The Passed Words Project
An Interactive Social Experiment About How Information Travels Through Physical Networks (www.thepassedwordsproject.com)
As lover of books and an avid reader, I am often talking about, recommending, and sharing books with friends, family, colleagues, and coworkers. Over the years, I’ve purchased books for multiple people and shipped them across the globe for others to enjoy. Being able to share information, stories, and experiences with people is an incredible feeling . . . and that’s what spawned the idea for The Passed Words Project:
Born from a simple premise: If we asked people to share information with the world and we asked the world to share that information with us, what would it look like?
A small spark of an idea quickly became a passion project into how we can visualize the social transfer of information in the real world.
Thirty books were purchased for the project. Each book is fitted with a printed insert that contains information about the project and instructions for participation. As people share their information with The Passed Words Project, it is compiled and uploaded to Google Maps. Then we can visualize how these books travel across the world.
After purchasing thirty books of varying authors, interests, and genres, I shipped them out into the wild to see what happens with the following taped to the back of each:
Thirty Books, now out in the wild:
The books chosen are meant to be an eclectic combination of interests, genres, authors, images, and generations. We attempted to choose books that are interesting, ‘passable’, and intriguing enough to garner attention from the general public:
- America: The Book, A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart and the Writers of The Daily Show
- BossyPants by Tina Fey
- Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
- Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
- Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Life: The Classic Collection by the Editors of LIFE
- Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
- On The Road by Jack Kerouac
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Circle by Dave Eggers
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- A Treasury of Curious George by Margaret & H. A. Rey
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Essential Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Waterson
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
- Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
- The Last Pictures by Trevor Paglan
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Here are some of the social interactions that people have shared with us so far:
Let me know if you come across any of the books. Read them. Enjoy them. Share them. Pass them along. Thanks for being part of the project.
HI. MY NAME IS MARK MICHAEL, AND MY PASSION LIES IN CREATING EXPERIENCES THAT CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.
I focus on bringing ideas to life. In fact, I’ve created some incredible things for some amazing people. Through research, technology, human understanding, and creativity, I turn information into insight, insight into strategy, and strategy into action.