Earth Library 2009

Monday, 26 May 2014 21:47 Written by Mariana Dellekamp
The LIBRARY OF THE EARTH consists of a continuous collection of earth from across the world. Each portion of earth is stored in an acrylic book-shaped box. It comes from different locations and people, who were invited to take part in this project. This collective quality and the generous intervention of various persons are vital to its understanding. The Library is created through an open process.
Over the last two years, I have sent several announcements throughout the world, asking people to send me earth from their surroundings or travels. These announcements were distributed in various online social networks and traditional printed media.

When the earth reaches my hands, it is placed inside these book-shaped acrylic boxes. This turns the earth into a book – container – of all the information that it carries. This project was a collaboration with other persons – those who sent the earth – who became the authors of the book.

The social networks created to produce the project are represented in a silkscreen print of a map of the world, indicating the origins of each book and the author’s relationship with me. Some of them are friends of mine, who then invited their friends. Other authors learnt about the project on Internet or through friends. I have not met all of these people personally, as we have always corresponded through virtual and physical mail. When I published the announcement online, people approached me in various ways. Some decided not to send earth and instead sent other kinds of organic matter, a welcome contribution to the diverse contents of the library. Like a traditional library, this bookcase contains several authors of various origins.

Because of the size and characteristics of the library, I decided to exhibit the work in several stages, so that more people could learn about the project and collaborate in it. The installation invites the viewer to participate in the project, and these new collaborations constantly add to the collection. The project was exhibited for the first time at the Modern Art Museum in Mexico City during winter 2009-2010, a sample of 200 books. During winter 2010-2011, the Library was displayed in the library of the Conejo Blanco in Mexico City, and the books were placed inside the library's art section. Today, the library has 340 books and is still growing.
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