A thousand trees have been planted in a forest outside Oslo, Norway to provide paper for a special anthology of 100 books to be published in 2114. Future Library, the ultimate public art project, was launched by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. Each year between now and 2114, a writer will contribute a book to be held in trust for a century until the forest is cut down. A special room will be designed in Oslo’s New Public Deichmanske Library to hold the books. The city of Oslo is onboard to ensure that the forest and manuscripts are supported for the next several decades as the project begins to outlive its founders. A statement on the project’s website explains:
“Tending the forest and ensuring its preservation for the 100-year duration of the artwork finds a conceptual counterpoint in the invitation extended to each writer: to conceive and produce a work in the hopes of finding a receptive reader in an unknown future.”
The contributing authors will have the creative challenge of their lives as they write for people living in a future we can’t imagine. The contributors haven’t been announced yet, but they’ll will be selected by the Future Library Trust, which is staffed by artists, publishers and other creatives. The name of the first author will be released in the next few weeks, and their manuscript will be handed over for preservation in a special ceremony in 2015. Interested book fans can even buy a limited edition certificate from Paterson that entitles the owner (well, more likely, the owner’s descendants) to a complete set of the books once they’re printed in 2114. Will people be so used to e-readers 100 years from now that paper books out of trees will seem blasphemous? Will climate change have altered the very fabric of the forest? I’d love to see what happens next with this awesome project, and hey, maybe if my pipe dream of us all living to be 200 comes true I’ll find out.