"Agrippa - A Book of The Dead" (1992) by William Gibson is a dual-unit artwork that destroys itself after while reading.

William Gibson wrote the poem Agrippa - A Book of The Dead about his dead father and his relationship towards him. It consists of childhood memories and thoughts about his fathers photo album with the title 'Agrippa' (a model of Eastman Kodak), and therefore is not science fiction or cyberpunk.

Agrippa is a dual-unit artwork, a self-erasing floppy disk and a book written on ink erasing itself with light exposure. It was released on a limited edition encrypted diskette that erased itself page by page as you read. The book itself contained artwork by Dennis Ashbrough, a painter from New York, related to the content of the poem (such as advertising posters from the 1920s). It was made using a special ink that disappeared after prolonged exposure to light.

All the pages are filled with lines of genetic code that are actually an encoding of the novel. On December 9, 1992, Agrippa was made available to the public for one day, at museums across America, through the internet.
The (supposedly unhackable) poem text was soon cracked and put on various internet sites.

Agrippa was designed by artist Dennis Ashbaugh and published by Kevin Begos.


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