Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Idea: Literature on the sidewalk

stormdog posted about distress at seeing paper books destroyed. It always saddens me to think of useful things being lost.

We can read and enjoy stories written on clay tablets over four thousand years ago.

In my city, after pouring a length of concrete sidewalk, work crews roughen the surface with a stiff-bristled brush to improve traction. They then press a plate into the wet concrete at each end of the pour, marking the contractor name and year.

So, let's imprint our sidewalks with literature and art.

Instead of brushing newly-poured sidewalks to roughen the surface, a simple two-axis device with a metal stylus would poke into the wet concrete to form letters, printing out poetry, stories, and books. This would be the high-tech, faster version of a scribe marking a clay tablet with a reed stick. It'd be fairly easy and cheap to implement; the average engineering student could do it as a fun first-year project.

City residents would submit lists of public-domain works they felt should be immortalized in concrete. Publishers might be willing to let copyrighted works be added to the queue for publicity (or a fee). Streets with historical significance might have specific relevant works printed on their sidewalks, while others would just get whatever random book was next on the list.

Of course, knowing city budgets, it woud soon be used to permanetly print advertising onto every sidewalk.
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