Collection of Works Affected by "the Lability of the Device"

Research Collection
Collection curated by: 

...or: "Collection of Mutant Electronic Literature".
"Mutant" should not be understood in a pejorative sense, but point to the mutation process works of electronic literature undergo when created in particular platforms that are subject to technological change that affect the "original" state a work was coded in.
Paraphrasing Merriam Webster's definition of the term, mutation in electronic literature addresses "a relatively permanent change in hereditary material" expressed by a "significant and basic alteration" in the physical appearance and inner workings of a work.
(As I am writing this, my understanding of what I mean might mutate as I am at the beginning of unfolding this thought, using this space you are reading in as transcript).

Even though a collection on works that are "affected by the lability of the electronic device" seems redundant because all works of electronic literature potentially may be affected, the collection was established from the identified need for documenting the ways a work is affected. Granted, this bears a dilemma concerning the point of reference when taking into account what Bootz et al. (2009) understand as the impossibility in identifying the original state of a work due to a so-called "procedural transformation" (Bootz 2003) that takes place when works are executed on hardware different from the author's used in the work's making.

This collection takes its staring point in the theory on "the lability of the device" put forward by Philippe Bootz and Alexandra Saemmer. It takes works into consideration that do no longer work properly due to platform change, or other "technological progresses". The collection creates an awareness for works that are affected by the technical shifts and thereby no longer presented in its "original" state of conception. Works referenced in this collection should be of interest to anyone writing about a particular work, especially when tackled from a hermeneutical perspective.

As any collection in this database, this collection too should be understood as a call to the community to share knowledge about works that do not longer display and execute its original codebase. It is hard to know if a work appears the way it was conceptualized and Bootz warns: "Technical lability often goes unnoticed by the reader because the program generally operates in a perfectly logical and reproducible way" (Signs and Apparatus 274). A look at and understanding of the code can be helpful if it is accessible and ideally (but rarely) commented upon (Montfort and Strickland's "Sea and Spar Between" in this respect is exeptional.

At the same time, the collection should create an awareness for not taking a work as it appears on the screen today for granted, for what you see today might not be what you were supposed to see yesterday.

As an endeavour of the community, documentation of changes should be noted in "Pull Quotes" (if derived from critical writings), or in the field provided for technical notes of individual works. These notes should provide a paratext to the original state of a work that nowadays is technically mis-represented and thus a "victim" of the electronic device's lability. A relevant project that reacts to the device's lability (which often is based on progess) is Leonardo Flores critical edition of Jim Andrews' Arteroids.

Along with works characteristic for unintentional obsolescence, the collection also welcomes works that are characteristic for "planned obsolescence", such as Eugenio Tisseli's "degenerative". (This thought is still under development)

Critical writing devoted to creative works related to this collection, as well as articles devoted to the overall topic such as the "lability of the device" and technical obsolescence are included in this collection, thereby creating a bibliography related to the overall theme that includes strategies for preservation, archiving, indexing, and documentation.

Contributions and references as well as suggestions for developing the theoretical background for this collection is welcomed.

Critical Writing:

Titlesort descending Author Year
Acid-Free Bits: Recommendations for Long-Lasting Electronic Literature Nick Montfort, Noah Wardrip-Fruin 2004
Aesthetics of Surface, Ephemeral and Re-Enchantment in Digital Literature: How Authors and Readers Deal with the Lability of the Electronic Device Alexandra Saemmer 2009
Alire: A Relentless Literary Investigation (Digithum) Philippe Bootz 2002
Born-Again Bits: A Framework for Migrating Electronic Literature Alan Liu, David Durand, Nick Montfort, Merilee Profit, Liam R. E. Quin, Jean-Hugues Réty, Noah Wardrip-Fruin 2005
E-literature and the Un-coded Model of Meaning: Towards an Ordinary Digital Philosophy Mauro Carassai 2012
Entity/Identity: A Tool Designed to Index Documents about Digital Poetry Philippe Bootz, Samuel Szoniecky, Abderrahim Bargaoui 2009
Ephemeral passages—La Série des U and Passage by Philippe Bootz: A close reading Alexandra Saemmer 2009
Ex-foliations: Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path Terry Harpold 2008
Hardening Arteroids: Challenges in Creating a Critical Edition of a Born-Digital Work Leonardo L. Flores 2012
Mutability, Medium and Character Dene Grigar 2002
Preservation of Digital Literary Works: Another Model of Memory? Serge Bouchardon, Bruno Bachimont 2009
Preservation of Digital Literature: From Stored to Reinvented Memory Serge Bouchardon, Bruno Bachimont 2013
Signs and Apparatus in Digital Poetry: The Example of Jean-Marie Dutey’s le mange-texte Philippe Bootz 2012
Was bedeutet: Online lesen? Über die Möglichkeit des Archivs im Cyberspace Michel Chaouli 2001
What Does is Mean to Read Online Michel Chaouli 2009
Writing the Ephemeral […] and Re-Enchanting the Remnants: The Lability of the Digital Device in Literary Practice Alexandra Saemmer 2011
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Patricia Tomaszek