About the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base

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An interdisciplinary research team at New York University developed the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base. Launched in 2017, it will continue to grow as new researchers make contributions in the future. We describe the submission process on the How to Contribute page.

As explained on our How to Use This Site page, there are multiple ways to navigate the resource. Researchers can use the left sidebar menu, move around by clicking on our embedded hyperlinks, search by topic or keyword in the search field, use the “What Links Here” feature to call up related pages, or click on a category to see groups of pages. We developed this multi-layered search system because of the challenges we encountered in developing the hierarchical menu that you see on the left-hand side of the screen. We describe these challenges on the The Database Challenge page.

After considerable research, the project team selected MediaWiki software as a platform for this resource. This is the same software used by Wikipedia, although we use it differently. We discuss the technical research and our commitment to open source software on the Technical Summary page. The inspiration for this resource came from those of us who love the work of David Wojnarowicz, those of us who are concerned about conserving the art of our times for future generations, and those of us who like a good database design challenge. A primary resource for our research was the Wojnarowicz Papers in the Fales Library Downtown Collection at NYU. We also read widely about his life and his work in published resources and on various resources online.

In addition to gathering pre-existing information, we interviewed a number of people who knew and worked with Wojnarowicz. Audio files and transcripts of the interviews are on our Interviews page. Included in the resource is information about his Works, a Selected Bibliography, a directory of People with whom he worked, and information about selected Exhibitions of his work.

Knowing that users of this resource will include serious professionals and scholars, we strove to cite all of our sources and communicate ambiguities and conflicting information when we found it. We will plan to stay abreast of new resources and of old links that no longer function. Please help us by letting us know about new publications, new online resources, and broken links. This is a community effort.

Excerpt from Heads, 1984. Super 8 Color film; 1:07min. (c) Richard Kern; video clip courtesy Richard Kern
In this film by Richard Kern, Wojnarowicz can be seen in his apartment on East Fourth Street, smoking and interacting with a plaster head from his work Metamorphoses, 1984 (see more on Sculpture--Exhibited Sculpture). Many interviewees who knew Wojnarowicz spoke to project researchers about Wojnarowicz's sense of humor and love of play. We include this clip, with the permission of Richard Kern, as a testament to this quality.