“A forest in Norway is growing.” So begins the cryptic text printed on a certificate for the Future Library, or Framtidsbiblioteket, an artwork by Scottish artist Katie Paterson that, over the span of a century, cumulatively builds a collection of written works viewable only to future generations. Since the project’s beginning, in 2014, one author from across the globe has been invited each year to contribute a piece of writing—anything from a poem to a short story, or a full-length book—which will be held in trust, unread and unpublished, until the year 2114. The certificate, which comes in a limited edition of 1,000, entitles its bearer to a full anthology of all 100 works, which will be printed on paper culled from the Future Library Forest, a grove of 1,000 trees planted by Paterson in 2014 just outside of Oslo, Norway. As the young saplings continue to flourish and mature, so too does the Future Library’s collection.
Now in its ninth year, the Future Library already holds a rich treasury of works from an illustrious international roster. The first author to contribute was Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood, followed by British novelist, comedian, and actor David Mitchell in 2015; Icelandic poet, novelist, and lyricist Sjón in 2016; Turkish-British author and political commentator Elif Shafak in 2017; and Korean author Han Kang in 2018. The most recent three works to be added to the collection—in 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively—are by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård, the Vietnamese American poet, essayist, and novelist Ocean Vuong, and Zimbabwean novelist, playwright, and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga. Each manuscript is deeded to the library during an annual handover ceremony in the Future Library Forest, where the name of the work is revealed, but nothing else. Writing for an audience that does not yet exist, authors forego the ability to commune over these works within their lifetimes.
In an era in which the years ahead feel more and more uncertain, the Future Library serves as an invitation to contemplate the scope of time that a century holds; since none of the founders and early contributors planting the seeds of the library will be alive to see its culmination, the project is, in essence, a nonreciprocal gift to future unborn generations. “It’s unique to be working on a project where I have to be constantly facing up to my own mortality,” Paterson says. “It’s touching, but also kind of difficult to imagine that future. But that’s also why I’m doing it.”
This year marked an especially momentous one in the library’s expansive timeline. In June, the Future Library Trust—a group established to “compassionately sustain the artwork for its hundred-year duration”—signed a 100-year contract with the City of Oslo to protect and care for the Future Library Forest. “This contract is a commitment to and trust in future generations, but also a symbol of the city of Oslo’s devotion to art, the environment, community, and the written word,” says Anne Beate Hovind, chair of the Future Library Trust. “One hundred years from now, I believe Oslo will continue to be a beacon of those ideals.”
Also in June, Knausgård’s, Vuong’s, and Dangarembga’s manuscripts were added to the collection in a special handover ceremony with Oslo’s mayor, Marianne Borgen, that resumed the annual tradition after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Alongside the previous years’ contributions, these titles will be housed in the Silent Room, a structure specially built to house the manuscripts in Oslo’s Deichman Bjørvika library. Designed by Paterson and the architects Lund Hagem and Atelier Oslo, the intimate interior is clad in wood from the trees that once stood where the Future Library Forest now grows.
For Paterson and others who have committed to sustaining the project, the Future Library now holds a profound significance, creating a bond that brings them back to the forest each year, and for the rest of their lives, to gather. “I take so much joy from this project, and it keeps surprising me,” Paterson says. “By going to the forest every year, I’m looking at the movement, the growth of the trees. I feel like I’m living my life alongside them.” It’s with a profound sense of forward-looking optimism that the Future Library continues to evolve, and with it, the trees, each inching steadily toward the future.
Lush fruit trees bursting over a roof. A canopy of plants covering a facade. Intricate bamboo constructions spiraling frVõ Trọng Nghĩa: Building Nature (Thames & Hudson), readers get an inside look into how the celebrated architect has embraced two core themes throughout
As the director of archives and brand heritage at the Michigan-based furniture powerhouse Herman Miller—now known as MilIni Archibong.
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The concept of the Golden Age was first introduced by the ancient Greek philosopher Hesiod, around 700 B.C., in a refereDesign Miami Basel (June 14–19), taking place at the Swiss city’s Messeplatz. Organized around the theme “The Golden Age: Rooted in the Pa
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May’s colors, textures, and sense of renewal seem to be essential ingredients in Paris-based artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet’s exuberant work. A self-described “spring and summer boy,” his expressive drawings—often made in watercolor or oil pas
How do the generation of Black Americans who grew up in the past 25 years reckon with the tragedies that play out in theThe Trayvon Generation (Grand Central Publishing), poet, educator, and scholar Elizabeth Alexander—who currently serves as the president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest humanities philanthropy in the UnEp. 52 of our Time Sensitive podcast)—explores these questions, and others, by meditating on race, class, trauma, justice, and memory, and their influences
In 1938, two years after completing one of his first realized public artworks, “History Mexico,” a sculptural, colored chis namesake museum in Long Island City, Queens, which he founded in 1985).
