Once "The Bubble Bath" was the home of "shark75," a little fictional virus. Though totally harmless, "shark75" did what a lot of malicious scripts and real viruses were doing as well, i.e. using the incredible scripting liberties given by Internet Explorer version 5 for Windows98. No wonder these liberties have been taken away in the meantime. That's why "The Bubble Bath" has become a digital ruin. As such, it is also an experiment. Do visitors of digital ruins experience similar romantic feelings as they do in real ruins? I would be happy to learn about this. Of course little signs here and there informing the reader about digital weathering could be useful. But these signs could soon be weathered themselves and call for new signs informing about the weathering of signs. And so on.
Some details about the digital weathering of "The Bubble Bath"
by the Berkenheger Redevelopment Office for Netliterature
Name: The Bubble Bath
Year of Construction: 2005
Size: 2 x 259 Html-Pages
Status: semi-reconstructed in 2006
Object Description (Before the Redevelopment):
At our first inspection the object "The Bubble Bath" showed two serious signs of decline.
1) New security features don't like little windows being placed outside the screen. If they detect any of them (and The Bubble Bath has a lot of them), they throw them in an uncontrolled way at the visitors (i.e. somewhere on the screen). There, the little windows hide important text and links that would help visitors to understand something and to go further. In order to do so, visitors have to move the windows by hand. If not, they find themself stucked and helpless. 2) The redevelopment team met a lot of large unicolor windows in a similar status of vast weathering. Once defined to be larger than the screen, new security features displayed them astonishingly small. Visitors could see confusing links. If activated, they led to even more confusing events never supposed to happen by the author.
Unfortunately, the redevelopment team didn't find a really convincing solution. After all, the shrunken larger-than-screen windows were brought up again to a fullscreen size by fiddly handicraft pixel work. Thanks to that, visitors are now prevented from going false, at least sometimes. But the first problem -- this unconvenient habit of the newer browsers to throw all little Bubble Bath windows in an uncontrolled way on the screen -- could not be solved yet. Various tests with different browser versions and platforms should be done to get a more detailed analysis of the situation. But the redelevopment team has no order to do this. Confronted with the team's unfavourite forecast, the author got down in the dumbs. In the end the team suggested to the author: "Keep alive your old wheezing notebook as long as possible. We admit that on this "The Bubble Bath" looks still as splendid as in its first days."
Please find more reference projects of the Berkenheger Redevelopment Office and even more interesting stuff: Florian Hartling/Beat Suter, Archiving Electronic Literature and Poetry: Problems, Tendencies, Perspectives (2010). On 300 pages theorists, artists, authors, and archivars report on how they face the fast digital tumbling-down of net literature.
Susanne Berkenheger, 2011