E-book backup, successfully storing digital books


Print has intrinsic archival qualities, being, as with other static media, a portrait of content frozen in space and time. E-publishing is exactly the opposite: its ephemeral digital structure (which has to be interpreted and executed by a machine every time) leaves a lot of room for uncertainty. Jesse England’s work “E-book backup” is an artists’ book containing the whole text of George Orwell’s “1984,” whose every page also hosts a photocopied picture of the same page displayed on an Amazon Kindle, explicitly referring to the controversial 2009 incident when “Kindle users found their copy of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm had been removed from their Kindles without their prior knowledge or consent.” The publisher didn’t have the rights and Amazon later reinstated the copies and promised never to repeat such an event in the future. If “backup” can be hesitantly assimilated in contemporaneity to “archive”, this work uses common sense roughness to address textual media’s weakness in the digital domain.