Novecento. The source code.

by Alessandro Baricco

One audio file, 85 minutes, 80 megabyte. The voice of Alessandro Baricco plays Novecento in its integral version. After almost thirty years of book editions and stagings, the author goes back to the start, where everything originated, by reading and playing the sound he imagined. The source code of all iterations of Novecento. The point zero. The genesis block. The sound before any other sound.

In computer programming, source code is a text file version of a computer program that contains instructions that the computer follows to do something. Source code is written in a programming language which a human can read and change. Source code is in many cases compiled before running it. That means translating the code into machine language which is much faster and easier for the computer to read, but hard for a human to read. The same way, NVCNT is the source code of all iterations of Novecento.


A blockchain is a distributed digital ledger in which transactions and (smart) contracts are recorded. Blockchain technology uses cryptography – a part of mathematics used to encrypt information – to make the ledger immutable, so that it cannot be altered once it has been written. The ledger is not centralised but distributed over many nodes (computers) in a peer-to-peer network. Each time the log is updated, the changes are broadcasted to all nodes so that the copies always remain up-to-date. Should a fraudulent node claim a false version of the ledger, the other nodes will oppose their version of the registry.


A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a certificate attesting to the scarcity, ownership and provenance of a digital asset, e.g. a virtual land, a wearable of an avatar in the metaverse, a superpower in a video game, or a work of digital art. In the case of digital art, the artwork is visible and downloadable by everyone but only those who own the token in their digital wallet own it and can transfer or sell it. The transfer of an NFT generally does not involve the transfer of the intellectual property of the artwork.

WEB 3.0

“Web 3.0 does with information what Bitcoin did with money, making it secure, decentralised, verifiable: a prospect that promises to leave behind like a bad dream the nightmare of a Web 2.0 based on surveillance and exploitation of our personal data.” Juan Benet

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