What is Orwell’s 1984 really worth?

£58318.14 to be precise. In theory anyway… to Google.

1984endI’ve been playing around with running longer texts through {poem}.py and eventually managed to process (and price) the whole of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. I use the idea of Newspeak in my critique of Google’s monetisation of language, so I thought it made sense to use the book for this particular experiment.

The book took 7 minutes and nearly a whole till roll to print. I find it quite mesmerising to watch, so I filmed it. The end/climax is almost balletic. You can watch here:

I’ll be doing some live demos over the next couple of weeks – first as part of the Museum of Contemporary Commodities session at the RGS-IBG on Friday 1st September, then as part of the Inter/sections exhibition at Mile End Arts Pavilion from 3-8th September, where I will be showing a framed collection of the poem.py receipts for the very first time. Finally, on 2nd October, I’ll be presenting alongside the brilliant Louise Amoore and Pip Willcox at the Testing Turing event at the British Library in London. Exciting times!


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