Research Showcase Gallery (Poster 1948)

The Progressive Dinner Party Restored


The Progressive Dinner Party is a collection of 39 digital-born works created by female artists in the late 90s. Over time, the websites these individual works lived on were taken down, or the software they ran on is no longer functional in contemporary browsers. This meant that scholarship could not take place regarding many of the critical works within this collection. Swift action was needed to ensure that these works were preserved for future generations to study, before they were lost forever.

In the summer of 2019, I received a $2,000 grant from the university to locate all of the works, make them functional in modern devices and beyond, and place them back into a restored version of the collection. I then wrote a book about my findings and methodology, The Progressive Dinner Party Restored, which can be viewed for free online.

I first made an inventory of the works contained within the collection, taking note of which were missing and then contacting the artists these files. My next task was to run all of the works through Rhizome's Webrecorder tool, which is used to capture the functionality of a work while converting them to .WARC files for longevity.

The result was a restored collection of critical digital-born works made available for future generations to study. Though several of the works could not be restored due to the permanent loss of files, the project helped to develop a new process of preservation for the Electronic Literature Lab to utilize.

About the Presenter

photo of kathleen zoller

Kathleen Zoller

Kathleen Zoller is an Undergraduate Researcher working in the Electronic Literature Lab who is pursuing a B.A. in Digital Technology and Culture. Her focus is digital animation, and she gained much experience working with multimedia book development on the Scalar platform when she produced The Progressive Dinner Party Restored. She has also gained expertise with Rhizome's Webrecorder, and has gained coding experience from restoring access to Annie Grosshans' The World Is Not Done Yet.