The Progressive Dinner Party’s website itself is fittingly displayed and organized like a dinner party, with a virtual table for “guests” to sit at, a menu of food items representing artists from various regions, and a list of “master chefs” and other honored guests to the dinner party. When entering the site, jazzy dinner music is played to help set the atmosphere. The entry page is even structured like a dinner invitation, offering a brief introduction to the site. Included in this invitation is a link to Carolyn Guertin’s Assemblage and two essays by Katherine Hayles and Talan Memmott.
The invitation directs guests to The Virtual Table, which is a triangular table similar to the one in Judy Chicago’s piece. Each of the 39 place settings are represented as stars, which users can click on to view the “plate” of each artist and link externally to their works. Alternatively, the plates can be accessed through the dinner menu, which categorizes the works by food based on the region the artist came from. In turn, these regions can be selected through an interactive world map on the website. These regions include Australia, Europe, the United States, Brazil and Russia, among others.
Each artist’s plate contains a customized picture with their name on it, which links out externally to their work. Though the main picture is always of the dinner table, additional props such as flowers, chess pieces and fruit add variation. Differentiation in background colors and patterns are also used. A black side panel with the artist’s name, the web genre, the title of the piece, and additional details such as places published can be found on the right-hand side of the screen. Also in each panel are links to the virtual table, the next plate, and endnotes.
By creating parts of the site with frames, an artists list can be scrolled through on the left-hand side most of the time. These are arranged alphabetically by last name, offering the user a quick and simple way to search. Frames are also used to separate the upper navigation bar so that it remains unchanged as users traverse the site, allowing them to choose where to go.
An Honored Guests page thanking the contributors is included as well. These contributors include Conversation Starters, Contributors of Candles, Pioneers in Cuisine, Flowers, Special Guests and Master Chefs. Clicking on a header will take the user to a list of names corresponding to that role. A Guest Book powered by GuestWorld is also provided for visitors to sign and leave notes in, though this appears to no longer function. Wrapping up the site are an endnotes page with links to Carolyn Guertin’s and M. D. Coverley’s sites, and a link to Jennifer Ley's online journal Riding the Meridian where it was published.
The original website published within Riding the Meridian can be found at this link: http://www.heelstone.com/meridian/templates/Dinner/dinner1.htm
An updated version of the site within the ELO Repository can be viewed here: https://elo-repository.org/progressive-dinner-party/