More than 200 people started the morning of 25 May with a 30-minute stroll from Frognerseteren station to the heart of Nordmarka. The crowd was gathered as South Korean writer, Han Kang, submitted her manuscript to Future Library in an official ceremony. Best known for her book The Vegetarian, Kang is the fifth author invited by Scottish artist Katie Paterson to be part of the Future Library project. Other novelists who have made the same trek and who have contributed works include the now-famous Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell. Marianne Borgen, the Mayor of Oslo, along with a group of international journalists were also present. Media coverage included The Guardian, Le Figaro, Vogue Korea, German TV and BBC.
Adults, children and dogs were sitting on the ground amongst the tiny trees of Future Library, listening as Han Kang revealed the name of her manuscript: Dear Son, My Beloved. Kang was holding a white cloth, which was a reference to her experience with the project. “It’s like my script marrying the forest, or like a funeral where this script longs for a rebirth, or like a lullaby for a century-long sleep,” said the writer. According to Kang, a piece of white fabric is used for side snap shirts for infants, mourning clothes and bedding in South Korea. “This is time to say goodbye,” she gently said in her closing remarks.
The conversation later continued at Deichman Public Library, between Han Kang and BBC’s Rosie Goldsmith.Knut Skansen, Head Deichman PublicLibrary, introduced the program and history of Future Library. Back in 2014, one thousand Norwegian spruces were planted in the woods of Oslo to be used to print 100 books a century from now. Every year, an author is chosen to leave an unread manuscript that will be revealed in 2114. The manuscripts are stored in a specially designed room, lined with wood from the forest in the new Deichman Library, opening this year.
Conceived by Katie Paterson, Future Library is commissioned and produced by Bjørvika Utvikling, and managed by the Future Library Trust. The project is supported by Oslo Business Region, the city of Oslo, Agency for Cultural Affairs and Agency for Urban Environment, Osloregionen and VisitOslo. The room in the Deichman Library is designed by the artist, Lund Hagem, and architects from Atelier Oslo.
Oslo Business Region has been a supporting partner (digital media) of the handover ceremony since 2014.
Photo credits: Bjørvika Utvikling by Kristin von Hirsch