In the early 1860s, an advertisement in The New York Times offered $10,000 to anyone who could invent a new material for billiard balls. At the time, elephant ivory was the matercamphor, a waxy substance found in the wood of the camphor laurel tree. Though celluloid would later prove to be less than idea
Think about the last time you felt a sense of awe about the world. Perhaps you were hiking among trees in a lush forest,
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs (one-of-a-kind digital assets created using blockchain technology), have divided the art woEp. 59 of our Time Sensitive podcast), see them as pathways to a promising future, while others express concern around the sky-high price points and carbon emissions they generate.
A sobering 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization laid out the striking impacts industrial animal agriculture has
At 35, Maggie Doyne is the mother of more than 50 children. One is her biological child, who lives with Doyne, her husbaBetween the Mountain and the Sky: A Mother’s Story of Hope and Love (Harper Horizon), out last month. Through telling her extraordinary story, she demonstrates the life-altering power of
For most of the 20th century, breaking a sweat was seen as unladylike. Popular opinion considered working out dangerous
One afternoon in February of 1966, Stewart Brand took half a tab of LSD, sat on a rooftop in San Francisco’s North Beach
Eating ramen is a multisensory experience: the fragrant steam coming off of the broth, the slurping sound of enjoying thThe Art of the Ramen Bowl” (March 18–July 5) that’s on view at the Los Angeles location of Japan House, an initiative with additional hubs in Londonburi, the porcelain receptacles in which ramen is traditionally served, and renge, the compact, teardrop-shaped spoons that often accompany them, made by 30 leading artists, architects, and designers.
Anicka Yi’s intoxicatingly sensory installations don’t just surround the viewer—many of them literally permeate the body, their sEp. 14 of our At a Distance podcast), in which three industrial steel tanks saturate the air with an aroma concocted by fusing secretions from carpenter an
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Born in Grandin, North Dakota, in 1904, the artist Clyfford Still was among the first generation of Abstract Expressioni
In a single word, how does the future make you feel? A towering sculpture by architect Suchi Reddy, founder of the New Y
Darrin Alfred, the curator of architecture and design at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), has wrangled subjects as mesmerizi
Thick, wobbly lines branch out across a wall of Pace Gallery’s global headquarters in New York. Follow each stroke to itwomen, grandpas, and singers craning toward the ceiling, and donuts, hairs, and holes reaching into the ground. Part absurdist diagram, part heart-melting poem, and part consciousness-shifting artwork, thiDavid Byrne: How I Learned About Non-Rational Logic” (on view Feb. 2–March 19), a restorative survey of drawings the musician has made over the past two decades.
With their audacious, gravity-defying forms, skyscrapers have captured the public’s imagination for more than a century.Skyscraper Page, a zany website with a skyscraper discussion forum that has spread to some 100,000 threads. But what’s the point of obs
In the early ’90s, artist, aesthetics expert, and writer Leonard Koren was bathing at a hot-springs resort near the Japa
“Magazines may be a dying breed,” says Jon Kelly, a former Vanity Fair editor who founded its politics, business, and technology website, Hive, in 2015, after working as a staff editor for The New York Times Magazine and as a founding team member at Bloomberg Businessweek. (His career in media began at Vanity Fair, as an assistant to the legendary editor Graydon Carter.) “But magazine-style writing is always in vogue.” With this coPuck, a subscription-based website where elite writers tell insider stories that lie at the nexus of Hollywood, Wall Street,
At this and at every moment, the Earth, and all the species who reside on it, are pushing through time and space, surrou
The exhibition “AORA V: nature/nurture” (on view through Feb. 27, 2022) takes place within four tranquil galleries that, thanks to ample room-length skylights
Brooklyn design studio CW&T is on a mission to change our perspectives on time. To do so, it adapts everyday objects—including clocks, pens, patche
To Felix Burrichter, the German-born, New York–based founder of the biannual architecture and design magazine Pin-Up, life is a glorious cacophony of different voices, visions, and ideas—and he can’t get enough of them. “I’m never happy
Marked by a snow-white dial with a texture evocative of tree bark, the SLGH005 timepiece from the Japanese watchmaker Grand Seiko was informed by the shirakaba (white birch trees) that thrive in Japan’s northern region, particularly those near the company’s studio in Shizukuishi
A Fictional World Created by Toyin Ojih Odutola Calls Into Question Real-Life Systems of Power and Gender
New York–based Nigerian artist Toyin Ojih Odutola often uses her creations—eclectic multimedia drawings and works on papA Countervailing Theory” currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. through April 3, 2022, are possiblyIntersections,” a new body of work by artist Sanford Biggers, who was the guest on Ep. 66 of our At a Distance podcast, on view through Jan. 9, 2022.) Commissioned by the Barbican Art Gallery in London, where it was presented from August
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Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists Translate Nature’s Sonic Landscapes Into an Emotive Spectacle
To the attentive ear, symphonies abound—especially in the wild. Musician and author Bernie Krause has been recording natEp. 127 of our At a Distance podcast, has captured more than 5,000 hours of audio created by more than 15,000 terrestrial and marine species in some 2,000 h
