About A Wikipedia Reader
For this project I asked artists with varying interests to create a thread of linking Wikipedia articles starting with something they found interest in, and continuing to other topics from links within the page. The results are a group of similar or dissimilar topics that are all linked together linearly.
There were two initial purposes in this project. The first was to create a small game that explored surfing through information using keywords. I wanted to explore how within a digital system categories of knowledge have become almost irrelevant in accessing the information they once contained. The Siege of Paris is no longer confined under World History, France, Franco-German or Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871 (DC281-326.5), as it is in the Library of Congress. It is just as much a part of French History as it is in the story of the elephants Castor and Pollux, the Paris Commune, things that happened September 19, 1870, and balloon mail lore. And it is just as immediately accessible from any of these places, as well as the possibility of ending up in a multitude of other diverse places. Instead of topics organized and accessed by a tree model going from larger branches to smaller ones (World History, French History, etc...), I picture a new model where there are no branches, but a pile of scattered leaves where one leaf overlaps many other leaves. Everything is interrelated. It always has been.
The second purpose of this project is to present a list of ideas that reflect the interests of each artist. Ideally, one could be able to use these articles as supplementary to understanding the artist's practice and work. The exception is with those who chose to use this opportunity to perform a conceptual game about the task itself (like with Brendan Fowler's contribution).
Because of the nature of Wikipedia, many of these articles have been updated since the artists did their initial search. Some of these may even no longer be linked together. And, some may contain errors (grammatical, factual, etc...).
I did my own search. I found my way from boredom to balloon mail. In real situation a few years ago in Los Angeles, I found myself a little bored and wandering through a bookstore one-night. I came across a title that caught my attention: Here is Where We Meet. It was a newly released book by John Berger. I opened the book and found a description of trapped Parisians sending distant loved ones letters by unguided balloons. That was the first time I got to balloon mail from boredom.
- David Horvitz, February 2008.