Katie Paterson

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 1: The Shape of Time, Research & Reflection

One of the creative pieces in Doug’s lecture that inspired me was Future Library by Katie Paterson. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what grabbed my attention. My background is science initially and so I guess I am always drawn to pieces that have a scientific slant to them. I also am really intrigued by the time element, that the work won’t be complete for 100 years, so the artist herself is unlikely to ever see the full reward of her work. This on one view seems a very selfless act, she is leaving something that only others will be able to enjoy and she will never know how the final reveal is received. The choice of 100 years is interesting as it is just out of reach of most people’s lifetimes but not too far in the future to be incomprehensible. It seems tantalisingly close, but just out of reach.

Katie Paterson is a Scottish contemporary artist. Her works have a lot of ecological themes. Her graduation piece Vatnajökull (the sound of), featured a mobile phone number connected to a microphone submerged in a lagoon beneath Europe’s largest glacier. Related work includes Langjökull, Snaefellsjökull, Soheimajökull, in which the soundscape of melting glaciers was created by making LPs from ice consisting of glacier meltwater. She has also done projects where she mapped 27,000 known dead stars.

Future Library

A forest has been planted in Norway, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in 100 years time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unread and unpublished, until the year 2114. The manuscripts will be presented in a specially designed room in the new public library, Oslo. Writers to date include Margaret Atwood (2014), David Mitchell (2015), Sjón (2016), Elif Shafak (2017), Han Kang (2018), Karl Ove Knausgård (2019), and Ocean Vuong (2020). http://katiepaterson.org/portfolio/future-library/

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Other Works

Many of Paterson’s other creations are really interesting to me too.

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  • Timepieces: A series of nine clocks that tell the time on the planets in our solar system and Earth’s Moon. The durations of the day and night range from planet to planet, from the shortest on Jupiter to the longest on Mercury. Each clock is calibrated to tell the time in relation to the other planets and to Earth. http://katiepaterson.org/portfolio/timepieces/
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