Future Library

Added to the Museum of Data by admin on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Museum of Data Collection ID: 263.

Public description: A project by artist Katie Paterson, in which - between 2014 and 2114 - every year for 100 years a writer will be selected to contribute a text, to be kept unread and unpublished, held in trust, until the year 2114. The anthology of books produced will be printed using paper from a forest which has been planted in Norway. Until then, the manuscripts are presented in a specially designed room in the new public library in Oslo. Writers to date include Margaret Atwood (2014), David Mitchell (2015), Sjón (2016) and Elif Shafak (2017). With its longevity, slowness, and focus on singular simple texts, the Future Library is a kind of antidote to the fast-paced, overwhelming abundance and messiness of what seems to characterise contemporary landscapes of data. It draws attention to a temporality of the long-term, materiality of forests and trees, and data as thoroughly qualitative. With some questions, too: Are trees and stories data? What values are gained or lost when one author is selected to produce a story, compared to platforms which enable unlimited creators of content? How might we think differently about digital data if we were to think in terms of the long life and indelible marks of a tree? And as data collectors in our Museum, how do we represent the Future Library as a data-object, when it is an art project assemblage of multiple objects, places, times and people in itself? Instead of this picture of the forest in Norway, should we show dendrochronology tree marks or the manuscripts themselves - as data-objects, despite the utter impossibility of doing so (the manuscripts have not all been written, all that have are locked away for 100 years, the trees are growing still)? If the ultimate data-object here is the published anthology in 2114, how can a Museum collect something which has not been created yet?

Materials used: one thousand trees in the Nordmarka forest in Norway, 100 fiction authors, manuscripts, paper, time

Credit: Katie Paterson

Copyright: Katie Paterson

Creation date: 2014/01/01 00:00:00

External link: http://www.futurelibrary.no

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