The Aging E-Book

A computer program by: Alexandra Gilwit

Artist Statement

The medium of The Internet within the larger realm of reality is a comparatively ageless milieu. It does not hold the same character of aging that humanity has become accustomed to in the real world. Take an e-book, for example, the pages of an e-book do not yellow and the ink does not fade like a real book would. This is significant because it is precisely these aging cues that remind us of the value of something, since it will have a lifespan and eventually turn to dust. We, ourselves, have this same lifespan, and are therefore unconsciously tied into this process. However, in the reality suggested to us by The Internet, there are none of these aging cues. The quality of time that is offered in The Internet is a persistent "ever-presence," best compared to the looping gif. Boris Groys says it perfectly in his paper, "Comrades of Time," when he likens The Internet to the repetitive and unproductive existence of Camus' Sisyphus.

The point of this piece is to impose the aging process of reality on the digitally rendered e-book. I designed a computer program that will digitally "age" the webpage by one degree. After extended use (by refreshing the webpage) the user will begin to notice the background color of the page yellow, as the color of the font fades to that same shade of yellow. Additionally 1% of the letters in the entire book will change location with the same degree of aging. Basically the document is digitally decomposing until, after a certain number of refreshes, it will be completely destroyed and impossible to read. In this way, the e-book will embody the linearity of time so as to mirror the very real aging process that we see before us everyday.

Work Cited

Groys, Boris. "Comrades of Time." e-flux journal #11 - December 2009. December 12, 2013. Web.

Special Thanks to Dale MacDonald and Christiane Paul