The Internet (as a Pen-and-Pencil Drawing)

By Megan Garber

You could see it as an amalgamation of lights, studded across the surface of the Earth. Or as an explosion of nodes, rendered in exquisite pastels. Or as fiberoptic cables, arranged in neat rows under the surfaces of the world's oceans. 

But none of those is the actual Internet, the collection of knowledge and emotion and philosophy and cats that allows you to read these words right now. Nor is, technically, "Internetopia," the artist Benjamin Redford's detailed drawing of the Internet. Earlier this year, Redford launched a Kickstarter campaign asking people to suggest elements for a massive, Where's Waldo-style rendering of the Internet and its wares. His proposal? A black-and-white drawing, etched in pencil and pen. The work overall, he said, would be broken down into cubes, each one financed by individual donations, and each one inspired by suggestions from the crowd. 

Redford ended up with a drawing that consists of 3,012 cubes, pledged for by a total of 220 people. It took him months—"three months of solid drawing," as he puts it—to complete. The rendering spans more than six feet in length, and nearly five feet in height. It depicts superheroes and houses and balloons. And one naked man, because Internet. (But, Redford notes, "only two penises.") Hidden inside the drawing is also, appropriately enough, Waldo.  

There are also dogs and cats and frogs and, in one case, a very large shark. This is the Internet, after all. As Redford put it: "A very high percentage of requests involved animals in some way, shape or form." 

Benjamin Redford

 

Benjamin Redford

 

Benjamin Redford

 


 Via The Huffington Post

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/the-internet-as-a-pen-and-pencil-drawing/372420/