THU, JUN 25, 2015 09:00 EST
Mandiberg Transforms the World’s Largest Collection of Knowledge into Books for Print-On-Demand
Mandiberg has written software that transforms the entirety of the English Wikipedia database into thousands of print ready PDFs, complete with covers, and then uploads them for print-on-demand. This project and exhibition was produced with support from the Wikimedia Foundation and Lulu.com , as well as The Banff Centre and Eyebeam.
“Print Wikipedia is a both a utilitarian visualization of the largest accumulation of human knowledge and a poetic gesture towards the inhuman scale of big data,” said artist and professor Michael Mandiberg. “Built on what is likely the largest appropriation ever made, it is also a work of found poetry that draws attention to the sheer size of Wikipedia’s content and the impossibility of rendering the encyclopedia as a material object in fixed form: once a volume is printed it is already out of date.”
The books are microcosms of the world — amounting to 7,473 volumes of Wikipedia entries, each made up of 700 pages,totaling 5,244,111 pages of text.
Mandiberg said, “To make an intervention into a book is to critique the ordering systems of the world. If books are a reduced version of the universe, this is the most expanded version we’ve ever seen. It is also important to note that I have not printed out all of the books for this exhibition. There are 106 volumes in the exhibition, which are really helpful for visualizing the scope of the work. It isn’t necessary to print them all out: our imaginations can complete what’s missing.” You can read more of Mandiberg’s thoughts on this project in an article he wrote here .
In addition to Print Wikipedia , the gallery installation will include Wikipedia Contributor Appendix : a 36 volume index of the almost 7.5 million named contributors that made at least one edit to the countless entries included in the project.
The exhibition at Denny Gallery will be the performance of the upload of Print Wikipedia to Lulu.com , the publisher Mandiberg worked with on this project, and exhibition of a selection of volumes from the project. Print Wikipedia will represent the largest, single upload to Lulu.com and individual volumes and collections are available for purchase here: http://printwikipedia.lulu.com/.
The upload process will take around 11 days, during which time, the upload process will be on continuous view. In addition, the gallery was open around the clock through the first weekend of the exhibition, in recognition that the computer itself works continuously.
There will be two channels for watching this process: a projection of the Lulu.com web site as the software automates the browser through the upload process for each volume, and a computer monitor with the command line updates showing the dialogue between the code and the site. The script will also post to the @PrintWikipedia Twitter account after it finishes each volume.
“Wikipedia’s unprecedented collection of knowledge exists thanks to the global community of contributors who write Wikipedia,” said Luis Villa, Director of Community Engagement at the Wikimedia Foundation. “We are so pleased to see this creative representation of their work and are proud to support this project.”
Lulu.com CEO Nigel Lee echoed Villa’s support: “At Lulu.com, we enable experts from all walks of life to publish their knowledge. Michael’s unique project is just another example of how anyone can tell their story, regardless of word count, and we are thrilled to be a part of Michael’s vision. There may be no greater single body of knowledge than Wikipedia, so we’re the natural solution for Michael and his work.”
About Denny Gallery
Denny Gallery is located at 261 Broome Street in New York City. The gallery will have special hours during this exhibition, which will be posted on www.dennygallery.com . For further information about Denny Gallery, please contact Elizabeth Denny at 212-226-6537 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Artist
Michael Mandiberg is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar, and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. He received his M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts and his B.A. from Brown University. His work traces the lines of political and symbolic power online, working on the Internet in order to comment on and intercede in the real flows of information. He sold all of his possessions online on Shop Mandiberg , made perfect copies of copies on AfterSherrieLevine.com , and created Firefox plugins that highlight the real environmental costs of a global economy on TheRealCosts.com . He is co-author ofDigital Foundations and Collaborative Futures and the editor of The Social Media Reader . A recipient of residencies and commissions from Eyebeam, Rhizome.org , and Turbulence.org , his work has been exhibited at the New Museum, Ars Electronica, ZKM, and Transmediale. A former Senior Fellow at Eyebeam, he is currently Director of the New York Arts Practicum, a co-founder of the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Associate Professor at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, and a member of the Doctoral Faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work has previously been exhibited at Denny Gallery in the exhibition Share This! Appropriation After Cynicism . He has also exhibited at Postmasters Gallery, The New Museum for Contemporary Art, the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Jen Beckman Gallery, Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, and the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. His work has been written about in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Berliner Zeitung, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Hyperallergic, ARTNews, MOMUS, Flash Art and Artforum .