Painting Based on The Road

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection, Sketchbook

After reading The Road extract I wanted to create something in response to the imagery.

I only used burnt sienna acrylic paint to pare back the colours and add to the atmosphere.

I am pleased with my composition as it draws you along the road and the loose nature of the surroundings add to the atmosphere. It feels like the world is closing in on them but the road is giving hope.

Feedback from others

Great work on the shadows on the road!

Great atmosphere and draws your eyes to the distance really well

It reminds me of Russia!

Comparison of Alice Kettle and Ibrahim Mahama

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

For exercise 4: Comparative Analysis, I have chosen to compare Alice Kettle’s Thread Bearing Witness (2018) and Ibrahim Mahama, Material Effects (2015.

I was drawn to compare these two due to their contrasting use of fabric in their work. Fabric is something I work with a lot and it was interesting to see two vastly different employments of it with a lot of commonalities too.

Venn diagram comparing Alice Kettle and Ibrahim Mahama

The overall aesthetic of the two pieces couldn’t be more different. They both do construct with fabric as the basis but in a very different way. Thread Bearing Witness is a large scale work involving highly coloured and detailed embroidery (Whitworth, 2018). The pieces take fabric as the basis but then teams of people embroider using a huge variety of stitches and colours and a plethora of designs. The connecting feature is the theme of cultural heritage, migration and the role of embroidery as a domestic practice worldwide. The variety in the designs is as wide as the people creating them and each person has a story to tell through their creation. When they are displayed together there is a sea of colour from blues, reds, turquoise to golds and yellows and everything in between. Material Effects also uses fabric as the basis but takes a monotone look due to brown jute being the only fabric used. The effect is a wall of brown, again huge in scale but this time the focus isn’t on the variety of stitches and fabric techniques, the impact is in only one significant fabric being used throughout (MSU, 2020). Mahama only use jute to make his giant installations. Jute is a symbol of global industrialism and the associated labour with it. There are also strong links to the colonial past and its historical link to empire. Jute is predominantly produced in a few countries in Asia and Latin America and then circulates worldwide through international trade networks (Amarica, 2018). 

A strong theme that runs through both pieces is the politics of movement. In Kettle’s case, the focus is on the movement of people through migration and the impact on people’s lives. Migration is one of the defining issues of our time and will continue to be through climate change and global conflict. It can be easy for us in the West to sit and watch the news about refugees and migrants and detach ourselves from it. Kettle brings the people behind the news into the limelight and gives them an opportunity to share their creativity and stories. In a similar way, with his use of jute, Mahama highlights the hidden people in the global labour force. By using a material directly linked to Ghanian cocoa production, he shows the integral role African labourers have in producing goods for western consumers. Through this, both are giving a voice and stage to marginalised people.

The production of both pieces although they use very different techniques have some similarities. Both are produced by cooperation and community. Kettle gets groups of migrants together to produce pieces for the collection and Mahama and his many collaborators work together in communal settings, which are often former sites of production — abandoned factories, train stations, markets, or courtyards.


Ibrahim Mahama, Material Effects, (2015)

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

Ibrahim Mahama is an artist from Ghana that creates spaces of social intervention that probe the boundaries between artistic antagonism and civil participation. His preferred medium is that of the burlap sack – in particular, that which was imported by the Ghana Cocoa Board and repurposed by charcoal sellers (MSU, 2020).

Mahama only use jute to make his giant installations. Jute is a symbol of global industrialism and the associated labour with it. There are also strong links to the colonial past and its historical link to empire. Jute is predominantly produced in a few countries in Asia and Latin America and then circulates worldwide through international trade networks (Amarica, 2018). There is a huge amount of physical labour involved in the production of jute sacks and Mahama highlights this by adding one more step in the process – his deconstruction and reassembly into gigantic works of art. Mahama and his many collaborators work together in communal settings, which are often former sites of production — abandoned factories, train stations, markets, or courtyards (Documenta14, 2015). Mahama is trying to highlight the people behind the processes as described by Amarica (2018) ” Regardless of the integral role played by African labourers in this industry, their efforts and the lived realities of rural poverty remain relatively unknown to Western consumers enjoying a decadent and luxurious product, such as chocolate. Here, global capitalist markets not only estrange Western consumers from Ghanaian labourers but render the latter invisible. By making use of a material directly tied to Ghanaian cocoa production, Mahama brings these discussions to the forefront and makes clear that we are all connected to, if not complicit in, the unequal power relations of commodity production”.


