Martin Paul Eve bio photo

Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Hereby instigating an annual May 8th culture jamming festival to be herein evidenced by photographic, textual, cartographic and video documentation. To prove it really happened, that our world was not projected.

Reading in Public

Post horns, W.A.S.T.E. insignia, the novels of Thomas Pynchon read unashamedly on trains, while still sub rosa.

It is simple, it is inevitable, it has begun.

Suggestions for the day itself:

  1. Reading books, in public, by or about Thomas Pynchon.
  2. Reading work of his 'heirs', such as David Foster Wallace, David Mitchell, Neal Stephenson and Dave Eggers.
  3. Reading work of authors who have cited Pynchon as an influence. These include: Don DeLillo, Ian Rankin, William Gibson, Alan Moore, Bruce Sterling and David Cronenberg.
  4. Reading any other work, for example Katie Price's latest biography, preferably with a sticker on the cover, 'My Other Book Is A Thomas Pynchon'.
  5. Organising a local version of the W.A.S.T.E. postal network, as described in 'The Crying of Lot 49'.
  6. Calling local radio stations, requesting they play 'Gravity's Rainbow' by the Klaxons and other Pynchon-themed songs.
  7. Organise a 'Philately Gone Wild' club night. Patrons could come dressed as their favourite Pynchon character, covered in mute post horn symbols in body paint or Weimar era cabaret stars.
  8. Launching model V-2 rockets in an appropriate safe open area.
  9. Post the muted posthorn everywhere (see below).
  10. Set up your own W.A.S.T.E. Network (see below).
  11. Take a hot-air balloon trip in honour of the Airship Boys in Against the Day. Openly carry a copy of the book as you do so.
  12. Pledge to begin writing a Pynchon-influenced novel or short story.
  13. Read The Education of Henry Adams in public.
  14. Buttonhole strangers at random and explain to them the process of entropy.
  15. Adopt a Pynchon character's name for the day. Use it on official forms.

Promiscuous posting of the Muted post horn - Start using the muted post horn symbol as often as you can. Ideas include:
business cards, stickers, button badges, real or temporary tattoos, notes in newsagents windows, avatars on Facebook or other sites, razor cut in a haircut, on bookmarks left in library books and on a T-shirt as you jump up and down in front of local news crew covering a soap star opening a supermarket. Other ideas welcome. W.A.S.T.E. Please remember to obtain permission form property owners or managers before posting.

Set up your own W.A.S.T.E. Network. There was an alternate reality game based on 'The Crying of Lot 49' at This game was run by members of a group called Sf0, but this particular game is no longer running. Something similar could be undertaken for Pynchon In Public Day 2011. Guidelines are:
Buy/find/acquire a mailbox of any shape or dimensions. Place the mailbox in a public space with an appropriate address that you invent. Make sure it looks official to ensure its permanence. 2: Receive mail. Extra points if your mailbox is in a remote area, or a vacant lot. The farther it is from a regular, recognized address or street the better. You will be awarded points simply for placing the mailbox in a public space and using it, but the real aim of the task is codification by the postal service itself. If you do not wish to use the US postal service, you may create (or participate in) an alternative postal delivery network that deals only with other players' mailboxes. Ensure you do not accidentally intercept anybody's true mail. This would be illegal in many jurisdictions.

See Bookcrossing for a release challenge and for mailart.

The creators of the system of websites, events, and activities explicitly referred to as a part of "Pynchon in Public Day" (henceforth, "PIPD"), assumes responsibility for neither the actions of users of this website or any affiliated website, nor for any activities they undertake in relation to the event. This includes, but is not limited to, content posted to the site by users, suggested activities, and actions taken by users in particular or in general.

As a user, you agree to assume complete responsibility for any and all actions you undertake relating to your participation in the PIPD event. You agree to submit no material to PIPD that you have not created, or do not have permission to display publicly or reproduce in accordance with any applicable copyright. You agree that, in submitting work, you will retain the personal copyright, but will license your work under a Creative Commons, By Attribution, Share Alike license. You agree that any action taken as part of your participation in PIPD is in accordance with applicable laws and statutes – no violation of such is sanctioned by the the organisers. Any suggestion of any such violation that appears as part of PIPD is due solely to the fictional nature of the subversion in Thomas Pynchon's writing, and is not intended to condone or indemnify any violation of any local, state, federal, or international laws, nor any intrusion upon or violation of the rights of any person, or persons.

Due to the malleability of digital media, any appearance of such a violation by any user may not be considered evidence, precedent, or approval of such a violation. Any material displayed as part of PIPD should be considered fictive until and unless proven otherwise.

Please consider, in your planning of events and activities, all potential impacts to people, animals and the ecosystem and ensure that you do not adversely affect any of these areas.

Major impetus from Dystopia2009. Additional thanks for suggestions to Dr. Bubby Tubeside.

Featured image by वंपायर under a CC-BY-SA license.