Print Wikipedia

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Artist Michael Mandiberg and his assistant Jonathan Kiritharan of the "Print Wikipedia" project, at the "From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!" exhibition, on the day before its opening at Denny Gallery, New York City, USA.[1]

Print Wikipedia is an art project by Michael Mandiberg that printed 106 of the 7,473 volumes of English Wikipedia as it existed on April 7, 2015 and also included wallpaper displaying 1,980 additional volumes.[1][2] A 36-volume index of all of the 7.5 million contributors to English Wikipedia is also part of the project. The table of contents takes up 91 700-page volumes.[3] The printed volume only includes text of the articles. Images and references are not included.[4] The project was shown at Denny Gallery in New York City in the summer of 2015.[5]

Wikipedia page from Contributor Appendix (detail)

Mandiberg originally thought of the project in 2009 but ran into technical difficulties. He then engaged an assistant, Jonathan Kirinathan, to aid with the programming of the code to compile, format and upload an entire English Wikipedia download.[1] The print files were uploaded to self book publisher Lulu.com and are available for printout as paper volumes.

Mandiberg's motivation was to answer the question, "How big is it?" For a big data entity, its size is on the threshold of what can be perceived as a collection of volumes, but not so large as to overwhelm one's senses, such as the data files of Facebook or the NSA.[6] Katherine Maher, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, has described it as "a gesture at knowledge". Wikimedia has cooperated with the project and Lulu.com has helped fund it.[3]

The task took three years, and the upload process took 24 days, 3 hours and 18 minutes. It was completed on 12 July 2015.[7] PediaPress had attempted to raise money for a full English Wikipedia print out on Indiegogo in 2014, but the project was pulled.[8] Mandiberg estimates that the printing costs of a full printout are around $500,000. The Denny art exhibit featured only a selection of actually printed volumes with about 2000 of the other volumes represented as spines on the wall. The show revolved around the actual upload of the print files to Lulu.com.[5]

Michael Mandiberg talks about Print Wikipedia

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