One artist is attempting to do the impossible: print out the entire internet.
Kenneth Goldsmith, an avant-garde technology artist known for his off-the-wall schemes, is asking for internet users everywhere to print out pieces of the internet and send to him, so he can fill a 500 square meter space in Mexico City — all before July 26th.
The feat, though he acknowledges is impossible, is an interesting one, intending to conceptualize the sheer magnitude of information available over the internet, in printed form.
The art project, Goldsmith says, is in honor of Aaron Swartz who committed suicide earlier this year. Swartz was one of the founders of Reddit and an advocate of free information. He was accused of illegally downloading much of the JSTOR archive of academic articles, which has spawned a great debate about free information and information availability online.
“The amount of what he liberated was enormous -- we can't begin to understand the magnitude of his action until we begin to materialize and actualize it,” Goldsmith said to Yahoo! via email. “This project tries to bring that point home.”
Goldsmith, who is currently the Museum of Modern Art’s first poet laureate, is known for his different and quirky ideas. He is also the founding editor of UbuWeb, where avant-garde creativity is archived, and has penned various works such as Day, which was a reiteration of one New York Times newspaper, Solilquy, and Seven American Deaths and Disasters, which is republished transcripts from media articles or reports on 9/11 and other tragedies.
“While we could theorize printing out the internet in its entirety -- something that a conceptual art piece would do -- the sheer bulk and physicality of the act needs to be materialized to be able to understand the sheer magnitude,” Goldsmith said.