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The Stephen Hawking Time Travel Invitation Print

About a year ago I covered an interesting initiative, which saw the release of the first print from Peter Dean's Kite project. This was a limited-edition reconstruction of a now-lost 19th century poster that Lennon and McCartney drew on for the lyrics of their Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite! song from the Sgt. Pepper's album. The second print in the series looks into the future, while not abandoning Kite's hand-printed letterpress roots.

It would seem that physicist Stephen Hawking threw an unusual party back in 2009. Unusual in that no only now alive was invited. Instead, this was a party for guests living the future. Way in the future, in an era in which time travel had been mastered. By issuing invitations and not announcing the party, the idea was that only someone in the future would, on learning of this, make the effort to come back in time. In the spirit of this, Kite, with the approval of Hawking, has released a poster-sized invitation to the party, in the style of a Victorian broadside.

Four versions are available: two limited-edition letterpress versions that were hand printed at New North Press in Shoreditch, London, and a screen printed, two-color open edition. Each print comes with a signed certificate of authenticity and an information sheet containing the story of Hawking's experiment.

We're told that no time travelers ultimately showed up at the party, which is consistent with Hawking's belief that time travel isn't feasible for theoretical reasons. Or could it just mean that not enough invitations and posters survived long enough into the future, until time travel became possible? Or maybe someone actually saw one of the posters but simply didn't feel like attending? It's happened to all of us, after all. Or perhaps lots of people came back but swore Hawking to secrecy? I'm not sure what the party ultimately proved but I do know that my head is starting to hurt thinking about it.

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