Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Mark Ditto Mark

by A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz & Lucas Miller

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz & Lucas Miller

Appropriation and remix are central components of Internet culture. Every day, communities of users playfully augment, manipulate, and share what they find online. But while most users seem comfortable changing the content of a webpage, comparatively few ever consider altering their web browsers. Instead, people commonly refer to an active browser as a "window," as if it provides them a fixed view of an exterior world—one behind glass, one they cannot touch—instead of merely offering an interpretation of data. In our recent work, we have attempted to reframe the browser window itself as a critical and artistic vantage point through which users can see their views of the Internet manipulated and changed before their eyes. Our projects have drawn inspiration from conventional browser extensions, such as Adblock Plus and Disconnect, as well as from artistic browser extensions like Theo Watson's fantastic "Mittens Romney" project. By automatically injecting JavaScript into each webpage, browser extensions can rewrite the narrative of the entire Internet while still preserving its underlying information.

"Mark Ditto Mark" is a browser extension as conceptual novel, which transforms the Internet into an enormous, sprawling story about someone named Mark Ditto. It is also a filmy window onto a world where people have become punctuation marks.

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz and Lucas Miller are members of the game design collective, RUST LTD (http://rustltd.com/). Their collaborative literary work has recently appeared in Oxford Magazine and The New River and was exhibited at the 2012 Electronic Literature Organization Conference, the 2013 Modern Language Association Convention, and the 2013 Electronic Literature Showcase at the Library of Congress.