An anthology of books is growing in Norway. Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s next project involves a future literary collection printed with paper from spruce trees that have just been planted. The project, called Future Library, starts with 1,000 trees planted in Nordmarka, near Oslo, to produce the paper supply for literary treasures that won’t be seen for 100 years. Margaret Atwood, whose novels often focus on the not-too-distant future, was chosen as the first author to contribute to the future collection.
Future Library is a deeply poetic project, almost fantastical in nature, that could have been lifted from the pages of one of Atwood’s novels. The Future Library Trust, which will maintain the newly planted forest, will be supported by the City of Oslo, which have vowed to protect the forest until 2114. The trust’s responsibilities are also to protect Atwood’s novel, leaving it unread and unpublished until 2114. Atwood’s manuscript will be entered into the trust in 2015, and every year after an author will contribute a text that will also be protected. All of the manuscripts will be held in a specially designed room in Oslo’s New Deichmanske Public Library, which is expected to open in 2018, that will be clad in wood from the forest itself.
The artist acknowledges that in 100 years, books may no longer be made from trees, so she has included a printing press along with paper-making instructions. The Future Library is not only a conceptual art work, but also a mark of hope, entrusting people of the future to uphold the slow poetry of this 100-year project.
Via Fast Co Exist