Monthly Archives: September 2016

Visit to MoMA Library Nets Insights into Malloy’s Uncle Roger, Version 3.1

The version of Uncle Roger held by the Museum of Modern Art Library consists of one 5 1/4-inch floppy disk containing “A Party in Woodside” created in 1987. As Stuart and I document in Pathfinders and in the forthcoming Traversals, Version 3.2 is the version that corrected theAPIW-Disk-Label bugs in 3.1. Version 3.3 is the one that includes three floppies, each one containing one of the three episodes of Uncle Roger: “A Party in Woodside,” “The Blue Notebook,” and “Terminals.”

Version 3.1 has a white label (now yellowing), 4” x 1 ¾” in size, affixed to the top left hand side of the floppy. On the label reads:


+ + + + +     BAD         INFORMATION   + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


The typeface may be Berkelium (BSW), one commonly used for Apple II computers. The number “10” is hand-written (in Malloy’s hand), suggesting at least nine other copies of this version were produced. Because we have no definitive accounting of the number of Uncle Roger, Version 3 produced, this information is useful to know. The Museum of Modern Art Library is stamped on the left hand side of label. It is also marked in pencil “87.0203,” the library number.

APIW-Front-DiskIts sleeve differs widely from that produced for Version 3.3 we documented in Pathfinders in that rather than the entire sleeve being hand-made, only the label is. The label, 4 13/16” x 4 13/16”, is affixed to the front of the sleeve that the floppy had originally been packaged in. It is of the same paper type and texture––light copier paper––as that used for Version 3.3, so it stands out against the heavy card stock of the floppy disk’s original packaging.APIW-Back-Sleeve

The design of the label shows ‘WOODSIDE” repeated four times in each of 22 rows. Rows 1, 2, & 22 frame the label and show all the words repeated across it. However, in rows 3-21 “SIDE” in the first appearance of “WOODSIDE” and “WOOD” in the fourth are covered by a second label that Malloy had xeroxed onto the first label. On that second label she has typed “PARTY” in five columns. Evidence of the copier is seen in the light black shadow running on each side of the second label. A third label had been placed on top of the second after the 7th row, hiding three rows and three columns of “PARTY.” On this label we see:


The words are centered on that label and evidence of the copier is found in the shadow on the top, right, and bottom. The design, the word “party” in “wood” and “side” cleverly emulates the work’s title.

The xeroxing process renders the three labels into one, which is what we see here. A black border runs along its edge.

The MoMA Library’s conservator, Ben Fino-Radin, worked yesterday to provide me with the files from the disk so that I can compare them with Version 3.3. A special thank you also goes to Jenny Tobias, Librarian of Reader Services, for kindly providing me access to the many files I researched.