Commissioned for the official Wikipedia 10th Anniversary party, this temporary installation was designed to illustrate the immense traffic that the site attracts, as well as the vast amount of resources that go into its upkeep.
As you’re reading this, people all over the world are contributing to the more than 5 million articles that currently exist on Wikipedia. But as with all unfathomably large numbers its difficult to adequately convey the overwhelming scale of this data repository. However turning numbers into physical, tangible forms can help make them much easier to digest, thus presenting a much more evocative way of looking at data.
Eighteen thermal receipt printers were suspended four meters above the heads of the party guests. Custom software fetched global page edits in real time and fed them to the printers. A brief synopsis of the edit was created, including the page name, user name of the person (or bot) who made the change, the time and the first few lines of the page body text. These receipts gently fell to the ground, building up until the floor was covered with information, creating a physical record of every change made to Wikipedia in the time the event was running.