Opium has tapped conceptual artist Johnathon Keats to create the front cover for the infinity issue of their magazine. His idea, to write the longest story in the history of humankind. The catch? It’s only nine words long.
Using a a double layer of black ink that masks each word in incrementally darker shades, Keats has conceived of a simple process that will gradually reveal his magnum opus over the course of 1,000 years. The ink is designed to break down as it is exposed to ultraviolet light and if Keats’ calculations are correct this will occur at a rate of one word per century.
Whether or not you believe that anything truly profound can be said in the scope of nine words (Hemingway only needed six), the project stands in stark contrast to our constantly connected and information saturated lifestyles where multitasking and myriad distraction have begun to erode the deeper meaning of our interactions. This is particularly evident when it comes to reading, as skimming for general themes replaces more thoughtful consideration of the details.
And while this may be an interesting experiment in what Keats calls “deep time,” asking an audience to remain involved for a millenium might be pushing our collective attention spans a bit beyond the fold.