Wrap the World

Location: Glasgow, Jo’burg, Delhi, Porto, Sydney, New York
Venue: Glasgow, Jo’burg, Delhi, Porto, Sydney, New York
Dates: 31 December 1999 to 31 December 1999 

This project was conceived by Neil Butler ten years ago. Funding was approved by Glasgow City Council and NMEC to run the project as part of Glasgow’s Millennium Hogmanay celebrations. It took eight months of planning and research to identify art galleries, curators and artists world-wide and the technology required to make it happen.

Fax manufacturers around the world were contacted, with Canon agreeing to provide the technical expertise to modify their fax machines in order to allow a continuous transmission of thermal fax paper. Together with their global partners, Canon delivered two machines to each of the selected sites: Glasgow, Johannesburg, Delhi, Sydney, New York and Porto. In addition webcams were supplied to each location to broadcast live the event via an internet site.

The event took place from 0930 hrs GMT on Friday 31st December 1999 at the Skypark building, Finnieston, Glasgow, overlooking the landmark Finnieston Crane alongside the River Clyde. The activity in Glasgow was broadcast all over the world on BBC1’s Millennium TV show

In Glasgow the artists had experimented with heat, which produced an image when applied to the thermal paper. These techniques included heated marble rolling and tyre imprints left by a unicycle rode by Steven Skrynka. These images, and others, were fed into the fax machine and dialled through to Johannesburg. Artists Robin Rhode and Usha Prajapaat added to the work with distinctive ticket and bar code images, feeding the paper through their second machine and dialling on to Delhi. Three artists Subba Gosh, Kalam Patua and Ranbir Singh Kaleka collaborated in Delhi to produce their images using heated wood cuts. From Delhi the artwork was faxed to Sydney and the artist Laurens Tan added images including traditional Chinese Masonry patterns, Pinyin language cards and miniaturised Y2K headlines.

In New York the work was received by the artist Jian-Jun Zhang whose images reproduced the symbols of money such as numbers, currency symbols and the various languages of money around the world. The final port of call was Porto and artist Pedro Tudela. He completed the work and returned the fax artwork to Glasgow.

As the density of images grew, the paper was transmitted more slowly until finally over thirty feet of artwork arrived in Glasgow,

At one point all artists worked simultaneously, continuing to add their images as the paper fed through from one fax machine and was received by the next in a continuous loop that wrapped the world.

The project employed a range of technology including thermal facsimile, laser facsimile, webcams, websites, internet research and electronic mail for communication. The work travelled over 31,000 miles around the globe using over 1.8 kilometres of fax paper.

World-wide Locations

Stephen Hobbs, Curator, The Market Theatre Galleries, Johannesburg Robin Rhode & Usha Prajapaat, artists.

Amit & Hardeep Gupta, Curators, vis-à-vis design gallery Subba Ghosh, Ranbir Singh Kaleka & Kalam Patua, artists

Nicholas Tsoutas, Jacqueline Phillips, Curators, Artspace Gallery Laurens Tan, artist

New York
Christina Yang, curator, The Kitchen James Ratazzi, technical support, The Kitchen Jian-Jun Zhang, artist

Miguel von Hafe Perez, Curator, Porto 2001 Pedro Tudela, artist

Neil Butler, Artistic Director
Artists Wilma Eaton & Steven Skrynka
Nicky Sheehan, Project Co-ordinator
Ian Crook, Technical Manager
Joanne Wain, Press Officer