The Endless Proverb

EPMOU in the New York Review of Books

Posted on: 14 May 2016 by John


EPMOU by John Shipman in the New York Review of Books, May 12, 2016 arts issueLook for the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverb's The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe by John Shipman — a limited-run domestic physics unified in one sentence that is 10 hours, 10,000 lines and 10,000 proverbs long — in the independent press listings on pages 64–65 (pdf)) in the 12 May 2016 arts issue of the New York Review of Books.

Why should theoretical physicists have all the fun?

For more info, please contact John.


The Endless Proverb by John Shipman in The Rochester Review, April-May 2016Look for The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe in the Independent Press Listings in The New York Review of Books — the 12 May 2016 arts issue's now on sale at your favorite bookstores and newsstands and also available online and at libraries — and in the Books & Recordings section of the April–May 2016 issue of The Rochester Review.

Pages 62–63 of The Rochester Review


Reading the just-published The Endless Proverb by John Shipman, December 2015

Celebrating the Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs' publication of the 300-page, limited-run print version of The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe by John Shipman with a group reading and small party in Toronto for subscribers and friends.

To reserve / order your copies, please contact John.

Photo · Emilie Shipman-Wight

A quick update: The Endless Proverb (the book)

Posted on: 28 July 2015 by John


The Endless Proverb by John Shipman, 2013-2015

The Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs is pleased to announce its inaugural publication — an illustrated, 300-page first edition of The Endless Proverb, the ten-hour, 10,000 line-long sentence constructed from proverbs from around the world by John Shipman as part of his Nuit Blanche 2013 installation, Ten Models of the Universe — will be available later this summer.

To reserve / order your copies, please contact John.

ISBN: 978-0-9939789-0-6
5.25 x 9 inches
300 pages

Draft pages 58–59 with illustrations by Joy Shipman, 2013-2015

The Endless Proverb · The book

Posted on: 31 October 2014 by John


John Shipman, Department of Household Sciences & Advanced Proverbs logoThe Department of Sciences & Advanced Proverbs is pleased announce the Summer 2015 publication of the print version of John Shipman's The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe, the ten-hour long, ten thousand line-long sentence constructed from proverbs from around the world as presented as part of Ten Models of the Universe (2013).

To become a subscriber and for more info, please contact John.

Ten Models of the Universe · Comments

Posted on: 3 December 2013 by John


The artists and 14 volunteers were hosts to more than 500 Nuit Blanche Toronto visitors from sunset to sunrise on 5–6 October 2013. One hundred and twenty-six visitors left comments.

Visitor comments

The projects hosted at this church are always the highlight of my Nuit Blanche experience. I took two turns reading "The Endless Proverb." Sometimes grim, sometimes hilarious, always thought-provoking and hypnotic. Thank you to all the artists and helpers for creating such a unique and special experience. I can't wait to see what appears here next year. — @4:47am

One word:
Cool. Excellent! Awesome.
Interesting. Delightful! Funny.
Multiverse. Neato! Great. Awesome!
Terrific! Congratulations! Thanks.

Two words:
Totally cool! Wonderful experience. Wonderful work.
Great exhibit! Great fun! Great work! Great job.
Very engaging! Very interesting. Cool beans.
Very creative! Very enjoyable. Thank you.

Three words:
Awesome—thank you!! Loved the art.
Unique really liked. Fun and playful! Bless you all.
Super cool time! Very interesting exhibit! Neat interactive event.
Lots of fun. Lots of fun. Lots of fun. Lots of fun! Lots of fun! Tons of fun.

Four words:
Really fun, thank you! Wonderfully evocative and fun! Out of this world. Wonderful—lots of fun.
Loved it—perfect location. Really interesting to see. Very fun and educational.
Never spite your nose. Time turned upside down! Nice use of space!
It was super cool! Many nice small projects.

Five words:
Very interesting and unique idea. Amazing!
I love the universe. I enjoyed the installation. It was really really nice.
The interconnection of the universe! Neil Turok wud love this.
Thanks for another great show. In it to win it.
Thanks for the X10 pin. Love the interaction and thoughtfulness.
These were definitely funny universes!
Very nice ideas into realization.

