The idea for JUMP came from a story written in 1975 by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges called The Book of Sand. The tale describes a man who is sold a book containing infinite pages. Each time he opens the book the pages are entirely different from the last reading. Over time the book cuts him off from work and friends as he becomes obsessed by the book's random information. He eventually hides it deep in a public library.
I had attempted, whilst at the Royal College of Art in 1982, to translate this idea into another medium. I printed a book whose pages were cut into strips from left to right. When the book was opened the flaps of paper formed different configurations. But the overall effect was lost after a few encounters so I abandoned the project.
The web is a much more appropriate medium for the The Book of Sand. I created a web screen that consisted of nine blank buttons. Pressing any of the buttons would take you randomly to another screen somewhere on the web. The "back space" facility on Web browsers would allow you to return to the screen of buttons and so start another journey. These leaps would be different every time you pressed a button. Having nine buttons allows for "user choice" although, obviously, you don't have control over your destination..
Book of Sand was
first published as |
El Libro de arena
by Emece Editores, S.A. in 1975.
The Book of Sand first appeared in English in the New Yorker.
The Book of Sand. ISBN 0 7139 12014