Amarica, S. (2018). Jute, Entangled Labour, and Global Capital. Esse, 94, pp.52–59.

Documenta14 (2015). Ibrahim Mahama. [online] Available at:

Michigan State University (2020). MSU Broad. [online] msu broad. Available at:

Alice Kettle’s Thread Bearing Witness (2018)

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

Alice Kettle is an internationally acclaimed and respected embroidery artist who has challenged the boundaries of embroidery through her ambition to work to a scale quite immeasurable and in some cases almost beyond belief; Kettle is one of the key voices in the piece of work Thread Bearing Witness (Mitchison, 2018).

Thread Bearing Witness was a major series of large textiles, and other works, shown at the Whitworth, Manchester, that considered cultural heritage, refugee displacement and movement, while engaging with individual migrants and their creativity within the wider context of the global refugee crisis (Whitworth, 2018). It included collaborative works with refugees from Dunkirk, North West & South England made through contribution and co-creation and explore creativity as resilience the intangible cultural heritage skills of refugee women, children and unaccompanied minors. It embraced personal testimonies and textiles roles from the domestic to the spectacular and a chronicle of shared making (Manchester School of Art, 2021).

Thread Bearing Witness mainly covers the topic of migration, which is one of the defining issues of our time. Kettle uses textiles as a powerful medium through which to explore themes of cultural heritage, journeys and displacement. Embroidery is a domestic practice representing home-making, it is steeped in the history of trade routes with its global connections to production and pattern. It has also been used across time to portray world events, for example, the Bayeux Tapestry.


Comparative Analysis

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

Comparative analysis can be a way to deepen analysis and to give a fuller consideration of a subject or artist.

Things to consider:

  • Frame of reference – what is the theme, idea, question, or problem you are hoping to explore?
  • The grounds for comparison – why have you chosen these particular examples and do they fit into your meaningful argument?
  • Structure – will you work through each example individually as they build on each other? Or will you go point by point to compare aspects of each work?

Comparative Analysis of El Anatsui and William Kentridge

From The Shape of Time lecture, I have chosen to compare the work by El Anatsui and William Kentridge. Both are African artists who have produced work on the theme of time. When I initially watched the lecture, both artists grabbed my attention for techniques that I wanted to try and so I would like to explore their methods here.

El Anatsui is a sculptor from Ghana who now lives and works in Nigeria. He transforms simple, everyday materials into striking large-scale installations (Tate, 2016). William Kentridge is from a very different part of Africa, South Africa and is best known for his prints, drawings and animated films. His films are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again (Tate, 2010).

The techniques and media are different between the two artists but there are some fundamentals that are very similar. The theme of transformation over time runs through both sets of work. El Anatsui takes materials that he finds locally that have been discarded and there is a painstaking transformation of them into works of art. It is a very labour intensive process that turns the discarded into something beautiful. There is a strong theme of the value of time and how with enough time we can create wonders from very little, but that works of art require patience and effort. There is a similar concept with William Kentridge who does one initial drawing and then transforms it over time to create the final piece. To do so, he painstakingly erases and redraws the figures to take a new shot each time. Again, there is a labour of love and how a piece of art can evolve with time.

Another theme that runs through both artists’ work is the destruction of the natural world across different parts of Africa. With El Antsui the environmental connection comes from the use of the recycled items he finds. He highlights that there are materials dumped that can be used to create again and that in some parts of the world people have no choice but to reuse what they find. His use of bottle caps hints at topics such as global consumerism, waste and its history, including slavery. Kentridge too covers these themes. In Drawings for Projection the scene is set in a devastated Johanessburg landscape here you see factories, mine dumps and slime dams. With his style, you get the impression of the human impact on the landscape and how we have destroyed it. In Felix in Exile (Tate, 2019) there is a character who records the evidence of violence and massacre which is part of South Africa’s recent history. Felix himself is depicted as the humane and loving alter-ego to the ruthless capitalist white South African psyche.


