By Nora Vasconcelos
Recently, it was announced that the first book of the Future Library project had been delivered by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The manuscript, titled Scribbler Moon, will be published in 2114.
In an essay shared by the Future Library, Atwood considers this project “the material basis for the transmission of words through time… as a time capsule, since the author who marks the words down and the receiver of those words – the reader – are always separated by time.”
This project was developed by the Scottish artist Katie Paterson. Along with the collection of unpublished works, the futuristic plan includes an ecological component, as 1000 trees have been planted in a forest right outside the Norwegian capital, Oslo, so that the plants and the words will grow together in time. When the 100 years have passed, the manuscripts will be published, using the wood from these trees to produce all the paper needed.
Year after year, an author will deliver a new manuscript, in this case, David Mitchell is the one in charge of creating the next new literary piece, which is set to be delivered in 2016.
Quoting Chinese proverbs, Mitchel said about this challenge: “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.”
By this way, Mitchell sees this project as “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.”
According to the Future Library, all the manuscripts “will be held in trust in a specially designed room in the New Deichmanske Public Library”, which will opened its doors in 2018, in Oslo, Norway. There, 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.”