Future Library

If you’re old enough to be reading Printeresting, chances are you won’t be alive when Scottish artist Katie Paterson‘s Future Library project comes to fruition. We’ll all be ghosts.

Like the Millenium Clock project, Future Library is slow. Meant to reveal itself in one hundred years, the premise is both simple and grand. Each year starting in 2014, an author is chosen to write a manuscript that will be printed in the year 2114. These one hundred works will not be available for reading until the eventual publication date. As such, they are being written for a future audience.

The manuscripts will be housed in a specially-built library in the city of Oslo not far from a forest where one thousand trees have been planted in conjunction with the project. These trees will be used to make books for the publications. The manuscripts and forest are protected by the city of Oslo and the Future Library Trust.

When we think of ghosts, we rarely count ourselves among their future population. Ghosts remind us of our own mortality and place us in a continuum of time. It’s hard not to read Future Library as a pointed message about our responsibility to future generations. If we are in dialogue with the future, we can’t pretend it’s abstract and unrelated to our own present actions.

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