These print editions of Wikipedia show the futility of big data and are available for purchase

From 'Aaaaa!' to 'ZZZap!'

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The Independent Culture

The internet is a desert of data on which more sand is poured every day. Its exhaustiveness is both wonderful and a triumph of humanity, but also slightly terrifying and futile.

Michael Mandiberg lays this bare in a new exhibition in which Wikipedia entries will be printed out in abundance. He'd like to print the whole thing, but there simply isn't the money or gallery space.

Entitled 'From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!' and featuring work from his Print Wikipedia series, it is 'both a utilitarian visualization of the largest accumulation of human knowledge and a poetic gesture towards the futility of the scale of big data.'

'Mandiberg has written software that parses the entirety of the English-language Wikipedia database and programmatically lays out thousands of volumes, complete with covers, and then uploads them for print-on-demand.'

A Twitter account (@PrintWikipedia) has been set up to announce each volume as it is uploaded, and the titles of each are wonderfully specific.

For instance, £57.74 buys you a 701-page volume which covers everything from '1928–29 in Palestinian football' to the '1930 Chicago Cardinals season'.

There's something poetic about the order of the instalments too, with 'Hulk (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) coming next to 'Humanitarianism in Africa'.

Mandiberg hopes to complete 7,600 volumes, though not all will be printed.

"We don't need to see the whole thing in order to understand how big it is," he told The New York Times. "Even if we just have one bookshelf, our human brains can finish the rest."

@christophhooton

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