Bit Rot is a term that describes the degeneration of digital software over time. The phrase has been borrowed by the artist and writer Douglas Coupland for his collection of short stories and essays that accompanied his first major solo exhibition in Europe.
The publication, designed by London-based graphic design studio A Practice for Everyday Life (Apfel), is evocative of early computer bit fonts and displays. “The pages have small top and bottom margins and short breaks between new stories, so that the text feels like a continuous feed” says Apfel. “This is to give the feeling of the information overload of modern technology and how we encounter text on screen.
Inspired by Coupland’s writing, the designers introduced the theme of data errors by interrupting the text with changes in paper stock and typeface glitches – the text flits between Regular and Times New Roman. “[We were inspired by] content in Coupland’s writing. In particular, in a fictional app he conceives called An App Called Yoo in which he creates a new and unique visual material based on all the (meta-)data individuals generate throughout their lives,” says Apfel. “If the Yoo app – in essence a mind mapping tool – were to produce an exhibition, Bit Rot is what it might look like.”
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