me with an understanding about conceptualizing information for virtual space. From this project I went on to create numerous others like this one and this one that were published and somewhat more successful than the Stein piece. One of these is a topic of a thesis by a British scholar. Storyspace became the basis of my methodology for collecting and organizing information when I and my collaborator Mindy Corwin translated parts of Homer's Odyssey in 1991-2. Our work using Storyspace for translation is documented in the article "The Loom and the Weaver."
I was the first person in Dallas, TX to have a webpage devoted to scholarship. Produced in 1993 before the existence of GUI browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer and created with command line programming, it focused on my research on Homer's Penelope, the topic of my PhD dissertation at the University of Texas at Dallas. I did not think to save a copy of my work for posterity. Foolish me.
I defended my dissertation on Homer's Penelope in 1995 in a MOO, called LinguaMOO, belonging to Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik. I was the first person (and I believe the last) to have done this. The event is documented in Haynes and Holmevik's book, High Wired (U of Michigan Press), and other places like this one. It is used in the MLA Handbook as a model for how to cite MOO-based research and is cited in dissertations like this one.
In 1998, while on faculty at Texas Woman's University, I was awarded an ongoing internal grant to develop an online teaching environment for at-a-distance learning called TWUMOO. In 2001 I won TWU's first "Innovation in Academia Award" in the area of Computer Science for this project.
I have been fortunate to have studied with some of the top theorists in digital media: Kate Hayles at her 2001 NEH Summer Seminar (UCLA), Roy Ascott and Michael Punt with their group CAiiA-Star (Now Planetary Collegium, U of Plymouth, UK, 2002-4), and Sue Thomas at Trace's TextLab workshop in 2003 (NTU, UK).
My first poetry was published when I was 21. I did not realize the importance of documenting these activities back then, so I have no proof that I really did this and do not even remember the names of the literary journals my poetry appeared in, so you just have to take my word for it. Curiously, I do have copies of all of the rejection letters from editors I have ever received. I have since published many other print and electronic literary works and have documented the daylights out of them here and here.
Since 2006 I have directed and have taught in a digital media program at Washington State University Vancouver called the Digital Technology and Culture Program. For the last three years I have devoted a lot my energy to this endeavor, increasing the number of majors from 42 to 120, bringing in outside support and funding from the local community, and revamping the entire program to make it more current with the evolving field of digital media. But like all good academics I also spend a great deal of time turning out books and articles like this one, and I also like to create and perform in multimedia works like this one and or experiment with ones like this.
The areas of interest I have been interested in exploring for the last six years are emergent technologies and cognition, electronic literature, and ephemera. In that vein, I direct the MOVE Lab (MOtion tracking, Virtual Environment lab) at WSUV. Work generating from it include 3D elit like "Things of Day and Dreams" and "When Ghosts Will Die". It is also used for telematic, telepresent performances, such as "Virtual DJ". I am currently experimenting with social media for creating narratives. The "24-Hr. Micro-Elit Project" evolved from this interest.
One last piece of information: Because my name looks like a man's name, I get mail all of the time addressed to Mr. Dene Grigar. Not to be a traitor to my gender, I make an attempt to demonstrate visually that I am indeed not ashamed to be a woman and do not believe that being female and intelligent are mutually exclusive conditions. So, it is not vanity that drives me to put image on my home page. I hope you did not think so.
You can contact me with comments, criticisms, and opposing viewpoints at dgrigaratmacdotcom.