Six and more words:
Thanks for engaging all the senses!
Great way to express the universe.
Best models of the universe are the ones you are free to construct!!!
Owen is awesome and so is this place!
Wonderfully inventive absorbing creative and also great fun!
A church open to the sacrilege and presence of the public, imagine that!
Loved the fact that it was interactive—really enjoyable—thank you!
This was very creative and entertaining especially that we were able to be part of the event.
A comment in Mandarin
A comment in Greek (?)
I had a great time contributing to the scrabble board, knitting and kvetching and listening to the words of wisdom from the pulpit.
Soft as smoke and tough as nails.
Fabulous as always and moved by your visions.
Who knew there were so many universes?
I am flying lotus of the cosmos. The universe unfolded as a flower in Spring.
Nothing works up your appetite more than travelling across the multiverse...Had a great time.
Another one in and out of the bag.
Universally speaking of course, that is an endless guest book message, as one wrote, the words continued, beyond what one wrote and so on.
I wonder why the stage is picked to be a church.
I will think about it...also nice that to create a universe is to create out of everyday object that you feel the texture of them.
First words in our heads: stars, planets, public, infinity.
What a wonderful way to bring the universe closer to us.

•   •   •

Ten Models of the Universe from the Department of Household Science & Advanced Proverbs featuring the Endless Proverb is dedicated to the Department of Household Science at the University of Toronto, (1902-1906?) with our thanks to:

Event volunteers: Andrea Beranek, Veronica Clarke-Hanik, Tony Hanik, Rosary Kwak, Sheila Moll, Clara Shipman, Elisabeth Shipman, Victoria Shipman, Emilie Shipman-Wight, Marcelle St-Amant, Susanne Tabur, Andy Soter, Jenna Teece Soter, William Teece Soter, Sonya Teece, Chloe Taft

Venue sponsor: St. Matthew's United Church—Rev. Lauren Hodgson, Sheila Moll, Renwick Burnett, Xing Zhang, Sonya Teece

Commercial sponsors: Ferrier Wire Goods Company Ltd., Primavera Interior Furnishings Ltd.

Other suppliers: CanaKit, Goodwill Industries, Sesco, Home Depot, Mountain Equipment Coop, New Canadians Lumber, Active Surplus, Lee Valley Tools, Rona, The Source Shop, Tap Phong Trading, Walmart, World Sew

Special thanks to: Marcelle St-Amant, Pat Steenbergen, Dan Eylon, Wil Moll, the City of Toronto, and the Department of Household Science & Advanced Proverbs

3 December 2013

Posted on: 2 October 2013 by John


Catch the first hour or so of The Endless Proverb text posted news-ticker style as it scrolls across your screen on

A shorter fragment-in-progress was posted here on 3 July 2013.

You are invited

Posted on: 1 October 2013 by John


You are invited to Ten Models of the Universe - John Shipman

Come create models of the universe with orphan socks, words and other earthly things this Saturday from 6:51 pm to sunrise at St. Matthew's United Church, 729 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013

Graphic: Joy Shipman


A 12-hour long sentence constructed from proverbs from around the world, The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe will be projected as a crawling news ticker video around St. Matthew's Church's magnificent great hall on 5–6 October 2013 as part of Ten Models of the Universe by the Department of Science & Advanced Proverbs, an Independent Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto Project.

For more info plus details about other models, please see Ten Models of the Universe.

An excerpt of text-in-progress from hour two of The Endless Proverb Model of the Universe:

… a promise is a promise,
as a rose is a rose is a rose, though when
roses fall, but the thorn remains, so
that which we acquire with the most difficulty we retain the longest, but
for a lost thing care nothing, and
the unlooked for often comes, so
those who long for something grow old in a day, and
only remembrance of a well spent life is sweet, but
remorse is the echo of a lost virtue, and
the owner has one house, the renter a thousand, so
let the one who receives the profit repair the inn, though
the report makes the wolf bigger than it is, as
reputation is often without merit, and lost without fault, and
one who digs a pit, often falls into it, for
revolution never goes backwards, but
ridicule is the test of truth, and
one who rides on a giant's shoulders sees farther than the one who carries him, however
whatever way you take, there is a stretch of bad road, and even though
all roads lead to Rome, you may row your heart out, if the wind and tide set against you, so
a boat that will not answer to the rudder must answer to the rock, and though
there is no rule without an exception,
the exception proves the rule, but
one that would rule, must hear and be deaf, see and be blind, though
the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world, and
it is a poor rule that won't work both ways, though
the only rule that works both ways is the golden rule, so
do as you would be done by, but,
if you don't have anything to do, don't do it here, and
before gold, even kings take off their hats,
use their heads for something besides a hat rack, and
don't talk through their hats, but
never forget where they buried the hatchet, as
we hate where we hurt, and
we always hurt the ones we love, and
love the ones we hurt, so
hunger sweetens what is bitter, and
though I am bitten, I am not eaten, and
better a friendly bite than an enemy's caress, so
take two bites, if one is too large, but
don't bite off more than you can chew, for
charity begins in the home, and
though charity and pride have different aims, they can both feed the poor, for
different strokes for different folks, so
different time, different manners, and
different folks take different views, but
when people come face to face, their differences vanish…

Text as of 3 July 2013