A Wikipedia Reader


Picture 3





Picture 2



Above, from top: Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC; “Abracadabra” definition from Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, available as full text on Google Books; paperboard templates by Karl Nawrot; illustration of tally sticks; mnemonic device for remembering Morse Code; results of research on chess players and memory chunking (click image to enlarge); numbers 1-40 constructed from the equivalent number of matchsticks by Julia Born; afterimage of black dots on a grid; the Hering Illusion applied to a circle.

The second Wikipedia Reader was created by ASDF (aka Mylinh and David) who kindly asked me to participate. I was honored, having been a huge fan of the first Wikipedia Reader after picking it up at the New Museum bookshop. Other contributors included curator Laurel Ptak, artist Amy Yao, designers and friends Ryan Waller and Dexter Sinister, and many more.

David’s introduction to the first Wikipedia Reader explains the project:

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 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.

In order, my selections were: Kilroy was here; Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable; Roman numerals; tally sticks; mnemonic; The Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two; subitizing and counting; afterimages; and Ewald Hering.


The second Wikipedia Reader was commissioned by the Art Libraries Society of New York for the Contemporary Artists Books Conference at Printed Matter’s 2009 NY Art Book Fair and organized by David Senior at the MoMA Library. Download here [PDF].