The Norwegian library with unreadable books appears on the BBC website and is by Richard Fisher. Mr. Fisher is a senior journalist for BBC Future and tweets @rifish. He writes the newsletter The Long-termist’s Field Guide, and is the author of an upcoming book called The Long View (Wildfire/Headline).
“Some of the world’s most celebrated authors have written manuscripts that won’t be published for a century – why? Richard Fisher visits the Future Library in Oslo to find out.
“One recent Sunday morning, in a forest north of Oslo in Norway, more than 200 people gathered to watch a ceremony. They had walked in a procession – some with their dogs, others their children – along gravel trails, directed by arrows on the ground made from sprinkled wood shavings. The air carried a scent of pine needles, burnt logs and strong Norwegian coffee.
“At their destination – a recently planted forest – the people sat or crouched on a slope dotted with spruce trees. Each tree was still only around 1m (3ft) tall, but one day, when the spruces are more than 20-30 times the size, they will provide the paper for a special collection of books. Everyone there knew they would not live to see that happen, nor would they ever get to read the books.
“This was the 2022 Future Library ceremony, a 100-year art project created to expand people’s perspectives of time, and their duty to posterity. Every year since 2014, the Scottish artist Katie Paterson – along with her Norwegian counterpart Anne Beate Hovind and a group of trustees – has invited a prominent writer to submit a manuscript, and the commissioning will continue until 2113. Then, a century after the project began, they will all finally be published...”
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