The Progressive Dinner Party Restored

"Mother Millennia" by Carolyn Guyer

Remembering our mothers, or hearing older relatives remember their mothers, is a human commonality that will never sound the same twice, but will always resonate with the memory and desire we all use to create ourselves. The stories on this website are sometimes painful and angry as well as happy and nostalgic. They each have the qualities of what makes an individual unique, as well as what makes you or me like any other person with a story.  -Mother Millennia

About the Work
Carolyn Guyer’s Mother Millennia is a collection of essays, poems, and hypertexts regarding the subject of “mother.”  The stories are provided by many cultural backgrounds from around the world, thus covering the complete history of mother over millennium. The site was open to anyone who wanted to read or contribute to the human race’s understanding of “mother,” inviting viewers to offer their unique perspectives based on personal experience.

The main goal of the project was to study diversity. Guyer stated that her hope was to create “a living example of how our differences can hold our individual and cultural identities while at the same time allowing spheres to overlap.” (Mother Millennia.) In sum, even though remembering or hearing stories about mothers is a commonality shared between all humans, no experience will be exactly the same due to differences in culture, perspectives, memories, and circumstances. 

Though the website contains many connections (or threads) between stories and other pages, it uses icons and clear link descriptions to prevent the user from getting lost. At a glance, it can be seen that the site is divided into nine main pages: an About page, Stories page, Authors page, Threads page, Biblio page (bibliography), Maps page (which was never completed), Related page (which contains links to sites related to Mother Millennia), Your Story page (a list of resources to help contributors get started), and a Help Page.

The main attraction of the website is the Stories section. The site houses a large collection of hypertexts, either internally or linking externally, but also contains essays and poetry. Users can either navigate these works by Author, Title, Story Genre, or by clicking through hyperlinks. The stories are well-organized within an alphabetical index that also provides the author’s name, type of work, and language(s) it was communicated in. If users wish, they can visit another page that alphabetizes these works by author’s last name. The works are also organized into various threads, which include Adoption, Biography, Birth, Emigre, Essay, Father, Fiction, Flora, Food, Grandmother, Graphics, Letters, Memoir, Oral History, Poetry, Video/Sound, and War.

About the Author
Carolyn Guyer has written a number of famous electronic works in the 1990s, including Quibbling, Izme Pass, and Lasting Image. Guyer is also known for starting a collaborative project within the Hypertext Hotel. In addition to having a background in hypertext writing, Guyer is also trained in visual arts through a wide range of media. She has collaborated with authors including Michael Joyce, Bob Stein, Marjorie Leusebrink, and Sven Birkerts.

Links to the work
"Mother Millennia" has been recorded in Rhizome's webrecorder. Additionally, it has been crawled by the Wayback Machine. A link to Guyer's plate in The Progressive Dinner Party is also provided below.

View "Mother Millennia" in the Webrecorder
View the web archive link
View Plate
“Carolyn Guyer.” Eastgate Systems, Inc. Accessed 28 July 2019.
Guyer, Carolyn. “Carolyn Guyer Bio.” Carolyn Guyer. Accessed 28 July 2019.
Guyer, Carolyn. “More About Mother Millennia.” Mother Millenia. Accessed 28 July 2019.
Guyer, Carolyn. “Mother Millennia Home.” Mother Millenia. Accessed 28 July 2019.
Guyer, Carolyn. “Threads in Mother Millennia.” Mother Millenia. Accessed 28 July 2019.

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