When experiencing a crisis, some people see opportunities—for reflection, change, or innovation—that they might not recoAt a Distance podcast was created during (and as a result of) perhaps the widest-reaching calamity in human history—the Covid-19 pandAt a Distance: 100 Visionaries at Home in a Pandemic (Apartamento), out today, presents a selection of these conversations in physical form. The book’s introduction, writte
“The Hare with Amber Eyes” (on view Nov. 19, 2021, through May 15, 2022) is a remarkable, meditative exhibition at New York’s Jewish Museum basedNew York Times bestselling family memoir of the same name by London-based artist, author, and master potter Edmund de Waal (who was thEp. 99 of our At a Distance podcast). The show traces the history and migration of the artist’s relatives, who descended from Charles Ephrussi—a Paris-base
Gucci. The luxury fashion house’s name alone conjures up images of vibrancy, extravagance, experimentation, and offbeat latest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, she investigates how this “world” came to be by illuminating the house
Brooklin, Maine–based science writer and children’s book author Kimberly Ridley began her latest project by setting up aWild Design: Nature’s Architects (Princeton Architectural Press), out next week.
In the sphere of luxury fashion, Dior’s richness of history is practically unparalleled. As stylist Kate Young says, Diolatest episode of Hello Fashion, Young’s YouTube show created with The Slowdown, was filmed. In the episode, Young takes us through Dior’s aesthetic tr
In 1847, French jeweler Louis-François Cartier established a business that bore his last name and specialized in jewels
What does a trench coat represent? For stylist Kate Young, it’s a marker of sophistication, exploration, and evergreen slatest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, Young introduces us to the piece’s original architect—the British luxury f
The nonprofit collective MASS Design Group astutely understands how to promote equity and hope through the built environThe Architecture of Health (Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum), as well as the upcoming Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum exhibition “Design and Healing” (December 10–August 14, 2022)—MASS understands how architecture can impede or advance our collective human rights. (ThEp. 13 of our At a Distance podcast.)
Five years ago, under the cloak of darkness, New York–based floral designer Lewis Miller packed his team and 2,000 dahlias and carnations into a van, and headed for the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. W
Can clothing be at once opulent and utilitarian, traditional and unexpected, ugly and sublime? Can it be both a statemenlatest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, stylist Kate Young explains the ways in which the Italian luxury fashion h
According to business coach Holly Howard, those looking to run a flourishing enterprise should begin by taking a deeper Ask Holly How, in 2012. Since then, she’s worked with more than 500 businesses and founders, guided by the belief that effective entr
Tantric Buddhist practitioners use mandalas—circular, often ornate, symbolic representations of the universe that can apMandala Lab, an interactive multi-sensorial space that opens October 1 at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art, an institution dedicated
Luxury and utility don’t often go hand in hand. French fashion house Louis Vuitton, however, is a clear exception: As stHello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, the house—though now one of the world’s most recognizable fashion brands—wthe episode, Young walks us through the evolution of the house and its designs, which have consistently checked the boxes for both
As a stylist, Kate Young has a particular affinity for well-designed things—that is, iconic items that stand the test ofknow what Cartier is. It’s sexy. It’s French. It’s sort of, always, for me, rooted in the seventies.” To kick off Season 2 oHello Fashion, her YouTube show created in collaboration with The Slowdown, the stylist walks through some of the famed French jewelr
Since 1915, New York Public Library users in search of visual information have consulted its Picture Collection. It consists of images cut from magazines, catalogues, and books, each glued to backings and organized into folders enc
In branding and marketing, animal imagery abounds: Lacoste’s crocodile, Bacardi’s bat, Geico’s gecko, Swarovski’s swan, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), animals appear in approximately 20 percent of all advertisements. These creatures, however, receive little to n
In Chicago, more than 10,000 city-owned lots currently sit vacant, concentrated within predominantly Black and brown comChicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. Now, as the latter biennial’s 2021 artistic director, Brown further expands upon his project, using it to info
The title of Yves Béhar’s new monograph, Designing Ideas (Thames & Hudson), gets straight to the heart of the Swiss designer and entrepreneur’s 20-year career. After founding h
Floral jewelry has been a tradition of the French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels since it opened its first boutique atFlorae” (on view through November 14), presented alongside floret-filled photographs by Japanese photographer and film directo
In 1983, French photographer Simon Chaput arrived in New York City for a weeklong trip, and ended up staying for nearly –1991) in California and Japan to “The Floating Piers” (2014–2016) in Italy. Along the way, in 1984, Chaput met the artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who recognized Chaput’s love oNew York,” which he began in 1996, that chronicled the developing built environment of Lower Manhattan.
