Printing out the Internet by Kenneth Goldsmith is part of the exhibition “Print error / publishing in the digital age” proposed by Alessandro Ludovico, for the Jeu de Paume virtual space.
Kenneth Goldsmith is a renown poet, but probably he’s mostly known for being a founding editor of the fabulous digital archive « UbuWeb », and also knowledgeable about other contemporary writer’s experiments in computing and literature. Printing out the Internet seems then to link all of those activities with a resounding call: asking people to print out what they want from the Internet and then sharing it in a gallery space (LABOR in Mexico City). This ‘crowdsourced work of art’ was indeed a provocative one: a few tons of paper were delivered, a reading marathon started (“reading the entire internet”) and a few controversial reactions from press and people were triggered, like a spontaneous online petition asking him to stop it for environment’s sake with quite a few harsh personal reactions. But the work is telling a lot in a different direction: making the transitory permanent and available. The fugacious web pages, texts and interfaces are then impressed and enjoyed as old photocopies and an instant and free library slowly arises in a gallery’s room thanks to spontaneous personal commitment. Clearly inspired by Aaron Swartz and his brave and dangerous liberation of copyrighted scientific content from the JSTOR online archive, this work gives back to print its disruptive potential.
Born in 1961 in New York, where he lives. A poet and teacher, Kenneth Goldsmith created the Ubuweb site in 1996. He collected sounds, texts and videos from western avant-garde artistic movements. From 1995 to 2010 he presented a radio programme on WFMU that was an extension of his experimental writing. By developing the concept of creative uncreativity (Uncreativity as Creative Practice), Goldsmith established himself as an important figure in contemporary American poetry.
In parallel with his poetic writings, he published I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews (2004), as well as an essay on conceptual poetry, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in a Digital Age (2011), and a book on experimental music, A Popular Guide to Unpopular Music.