Sometimes it can feel like every scrap of news is screaming for your attention–both online and off. What if you didn’t have to look at it anymore? What if you could give your eyes, and brain, a break?
In a project called Nothing in the News, the artist and filmmaker Joseph Ernst steps away from the constant inundation of news by printing a series of large metro newspapers that have absolutely no content. Under banners that include The New York Times, Corriere Della Sera, Die Ziet, Le Monde, and other major newspapers from around the globe, there are empty boxes. Typically filled with the day’s headlines in bold black ink, Ernst’s blank newspapers offer a reprieve from the news cycle.
“The newspaper is competing with the mobile device, and in the post-Brexit, post-Trump world, the news has taken on a similar effect–everything is screaming for our attention, everything is competing for our time,” Ernst tells Co.Design in an email. “And there are only so many hours in the day. Eventually, we need to switch off, to process, to think it all through.”
Nothing in the News is an extension of a previous project called Nothing on the Internet, where Ernst created renderings that look like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest–but without the content that typically fills their pages. To create the blank newspapers, he scanned physical copies and then digitally stripped them of their content. You can also buy IRL copies on the website of the studio where Ernst is the creative director, the Sideline Collective, for $25.
“In the midst of this information overload, we become numb, we switch off, we stop caring,” Ernst says. “But the point is we should care. All these things are important. We just need to learn to switch off a little, to spend some time digesting the information we consume, to seek and find alternative critical points of view, to fight the algorithm–all the algorithms that control our lives.”