Journal #6 – ENGL 335

feb 25/18 • [digital humanities]

I want to briefly zoom in on one aspect of digital humanities related to “The Upright Script,” the Digital Humanities Manifesto, and “Pathfinders”: curation.

Amaranth Borsuk’s essay on data culture and poetry explores how artists also take on the role of curator when navigating data; poets can reuse, remix, and re-appropriate existing text/data to create new works. The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 recognizes the importance of curation as a scholarly practice in “a world of perpetual data overload” (9); it argues for hands-on engagement with material to support teaching and learning. Finally, Pathfinders puts this into practice, not only documenting early digital literature but also placing it into context; along with the work itself, they document the platform it was originally available on and interview the authors/artists.

The practice of curation is collaborative, it blurs the lines between the roles of scholar/artist/critic/etc., and is an essential part of navigating the world of digital art and literature. An archive, an encyclopedia, or even a search engine all help provide access to knowledge, but as the manifesto notes, curation must also take on “interpretive, meaning-making responsibilities” (9).

I like the approach that the Pathfinders Project takes to document early digital literature. It preserves and is focused on works that help us to understand born-digital writing. The project is a multimedia book presented through images, text, and video and divided into linked sections that can be explored in a linear or non-linear way.

How do we take on the role of curator as students and artists?

Resources:

“The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0” (CommentPress version)

Amaranth Borsuk, “The Upright Script: Words in Space and on the Page,” Journal of Electronic Publishing 14.2 (2011)

Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature

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