Earlier in the week I came across an article about a new piece of artwork called the Future Library Project. One thousand trees were recently planted in Oslo which, one hundred years from now, will be cut down to provide the paper for a series of a hundred books. The twist? Each year between 2014 and 2114 one author will be invited to contribute to this library and the books in question will remain unseen by the public until they are revealed in 2114.
Margaret Atwood was invited to be the first contributor to the project and is quoted in the Guardian as finding the prospect of being the first contributor ‘delicious’. Further, in the comments, responses to the project are at once predictable and yet, surprising. Most of the comments I’ve read seem to fall either into the camp who feel it is unique and inspiring or into the camp who feel it is pointless and another example of art for art’s sake.
However, neither author, artist nor any of the commentators suggested having had any response that approximated my own reaction to the news, which was panic. Knowledge of this project put me distinctly ill at ease and seemed to bring me face to face with my own mortality. These books will never see the light of day in my lifetime. Nor will they be read by anyone I know and love today. We will all be long gone and the world will be much changed. It’s strange because a hundred years does not seem like a long time. World War I, for example, is a hundred years ago and yet the people who lived and breathed back then, to me at least, do not appear to be confined to the annals of history. Yet a hundred years is an eternity. It is a disconcerting thought indeed.
You can read more on this project in the original Guardian article here.