borges and the infinite book…

I made the image below because I was inspired by Jorge Luis Borges ‘The Book of Sand and Shakespeare’s Memory’ from the story of the same name. A Bible peddler from the Orkneys knocks on the door of a fifth-floor apartment on Calle Belgrano and persuades the occupier to buy it or rather trade it for a black-letter Wyclif bible and a week’s pension. “Summer was drawing to a close, and I realised that the book was monstrous…….I considered fire, but I feared that the burning of an infinite book might be similarly infinite, and suffocate the planet in smoke.”

thebookofallbooks

It is a very high resolution image which can up to 2 metres long at photographic quality. Here’s a tiny sample:

thebookofallbookssel

I made the old book by scanning and knitting together an antique book I have, given to me by my father. The book could be called ‘The Book of all Books containing the first four letters of every book that has ever been written, ever will be written or ever can be written.’ I wrote a computer program to generate every combination of the first four letters of our alphabet then selected some of it to include in these two pages using an old english font. The program generated over 600 pages of Word as it found combinations of even the first four letters. Every beginning is there, including the Bible and Trainspotting etc, for any writing. It is at one level a little representation of that awkward idea infinity.

huatou: all is love

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