I recently stumbled upon a fascinating story while catching up on the podcasts published while I was away. Apparently, the story is very old news . . everybody I mentioned it to had already heard of it months ago. But I am going to assume that there are others out there, like myself, who are completely oblivious to the creation of The Future Library.
The Future Library is an endeavor by Scottish artist Katie Paterson to curate a selection of one hundred books for a prospective audience, one hundred years from now. She was commissioned by Bjørvika Utvikling in Oslo, Norway as part of the Slow Space public art program. The project is not simply about the eventual library; it is also very much about the process of preparation. While most of us will likely never get to read these books or see the final outcome, we can interact with and observe what goes into the creation of a text. For instance, Paterson began by planting a forest of a thousand trees in Norway that will ultimately provide the paper for this library. People are encouraged to visit the forest and observe each tree’s slow growth. In the official 2014 press release, Paterson commented in reference to The Future Library‘s first author, “I imagine her words growing through the trees, an unseen energy, activated and materialized, the tree rings becoming chapters in a book.”
The project began last year, and already, the first text has been commissioned and written by Margaret Atwood, science fiction author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The MaddAddam Trilogy. If you haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale, you should – it’s a classic and masterful dystopian novel and very accessible even if scifi is not your thing. MaddAddam has been on my list for awhile, and now I’m even more inspired to read it . . . though bitterly disappointed that I will likely miss out on reading the new text: Scribbler Moon.
The latest addition to the lineup is David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks. Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books, so I am equally excited about this choice. It will be interesting to see the progression and trend of what kind of authors are chosen in future years. If they continue to choose some of my favorite authors, I anticipate I will be investing significant money in life-extending medicine to ensure I can get my hands on copies of all 100 books.
You can actually preorder your own set of original editions – for the small sum of $1,000. If you think about it, that’s $10 per book, which is really not a bad price, considering this is also a fine art project. (Yes, I am accepting donations towards the cause.)
If you’d like to learn more about the project, you can visit their website: http://www.futurelibrary.no/
I personally learned about Future Library from the podcast On the Media where host Brooke Gladstone interviewed Margaret Atwood. You can listen to that segment below.
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The featured image is a photo by Lars Tiede, published at https://flic.kr/p/a1PK4X. Used by permission of CC License: http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa