Future Library

Katie Paterson

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Scottish artist Katie Paterson has launched a 100-year artwork - Future Library - Framtidsbiblioteket - for the city of Oslo in Norway. The prizewinning author, poet, essayist and literary critic Margaret Atwood was the first writer to contribute to the project. The multi-award winning British novelist David Mitchell followed as 2015’s author, and celebrated Icelandic novelist Sjón has just been announced as Future Library’s contributing author for 2016.

A thousand trees have been planted in Nordmarka, a forest just outside Oslo, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in one hundred years time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. 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.

Margaret Atwood comments on being the inaugural writer for Future Library: “I am very honoured, and also happy to be part of this endeavor. This project, at least, believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years! Future Library is bound to attract a lot of attention over the decades, as people follow the progress of the trees, note what takes up residence in and around them, and try to guess what the writers have put into their sealed boxes.”

For David Mitchell: “Civilisation, according to one of those handy Chinese proverbs, is the basking in the shade of trees planted a hundred years ago, trees which the gardener knew would outlive him or her, but which he or she planted anyway for the pleasure of people not yet born. I accepted the Future Library’s invitation to participate because I would like to plant such a tree. The project is a vote of confidence that, despite the catastrophist shadows under which we live, the future will still be a brightish place willing and able to complete an artistic endeavour begun by long-dead people a century ago. Imagine if the Future Library had been conceived in 1914, and a hundred authors from all over the world had written a hundred volumes between 1915 and today, unseen until now – what a human highway through time to be a part of. Contributing and belonging to a narrative arc longer than your own lifespan is good for your soul.”

Sjón says: “As someone who trained his creative senses in the laboratory of the surrealist group Medúsa in Reykjavík in the 80’s I am no stranger to the importance of games in culture. So, when I first heard about Katie Paterson’s Future Library I instantly recognised its strong game-like qualities. A game is an invitation to play against or with a number of people, accepting a set of rules that allows the players to move in a marked out space, over a given time, with certain restrictions and a promise of enough freedom to make it their own. But it was also clear to me that the Future Library was quite unlike the parlour-games of my youth, played out in the span of an evening on a friends writing desk: it is a game played on the grandest of scales. Still it wasn’t until I was invited to contribute to it — and had gladly accepted to do so — that I started to understand the depth of its challenge. Like the best of games the Future Library makes the player aware of the skills and flaws he or she brings to the playing field, in this case it tests the fundaments of everything an author must deal with when sincerely engaging with the art of writing: Am I a writer of my times? Who do I write for? How much does the response of the reader matter to me? What in a text makes it timeless? And for some of us it poses the hardest question of all: Will there be people in the future who understand the language I write in? It is a game I look forward to play with enthusiasm and earnestness.”

The manuscripts will be held in trust in a specially designed room in the New Deichmanske Public Library opening in 2019 in Bjørvika, Oslo. Intended to be a space of contemplation, this room - designed by the artist - will be lined with wood from the forest. The authors’ names and titles of their works will be on display, but none of the manuscripts will be available for reading – until their publication in one century’s time. The library room design is in collaboration with Lund Hagem Architects and Atelier Oslo.

A special ceremony in the forest each Spring marks the handover of the author’s texts.

Support for this 100-year long artwork has been given by the City of Oslo, who are working with the artist and Future Library Trust to ensure the protection of the forest and manuscripts until 2114.

Guiding the selection of authors is the Future Library Trust, whose founding trustees include the artist, Publishing Director of Hamish Hamilton Simon Prosser, former Director of the Deichmanske Bibliotek Liv Sæteren, Publishing Director of Forlaget Press Håkon Harket, Editor in Chief of Oktober Press, Ingeri Engelstad, and Anne Beate Hovind, Bjørvika Utvikling's Project Manager for the Slow Space Programme.

Katie Paterson's 100-year-long project is one of several public artworks produced for Slow Space, a programme of public artworks for Bjørvika Oslo's former container port, and commissioned by Bjørvika Utvikling.

Conceived by Katie Paterson, Future Library is commissioned and supported by Bjørvika Utvikling and managed by the Future Library Trust. Supported by the City of Oslo, Agency for Cultural Affairs and Agency for Urban Environment.

Katie Paterson has created a limited edition artwork - a certificate that entitles the owner to one complete set of the texts printed on the paper made from the trees after they are fully grown and cut down in 2114. Please contact the artist's galleries in the UK (Ingleby Gallery, Parafin) or the USA (James Cohan Gallery).

Visit the forest: download the map here
Geo coordinates 59°59'10.8"N 10°41'48.7"E

Read the 2016 Press Release

Watch a short film with Margaret Atwood
Watch the Handover Ceremony 2015
Watch an interview with David Mitchell
Read essays by Margaret Atwood and Arve Rød
Read essays by David Mitchell and Lisa LeFeuvre


Press contact: Anne Beate Hovind, Project Director, Bjørvika Utvikling and Chair of the Future Library Trust
+47(0)909 42528, anne.beate.hovind@bjorvikautvikling.no

Margaret Atwood hands over her new manuscript
26 May 2015, Oslo, Norway

Margaret Atwood will hand over the inaugural manuscript for Future Library on Tuesday 26th of May. Her contribution to the project will be celebrated in a special two-part event: a public walk through the Future Library Forest in Oslo and an in-conversation with the artist Katie Paterson held in the Deichmanske Library. Both events are free and open to all. Please join us.

Future Library Forest
Margaret Atwood will hand over the inaugural manuscript for Future Library, and participate in a public walk through the forest, where she will give a reading. Meet at Frognerseteren station, Nordmarka at 9.30am. The walk will take approximately 30 minutes in each direction, and the group will return to the station at around 11.30am. The Future Library forest coordinates are 59°59’10.0” N10°41’48.6” E. View on Google Maps or download the map. Please dress for a walk in the woods and bring a cup with you. Coffee and tea will be served.

Deichmanske Library
An in-conversation event with Margaret Atwood and Katie Paterson will be held in the Deichmanske Library, Oslo at 1.15pm.

Future Library coverage includes over 300 articles, with 106.8 million reaches, including, A-N, Aftenposten, Argentinia Star, Art News, Arts Life, Artslant, BBC News, BBC Mundo, BlouinArtInfo, CBC Books, ChicagoLiterati, CTV News, Dagavisen, Dagbladet, Die Presse, Die Spiegel, El Mundo, El Pais, DNA India, Entertainment Weekly, Financial Times China, Flavorwire, Frankfurter RundSchau, Future of Story Telling, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Indian Express, Inhabitat, Inquisitir, Irish Times, Italiaglobale, ITV News, Kleine Zeitung, Kunstbeeld, Latin Post, Le Figaro, Montreal Gazette, Morgenbladet, MPR News, National Geographic, New York Times, NRC, NRK, PRI, Princeton University Press, Quill and Quire, Reality TV World, Reddit Books, Sky News, Slate, Svenska Dagbladet, T24, Tech Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Long Now Foundation, The Week, Toronto Star, Treehugger, Vice, VN, WWD, Yahoo Japan News. Download all Future Library press clippings, May 2016, 80MB.

’99 million reaches’ Oslo Business Region presentation, June 2015
The Huffington Post, 'Future Library' Reminds Us How Connected Books And The Environment Really Are, Claire Fallon, 10 June 2015
Aftenposten, Fremtidskunst: Steinar Haga Kristensens Konsensusbilde i et av rådhusets tårn – og Katie Patersons Framtidsbiblioteket ser inn i fremtiden, Kjetil Røed, 5 June 2015
Katie Paterson, The Science of Art, The Insight, 5 June 2015
Huff Post Books, Getting Excited for a Book You'll Never Read, Paige Ballard, 4 June 2015
New York Observer, Scottish Artist Taps David Mitchell to Write a Book for a 100-Year Time Capsule, Casey Quackenbush, 29 May 2015
Audio: BBC World Service, World Update, Margaret Atwood glimpses into the future, 29 May 2015
WHAT IS A BOOK? Bjornson Lecture, by Margaret Atwood, Lillehammer Literature Festival, 28 May 2015
WWD, ‘The Bone Clocks’ Author David Mitchell Named Next Donor to The Future Library, Rosemary Feitelberg, 28 May 2015
100年後の未来に読むことができる本。ノルウェー「未来の図書館」計画が始動!鐙麻樹 | 北欧ノルウェー在住 ジャーナリスト&写真家, 2015年5月28日 8時16分
Le Figaro, Un manuscript de Margaret Atwood publié dans cent ans, Francoise Dargent, 28 May 2015
The Guardian, Into the woods: Margaret Atwood reveals her Future Library book, Scribbler Moon, Alison Flood, 27 May 2015
Dagbladet, Evig liv gror i Nordmarka, Martine Aurdal, 27 May 2015
Audio: Future Library on BBC Radio 4 Today, listen at 1:07:55, 26 May 2015
New York Times, ArtsBeat, Margaret Atwood Delivers Work to Be Published in 2114, By Christopher D. Shea, 26 May 2015
The Canadian Press, Margaret Atwood submits manuscript to Future Library; won’t be read for 100 years, Victoria Ahearn, 26 May 2015
Video: CBC News, Margaret Atwood becomes 1st author to add secret story to Future Library, 26 May 2015
BBC News Online, Margaret Atwood puts unseen manuscript in ‘Future Library’, 26 May 2015
The Guardian, Grand Theft Author: I’d wait 100 years to read Margaret Atwood-but many wouldn’t, Natalie Haynes, 26 May 2015
Newsweek, Margaret Atwood to be first contributor to 100 year literary art project, Lucy Draper, 18 May 2015
Wattpad: Imagine writing a story that wouldn't be read for a century. Enter @MargaretAtwood's Dear 2114 contest, May 2015
NRK, Boken ingen av oss får lest, Nina Nordbø, 21 April 2015
Something is going on in Norway. It involves the greatest writers of our generation…, Christopher Beanland, May 2015
Huffington Post, The World Without Libraries: A Speculation, Lindsey Drager, April 2015
NKR, Boken ingen av oss får lest, Nina Nordbø, April 2015
Monocle, Tomorrow People, Rebecca Unger, February 2015
Slate, An Interview With Margaret Atwood, Ed Finn, February 2015
Norwegian.com, The 100-year read, Mandi Keighran, January 2015
Audio: RN Breakfast, A century long project, Jonathan Green, 1 January 2015
Fantasies Of The Library, Publication, co-edited By Anna-sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin, 2014
Istanbul Art News, Yazılmamış Kitaplar, Bilinmeyen Okurlarıyla ‘geleceğin Kütüphanesi’nde Buluşuyor, Özlem Köyoğlu, November 2014
VICE, An Artist Is Growing a Forest That'll Become a Library of Books in 100 Years, Nell Frizzell, 22 October 2014
Apollo, Looking ahead: Katie Paterson discusses her Future Library, Crystal Bennes, 11 October 2014
Audio: ABC, Books and Art Daily, 30 September 2014
New York Times, Sunday Review, Katie Paterson, 20 September 2014
New York Times, 2114: A Library Project, Editorial Board, 13 September 2014
New York Times, New Margaret Atwood Work Coming in … 2114?, Jennifer Schuessler, 8 September 2014
Smithsonian, Every Year for the Next 100 Years, Authors Will Write Books That Won't Be Read Until 2114, Rachel Nuwer, 8 September 2014
The Globe and Mail, Margaret Atwood’s next project is due in the 22nd century, 5 September 2014
Chicago Literati, Banishing cynicism: on Margaret Atwood’s contribution to the Future Library, Cassie Sheets, 5 September 2014
The European, Plus Eins Utopia, Geschichten Aus Der Gruft, 2014
Artforum, Katie Paterson and Margaret Atwood, Lars Bang Larsen, November 2014
Die Presse, Literatur mit langen Atem, Daniel Kalt, October 2014
BBC Mundo, 100 libros que nunca vas a poder leer, Laura Plitt, 15 September 2014
NPR Books, In Margaret Atwood's Latest, The Past Is Powerfully Present, 13 September 2014
il Post, La biblioteca del futuro, 7 September 2014
Die Welt, In diesem Wald wächst die Literatur des Jahres 2114, Wieland Freund, 7 September 2014
The Huffington Post Canada, Margaret Atwood's Future Library Work Won't Be Read For 100 Years, 7 September 2014
Scotland on Sunday, Book may not be a best seller - not for 100 years, Stephen McGinty, 7 September 2014
BBC World Service News Hour (at 39m30s), Lyse Doucet, 6 September 2014
Aftenposten, Disse bøkene får du aldri lese, Kjersti Nipen, 5 September 2014
Watch film Louisiana Channel, Paterson & Atwood Future Library, 5 September 2014
Art Slant, The Margaret Atwood Book You'll Never Get to Read, Andrea Alessi, 5 September 2014
The Globe and Mail, Margaret Atwood’s next project is due in the 22nd century, 5 September 2014
Margaret Atwood's new work will remain unseen for a century, The Guardian, Alison Flood, 5 September 2014
Hundreårsskogen, Dagens Næringsliv, Kristiane Larssen, 4 September 2014
Bøker er som flaskepost, Bergensavisen, 5 September 2014
ANMELDELSE: Fremtidens lesere, Fine Art, Kjetil Røed
Art project plants 1,000 trees for books 100 years from now, CBC Books, 11 August 2014
The Fifth Season, The New York Times, Holland Cotter, 7 August 2014
100-Year Art Project to Grow Books from Saplings, Make, Andrew Salomone, 7 August 2014
Future Library - a forest that will become books 100 years from now, Christian Science Monitor, Weston Williams, 7 August 2014
Artist's 100-Year Project Will Grow Books from Saplings, Hyperalleric, Jillian Steinhauer, 6 August 2014
Katie Paterson, In the Studio, The Independent, Karen Wright, Thursday 31 July 2014
The Turner-tipped artist who's out of this world, The Times, Mike Wade, 26 June 2014
Future Library, The Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring, 26 June 2014
Om hundre år kommer alt for en dag, Kunstkritikk, Mariann Enge, 23 June 2014
Tålmodighetens kunst, Dagsavisen, Espen Hågensen Rusdal, 20 June 2014
Katie Paterson Takes the Very Long View, Blouin ArtInfo, Scott Indrisek, 19 June 2014
Huffington Post (Japanese edition), June 2014
Listen to an in-coversation event with Katie Paterson and Ion Trewin, Chair of the Booker Prize, June 2014

Press release

Press contact: Anne Beate Hovind, Project Director, Bjørvika Utvikling
+47(0)909 42528, anne.beate.hovind@bjorvikautvikling.no

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