Kenneth Goldsmith

Conceptual Artist Aims to Print the Internet

While most of the world is trying to go wireless and eliminate paper, one man wants to do the exact opposite.

Kenneth Goldsmith, an American poet and conceptual artist, has proposed a seemingly impossible feat: printing out the entire internet.

Goldsmith’s ultimate goal is an exhibition in which the printed web pages will cover a space of 500 square meters with ceilings over 6 meters high. The exhibition will run from July 26 to August 30 in Mexico City, after which the pages will suffer a fateful death by recycling.

Aaron Swartz

The project was designed as a tribute to the man who inspired it:

Aaron Swartz, an American computer programmer, writer, political organizer, internet activist and co-founder of Reddit, who hanged himself January of this year. Two years before his death, Swartz had been arrested on charges of illegally downloading academic journal articles from JSTOR, a digital library containing containing academic journals, books and current issues of journals. Swartz who, like Goldsmith, firmly believed that information should be free and available to all, had downloaded the articles with the intention of making them available to others on peer-to-peer file sharing sites.

Goldsmith’s idea is to materialize and actualize the information in order to understand and show others the magnitude of Swartz’s actions and the sheer quantity of information available literally at our fingertips.

To help him achieve his goal, Goldsmith invites all who wish to help him to donate anything “be it one sheet or a truckload.” While Goldsmith concedes that to print out the entire internet may not be realistic, he says that even a small fraction of the internet is enough to “overwhelm any space.”

Ironically,  the piece will be documented online on where all contributors of printed web pages will be credited as participating artists.

If you’re interested in becoming a contributor, send your pages to:

Francisco Ramírez #5
Col. Daniel Garza
Del. Miguel Hidalgo 11830
México D.F.

Many critics have labeled Goldsmith’s plan as pointless, stupid, lunatic and needlessly wasteful.

What is your opinion on Goldsmith’s effort to print the internet? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.

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