Abstract: Digital objects are marked by a limited set of variable yet generic attributes such as editability, interactivity, openness and distributedness. As digital objects diffuse throughout the institutional fabric, these attributes and the information–based operations and procedures out of which they are sustained install themselves at the heart of social practice. The entities and processes that constitute the stuff of social practice are thereby rendered increasingly unstable and transfigurable, producing a context of experience in which the certainties of recurring and recognizable objects are on the wane. These claims are supported with reference to 1) the elusive identity of digital documents and the problems of authentication/preservation of records such an identity posits and 2) the operations of search engines and the effects digital search has on the content of the documents it retrieves.
Sebastian Chan, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australia, Aaron Cope, Mapzen. In this paper, Aaron Cope and Seb Chan deconstruct their acquisition of code and ‘living software’ for the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian’s design museum and explore its implications for the future of collecting and conserving ‘living’ systems.