Printing out the Internet


Kenneth Goldsmith




Printing out the Internet is a work of art created by poet and writer, Kenneth Goldsmith, with the help of LABOR and UbuWeb. In May 2013, Goldsmith asked for people to print out pages from the Internet and send it to an art gallery, LABOR in Mexico City, over “Printing out the Internet” Tumblr for an exhibition from 26 July to 30 August 2013. Goldsmith dedicated a 500 square meter space with a six meter tall ceiling to the exhibit, which was filled with ten tons of paper during the exhibit. Aaron Swartz, a programmer and Internet activist, inspired the project in his movement to liberate information, making academic files available in the public domain for free. The exhibit was controversial due to the environmental impact entailed with printing out the Internet and the copyrighted materials included in the exhibit. (from Wikipedia)

Artist's Statement

On May 22, 2013, Kenneth Goldsmith launched a call to print the entire internet. The result is Printing Out ​​The Internet, a collaborative art piece that became a platform for discussion with passionate reactions, both in favor and against the homage to Aaron Swartz that with this action the poet sought to make. The apparent impossibility of the project is just an excuse for Goldsmith, who proposes in this exhibition 'an imaginary solution to an imaginary problem', as well as a commentary about the free flow of information, an issue he has developed in his writing and an urgent topic for discussion in contemporary culture that is reiterated by Swartz's suicide. Printing Out ​​The Internet is a detonator, an open stage that welcomes dispute, contradiction and poetry, a space that will house discussions, workshops, screenings and the marathon reading of the internet for a month.


On January 6, 2011, programmer and activist Aaron Swartz was arrested by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police on state breaking-and-entering charges, after connecting a computer to the MIT network in an unmarked and unlocked closet and setting it to download academic journal articles systematically from JSTOR using a guest user account issued to him by MIT. Federal prosecutors, led by Carmen Ortiz, later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release. Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. Two days after the prosecution rejected a counter-offer by Swartz, he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment.


Letter, Installation

Related Article

‘Printing Out the Internet’ Exhibit Is Crowdsourced Work of Art” by Dan Zak, The Washington Post, July 26, 2013.


Printing out the Internet at LABOR (Mexico city). May 2013. URL:


access, appropriation, authorship, collection, offline, reading