Margaret, Manuscripts and the Moon

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There’s a good story in the Guardian today about Margaret Atwood’s latest manuscript, which is going to be buried for one hundred years as a part of The Future Library Project, the creation of Scottish artist, Katie Paterson. It’s a terrific idea, so I went over to Paterson’s website to see what she had to say about it.

A forest has been planted in Norway, 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 Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished, until 2114.

The texts will be held in a specially designed room in the New Public Deichmanske Library, Oslo. 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.

This is intriguing stuff, and Paterson has produced a lot more work that is really worth looking at. For me, even more intriguing than the Future Library Project, is her “Earth-Moon-Earth”: Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata translated into Morse code, sent as radio signals to reflect off the surface of the moon, returning in fragmented form to earth, and then re-scored with all the “gaps and absences” where the signal has been lost somewhere in the shadows and craters.

It’s a lovely idea, and really worth taking a look.

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