Print Wikipedia By Michael Mandiberg
New York-based interdisciplinary artist Michael Mandiberg has for the past three years been converting the entirety of the English-language Wikipedia into print, a project which he has called “Print Wikipedia.”
Mr. Mandiberg, an interdisciplinary artist who teaches at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, describes the project as half utilitarian data visualization project, half absurdist poetic gesture.
Both a “utilitarian visualization of the largest accumulation of human knowledge and a poetic gesture towards the futility of the scale of big data,” the project involved Mandiberg writing software that would convert the online encyclopedia’s 11.5 million English entries and lay them out in a format suitable for print-on-demand services. ”
On Thursday, he and the rest of the world will find out, when the exhibition “From Aaaaa! To ZZZap!,” based on his larger project “Print Wikipedia,” opens at the Denny Gallery on the Lower East Side. There, Mr. Mandiberg will hit “start” and a computer program will begin uploading the 11 gigabytes of very compressed data from a Mac Mini to the print-on-demand website Lulu.com estimated to take two weeks.
“We don’t need to see the whole thing in order to understand how big it is,” Mr. Mandiberg said. “Even if we just have one bookshelf, our human brains can finish the rest.”
The exhibition will end when the upload is completed, marked by a celebratory party and signaled by a purchase confirmation offering to buy all 7,600 volumes for $500,000 USD.