Mushrooms + 40,000 Discarded Books = 1 Garden of Knowledge
Image: Thilo Folkerts
With electronic reader gadgets like the Kindle changing the way we read, could good ol' fashioned books become an endangered species of sorts? Either way, there's still nothing quite like the living and tactile experience of seeing, touching and smelling the pages of real book. "Long live the book," we say -- a sentiment that's reflected in this amazing library garden and art installation made of 40,000 books, a temporary reader's paradise nestled in a beautiful natural setting in Quebec's picturesque Lower St. Lawrence region.
Designed by a Berlin-based team of Canadian artist-designer Rodney LaTourelle and landscape architect Thilo Folkerts, the Jardin de la Conaissance (Garden of Knowledge) seeks to introduce the book as not only a structural garden element of wall, bench and bed, but also as a growing medium.
Sandwiched within and between the reclaimed and decomposing books are several edible species of mushrooms like oyster and winecap, an intervention that highlights the living, ephemeral and cyclic character of these artefacts.
According to the artists, by "exposing these fragile and supposedly timeless cultural artefacts to the processes of decomposition... The garden becomes a sensual reading room; a library; an information platform; an invitation to a provocatively foreign realm of knowledge." Which is to say, the living qualities of both the garden and the library as cultural repositories are brought out in this skillful blending of the two.
The installation, which will be composted and recycled once it's over, is part of the 11th International Garden Festival in the Jardins des Métis, a local botanical wonder that was once a fishing camp -- all with a fascinating history of its own.
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