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In vivo, in silico: Ark Codex ± 0 and the vital forms of bookwork

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This article examines a central aspect of bookishness in the digital age, wherein the coexistence of paper codices along with their electronic counterparts fosters the interaction of life and code, as code is the inscription of life, and life the instantiation of code. Ark Codex ± 0 exemplifies this feedback loop. Ark Codex ± 0 traces the development of biological organisms through scientific notation, language and math, all while illustrating a bloody collage of the biblical myth. The Calamari Press, its vanity publisher, situates itself as a codex-maker in a time of digital production by privileging the book form over the digital file, while simultaneously fostering a print culture through digital paratexts, such as videos of the production process, on its website. While you can purchase the book for $40 on the Calamari site, a pdf of Ark Codex ± 0 is also offered at a ‘pay what you want rate’. Ark Codex ± 0 is a remix with multiple channels of distribution, a text you encounter in multiple ways. This article argues that the new environment of print culture elicits not only the act of reading, but an embodied encounter with the text both in vivo and in silico, the vital forms of bookwork in the digital age.
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Keywords: code; cybernetics; materiality; print culture; remix

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California, Santa Barbara

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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  • Book 2.0 is a new, interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal which aims to publish articles and reviews on developments in book creation and design, (including the latest progressions in technology and software affecting illustration, design and book production). It will also explore innovations in distribution, marketing and sales, and book consumption, and in the research, analysis and conservation of book-related professional practices. Book 2.0 aims to provide a forum for promoting and sharing the most original and progressive practice in the teaching of writing, illustration, book design and production, and publishing across all educational sectors.
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