“In the last few years, something distinctly different has been happening in the ways that technologies come to market, The Economist, and launched a popular tech newsletter and podcast called Exponential View. (Last year, he discussed the present-day role of the smartphone, among other digital-related issues, as the guest on Ep. 56 of our At a Distance podcast.) Azhar cautions against the speed with which innovations such as artificial intelligence, automation, and big data emeThe Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology Is Transforming Business, Politics and Society (Diversion Books), out next week. With clarity and insight, he outlines new ways of thinking about technology, alongsid
Wassan Al-Khudhairi, the chief curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, is the curator of this year’s Focus, a Armory Show—one of America’s biggest art fairs, on view from September 9–12 at New York’s Javits Center—that features contemporary
The concept for Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley’s new book, Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine (MCD), began forming about 12 years ago, when the world looked considerably different from the way it does now. During aEp. 33 of our At a Distance podcast) noticed an old quarantine station turned luxury hotel on a picturesque peninsula across the bay. “Our first questions
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In 2018, contemporary art dealer David Zwirner hired the young Elena Soboleva to optimize his galleries’ online sales operation and digital presence—prompting some critics to respond with skepticis
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The underlying vision for “A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned,” a collaborative exhibition between the ASavannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SSCA) in Tamale, Ghana; and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (on view through November 3), is both literally and This is Not Africa: Unlearn What You Have Learned,” currently on view at ARoS through October 24, challenges stereotypical Western notions of African-ness.)
Omer Arbel, an Israeli-born, Vancouver-based artist and designer who creates boundary-defying objects and architecture, Omer Arbel (Phaidon), edited by Stephanie Rebick, an associate curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery, celebrates the depth and bread
As Paris emerges from lockdown and its streets come alive, the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, an art center Cherry Blossoms” (on view through January 2, 2022), an exhibition of expressively impastoed, large-scale oil paintings by British artistold the BBC. “My mum used to say, ‘There’s enough horror in the world. Why can’t you just paint flowers?’ So maybe she got to me.”
Los Angeles–based journalist Doree Shafrir sees beauty in the particular challenges faced by those who find their footin, pours her lighthearted yet critical perspective on her experience into Forever35, a self-care podcast she co-hosts with her longtime friend Kate Spencer, and into her new memoir, Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer (Ballantine Books), out this week. In the book, she interrogates the often overwhelming pressure that people—particular How do you start your mornings?
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Several years ago, Claus Sendlinger began contemplating ways to address his concerns about overdevelopment in the boutiqSlow, a hospitality venture dedicated to creating places that draw upon their locations’ culture, environment, and history aagriturismo (farmhouse retreat) called La Granja. The working farm practices regenerative agriculture, and teaches visitors how it
Maxine Bédat’s New Book Traces the Lifespan of a Pair of Jeans to Illustrate the Ills of Fast Fashion
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To stay healthy, we know that our bodies need nourishment, hygiene, and exercise. According to those who study neuroaestEp. 34 of our At a Distance podcast) who runs the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab)—an initiative at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine that connects brain scientists with artists to Arts + Health & Wellbeing, an immersive online tool kit that offers visitors an engaging dose of art, and consequent mental fitness, from anywherEp. 11 of our Time Sensitive podcast.)
