Grants:TPS/Theredproject/Print Wikipedia DE

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This Wikimedia Participation Support request was funded in the fiscal year 2014-15. A report is available.

Print Wikipedia DE
summaryTravel to Berlin to execute an exhibition of the German version of Print Wikipedia at Import Projects. Print Wikipedia is a multi-modal digital project wherein I create a print version of the ubiquitous online encyclopedia we write.
event locationBerlin, Germany
event date(s)May 17-June 5
amount requestedUSD 5408 1950 USD Partial approval for flight
home countryUSA
submitted on13:06, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

Proposed participation[edit]

I am applying for funding to travel to Berlin to execute an exhibition of the German version of Print Wikipedia at Import Projects, a non-profit art gallery in Berlin. The exhibition opens on May 28th, and will run through July 4; the upload will take place over the first 8-10 days (May 28 - June 5) Print Wikipedia is a multi-modal digital project wherein I create a print version of the ubiquitous online encyclopedia we write. For more on Print Wikipedia, please see the short video below.

Production Information and Timeline[edit]

After 6 years of work, I premiered Print Wikipedia in Summer 2015 at Denny Gallery NYC. I installed a version of the work at Arizona State University this winter. For this Berlin exhibition I will create a German version, based on the German language Wikipedia. Making language versions is one of my long-term goals for the project, and German is the ideal language to begin with, given its place in the history of printed books and the ensuing enlightenment, as well as the robustness of the de wiki

Scale considerations: Wikipedia in other languages are smaller than English, but are still very large. The German corpus is about 40% the size of the English version. I am basing all my time estimates off of 40% of the en wiki times, which were 2 weeks of fabrication and install time, and 3 1/2 weeks of upload supported by two people. This is a reasonable, but potentially variable assumption. As such, this request is for a 2 1/2 week trip for two people.

Pre-upload (August 2015-May 15, 2016): Over the last 6 months I have rewritten sections of the code to improve stability, and performance, based off of observations from the en wiki upload. At present, I am testing the code with the German corpus, and working through several bugs specific to the technocultural practices of de wiki, and several bugs with the EU supply chain. Both of these will be resolved in the next 2-3 weeks, allowing for enough time to download the [most recent de wiki dump] and begin the long process of creating the files for upload. For en wiki it took about 6 weeks (2 of which could be reduced in a second go round).

Installation (May 17-May 28): The exhibition consists of custom wallpaper, a set of books, and a durational performance of the upload process. The wallpaper files have to be sized, created, printed, and installed on site. As well, the computer upload needs to be set up and tested on site. I expect this full version to take 16 person-days to fabricate and install with two people present. I base this estimate off of my February experience installing a reduced version of Print Wikipedia at Arizona State University in a joint project between the Art Museum and Library. This exhibition was only the wallpaper and books (as the English version had already been uploaded in 2015) and was supported by integrated on-site production facilities. The ASU show took 8 continuous 16 hour workdays; I expect the data upload to extend the work by 4 days. I need to work less hours per day, as 11 days of 16 hour days is not sustainable. Hence 16 days. This will be divided between myself and my programming assistant Jonathan Kiritharan. I will arrive 10 workdays before the May 28 opening, and Jonathan will arrive 6 days before the opening.

Upload (May 28-June 5): The English version took 3 1/2 weeks to upload (running 24 hours a day), plus about 2 weeks of clean up work. The upload needs to be attended to by Jonathan and myself: during the en wiki upload the code typically crashed every 2 to 6 hours, as there is a hiccup with the process. Restarting is relatively simple, but beyond what we would ask of a gallery attendant or curator. Furthermore, the Import Projects is typically only open four days a week, but during the upload we (Jonathan and I) will keep the gallery open every day during business hours. In NYC we kept the gallery open 24 hours for the first weekend, which made a lot of sense given that it was in a storefront in the Lower East Side, a high foot traffic late-night neighborhood; in Berlin it doesn't make sense to do that as it is second floor in a low foot traffic neighborhood, but it is important to have it open each day.

Events: During this week, we will have three different public events

  1. A traditional art opening on May 27th
  2. A Wikipedian focused walkthrough and discussion on May 31st
  3. A public conversation about the work with the curators on June 2nd.

Goal and expected impact[edit]

Michael Mandiberg talks about Print Wikipedia
Wikipedia page from Contributor Appendix (detail)
Artist Michael Mandiberg and his assistant Jonathan Kiritharan of the "Print Wikipedia" project, at the "From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!" exhibition, on the day before its opening at Denny Gallery, New York City, USA.
  1. Visualization: As a result of this exhibition of Print Wikipedia with its Contributors Appendix, the WIkipedia community, and the world at large will have a concrete understanding of just how big the German Wikipedia and how big the community is in concrete terms.
  2. Attendance: 500-1000 people will see the work in person during its exhibition (125 at each opening, plus 10-20 people per day for the duration)
  3. Media impact: It is likely that millions will see it via its media impact. In the 2015 this project demonstrated enormous media impact, with nearly 200 articles in over 30 countries, including some really high-impact venues (New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Artforum, ARTnews, and others). The WMF press team believes that the 2015 press reached 10M people; while I don't expect the same intense level of coverage, it will still be substantial. And while the direct goal of the project is to create this physical installation with its virtual counterpart, the very widespread reach of this coverage will undoubtedly spread the idea of editing Wikipedia to people who will begin editing. This project is unique in that it exists at the nexus of three very different areas: technology, art, and knowledge. It provides an entry point for various community members and, in doing so, creates bridges between communities that might not otherwise meet or collaborate.
  4. Editor Enrichment and Retention: Jonathan and I were in the gallery most of the 3 1/2 weeks of the NYC exhibition, and each had dozens of conversations with Wikipedians who came in to see the show. I knew the Wikipedians because they all went up to the Contributor Appendix and methodically searched for their username, and each of them found it. I met dozens of active Wikipedians who never attended WM NYC events, but felt the pull to visit. Some came from afar. en:User:Nowa came from Connecticut, en:User:HaeB stopped by on a layover on their way to Europe and en:User:Jimbo Wales visited from London. These points of contact and enrichment necessarily help with editor retention.
  5. Art+Feminism outreach: My presence and outreach for this exhibition will enable us to make connections with the local German Wikipedia community, which, as a lead co-organizer of Art+Feminism, we have had trouble reaching.

Budget breakdown[edit]

Provide a detailed breakdown of your funding needs here. Please specify the currency for all amounts. For example:

  • Travel: USD 1950
  • Accommodation: USD 2138
  • Food per diem: USD 1320
  • Total: USD 5408


  • Travel for two persons (round trip airfare from NYC to Berlin), includes 2 bags checked on the first trip, and 1 bag on the way back (the extra bag is materials for exhibition)
  • Accommodation (week 1): One person, USD 60 per night x 5 + 8% AirBnb service charge = 324
  • Accommodation (week 2+3): Two people, USD 120 per night x 14 nights + 8% AirBnb service charge = USD 1814
  • Food per diem: $40/day per person x 33 person-days = 1320

Other instructions[edit]

  • Would you like us to book flights or hotel for you? If so, please let us know here!


  • Do you need advance disbursement? If so, please let us know here, and make sure you are submitting this request at least 1 month before the event.

If possible, yes, but it isn't mission critical.

Confirmation of Venue[edit]

Please see this letter of invitation for confirmation of the support from the venue.