San Francisco conceptual artist and journalist Jonathon Keats is trying to rejuvenate literature in the age of hyperspeed media by writing a story that will take a millennium to tell.
The catch? The story, printed on the cover of the recently released Infinity issue of Opium Magazine, is only nine words long.
“I’m interested in exploring deep time,” the thought experimentalist and Wired contributor explained in an e-mail to Wired.com during a visit to Europe, where he is probably concocting a scheme to wormhole Paris or something.
“That may be fine for reading the average blog,” he said, “but something essential is lost when ingesting words is all about speed. My thousand-year story is an antidote. Given the printing process I’ve used, you can’t take in more than one word per century. That’s even slower than reading Proust.”
The printing process in question is a simple but, as usual with Keats, pretty clever idea. The cover is printed in a double layer of standard black ink, with an incrementally screened overlay masking the nine words. Exposed over time to ultraviolet light, the words will be appear at different rates, supposedly one per century.