The Art of The Copy – As Contemporary As It Gets

Posted: April 21, 2019 in Uncategorized

Of all the stupid things you are likely going to do today, I must insist that printing this PDF is not one of them. This portable document format file is anything but portable and calling it a document is, at best, a euphemism. Believe me when I say that I like printing digital artefacts on dead trees as much as the next guy, but this is one PDF that was never meant to make it to meatspace.

Unless, of course, you happen to have a burning desire to coat a square kilometer of the planet with black rectangles. In that case, you should definitely print this 2,568 page PDF.

The PDF in question was unleashed on the world in a tweet by Kenneth Goldsmith, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who teaches classes about how to waste time on the internet, founder of the avant garde repository UbuWeb, and self-described “uncreative writer.” When I spoke to Goldsmith over email, he said he was in the process of printing out the PDF.

  1. Kenzie Crowley says:

    I find this rather amusing. I would have never thought to create something like this, and it does seem like a waste to me, but it is also very interesting. I didn’t realize that a square kilometer is 5 times the size of Grand Central Station. I went to Grand Central Station and it is huge!
    I thought it was also interesting to consider the point made by the writer of the article that nothing is only on the internet and available for a day. There is always a way to find something, whether it be cached material or redistributed through other channels of communication, someone always can find a copy. That’s kind of scary to consider.

    • Well, a square kilometer certainly is a lot of paper. But I imagine we could probably discover that easily enough with a pocket calculator. Does such an insight warrant the U of U choice to fly Goldsmith out to campus and pay have a few thousand dollars to share it with us? I mean, could we get a grad student from the Math department reach and share the same conclusion of free? Is there perhaps some deeper insight Goldsmith has to offer? Or is his work not simply a waste of time and space, but also a waste of money? Simply put, how does this article relate to our assigned readings?

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