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Practically everything the artist, master potter, and writer Edmund de Waal touches turns to dust. Or at least toward the idea of dust. In each of his books—2010’s The Hare With Amber Eyes, 2015’s The White Road: Journey Into an Obsession, and the just-published Letters to Camondo (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), out this week—dust serves as a profound metaphor. Throughout his work, whether in pottery or prose, de Waal explores various notions a
From a fashion perspective, the Golden Globes stands apart from other award shows for its timing: The event, during whicleft at that point,” says stylist Kate Young in the ninth episode of Hello Fashion (created with The Slowdown), noting that she usually starts working on Globes outfits around Halloween. For the episode
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Debates about whether encyclopedic museums—institutions that collect and contextualize cultural artifacts across time an—should act as more than mere repositories date back decades, but have taken on a new urgency as of late. Now, institutioEp. 12 of our At a Distance podcast), tackled these topics through interviews with nearly 30 leaders, and compiled the conversations in a new book, Under Discussion: The Encyclopedic Museum (Getty Publications). We recently spoke with Grau about the future of institutions and the layered, ever-evolving narra What central issues do encyclopedic museums face today, and what prompted you to explore them?
When attending runway shows, stylist Kate Young keeps her eyes peeled for premiere dresses—gowns to be worn by actressesOn the sixth episode of her YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, Young talks about her process for selecting and securing premiere dresses, and highlights f
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Frustrated by the high cost of wellness in America, Brooklyn-based journalist Annie Daly set out to find meaningful alteDestination Wellness: Global Secrets for Better Living Wherever You Are (Chronicle Prism), out May 11. What may sound like a travel writer’s cushy, decidedly pre-Covid boondoggle in fact offer
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The British-born, Brooklyn-based philosopher Simon Critchley has no shortage of interests. He’s written, in his refreshiThe New York Times, where he moderates its contemporary thinkers opinion forum, The Stone. For his forthcoming book, Bald (Yale University Press), out April 27, Critchley—who teaches philosophy at The New School for Social Research, and was tEp. 42 of our Time Sensitive podcast and Ep. 3 of our At a Distance podcast—compiled 35 of his favorite Times essays, forming an engaging series of short reads that suggest new ways of understanding the world. We recently spoke w
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When Goodnight Moon was first published, in 1947, the chief children’s librarian at the New York Public Library didn’t like that its story—Goodnight Moon’s honest presentation of sleep and solicitude still resonated with readers, who’ve since purchased more than 48 million
According to celebrity stylist Kate Young, anyone can figure out the look that works best for them by creating a mood bosecond episode of her new YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown. While her mood boards take various forms, including Pinterest boards and entire books of ph
Kate Young, the stylist for red carpet luminaries such as Sienna Miller, Margot Robbie, and Michelle Williams, grew up iVogue, and later, after several years in the Vogue fashion department, as fashion editor-at-large of Interview magazine. On her new YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, Young provides an inside peek, through her own distinct, high-low perspective, into the world. In the weekly series, which premiered on Tuesday, Young highlights the quality, craftsmanship, and enduring value of cthe debut episode, Young talks about how she and actor-singer Selena Gomez, a client of hers since 2014, created their latest project togRevelación. In addition to detailing the various looks—including a Valentino haute couture dress—Young FaceTimes with fashion iconHello Fashion as a whole. How did Hello Fashion come about? Why YouTube?
How Spanish Culture and Color Informed the Styling and Art Direction of Selena Gomez’s New “Revelación” Album
New York–based stylist Kate Young, one of Hollywood’s most highly sought-after, is known for putting the women she dressVogue. This week, Young debuted her new YouTube show, Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown, where she dives deep into the ins and outs of her trade, and the superior craftsmanship of first episode of the weekly series focuses on how she created a series of photographic art for musician Selena Gomez’s new album, “Re
Earlier this month, Francesca Johanson, editor of the Architectural League’s online publication Urban Omnibus, launched Memory Loss,” a new series with Guernica magazine. These essays seek out sites of remembrance in New York City, addressing a “continuum between private and publ
In the era of Covid-19, you might think that Julia Cooke’s book Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), out this week, was inspired by a longing for air travel, but you’d be wrong. “What I reall
How Snøhetta Translated the Ethos of Bronx-Based Chef Collective Ghetto Gastro Into an Experimental Kitchen
Three years ago, on New Year’s Eve in Havana, artist José Parlá introduced Craig Dykers, a founding partner of the archiSnøhetta, to Jon Gray, one-third of the Bronx-based chef troupe Ghetto Gastro. The two began what would become an ongoing converBurnside, an intimate, flexible café and culinary event space for the Tokyo creative agency En One. (Health restrictions have pr