Tate (2010). William Kentridge born 1955 | Tate. [online] Tate. Available at:

Tate (2016). Who is El Anatsui? | Tate. [online] Tate. Available at:

Tate (2019) “‘Felix in Exile’, William Kentridge, 1994 | Tate.” Tate, 2019,


Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis

What does an apple mean?

Apples appear in many religious traditions often as the forbidden fruit even though an apple specifically isn’t mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The apple has become a symbol of knowledge, immortality, temptation and sin. For example in Adam and Eve by Durer (1507).

There are other instances in the Bible where apples are used in a more positive way, for example, the phrase “the apple of your eye” is used in numerous places which implies an object of great value. In Solomon, the apple is used in a more sensual context and symbol of beauty.

Later in Christianity, it became the symbol of redemption from sin such as in Francisco de Zurbaran’s A Virgem da Maca (1660)

It is also often associated with Venus who is shown holding it as in Rossetti’s Venu Verticordia (1868).

The Trojan war was triggered by an apple – the apple of discord. The apple then became a symbol of evil and chaos through The Judgement of Paris.

Apple as an image of evil remained an interesting concept to many painters. For example, this surrealist painting by Ramaz Razmadze.

In Celtic mythology, the apple represents eternal wisdom and the apple tree is thought to be what the silver branch is made from. The silver branch represents the passage to the Otherworld and Bran’s journey to gain the wisdom to enter.

In Norse myths, apples were the source of immortality and perpetual youth, they were closely guarded by the goddess Iðunn. 

Apples continue to be a symbol of youth and vitality. Many painters use them to represent health.

More contemporary artists continue to use the apple motif. Rene Magritte’s Son of Man appears to return to the orginal sin and temptation representation.

Perhaps one of the most famous apples now. The apple computing logo also refers back to older meanings with Steve Jobs designing it to represent taking a bite out of knowledge.

Apples continue to be a sign of knowledge and learning. “An apple for the teacher” has turned into mass production of apple-shaped gifts for teachers.

Apples seem to have a paradoxical meaning when you look at them across cultures and times. There is a sense of mystery and history associated with them but also a conflict of meaning. Sometimes, good and sometimes bad. A “double-faced” symbol.

There are certainly common themes: forbidden fruit, sin, temptation, youthfulness, health, knowledge.

I am very aware though that my examples may cover a broad time period but they are quite narrow in terms of geography. I am left wondering what apples may mean in different cultures?

Reading Visual Communication

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

We are constantly ‘reading’ things to gather meaning. There are theories about how this works.


This was developed in the 1950s and suggested that human culture can be understood through structures like language. This was challenged by the later post-structuralists who acknowledged bias and the possibility of multiple interpretations.

Rene Magritte (1898-1967)

By Image taken from a University of Alabama site, “Approaches to Modernism”

The Treachery of Images (Magritte, 1929) was a set of images with an oil painting of an object like the pipe and the phrase “This is not a pipe” underneath. It represents a contradiction in what a painting is, it is both the object and not the object at the same time as it is only a visual representation of it. The painting ultimately reflects on the nature of language, drawing attention to the structure of signs we generally take for granted.


Semiotics is how signs are constructed and interpreted.

A sign is a signifier (the form of the sign) and the signified (the concept it represents). Many items are used symbolically to represent a concept, for example, crowns signify royalty. This is something that fascinates me as some things can be very representative of culture and may have different meanings in different communities and can change across time. For example, pigs. Pigs in ancient Celtic times represented abundance. In the Chinese zodiac, the pig represents honesty and determination, and children born under this zodiac are considered fortunate. Some cultures, however, view pigs as the opposite.

Denotation and Conotation

  • Denotation describes what can be seen and its literal interpretation (e.g. a piece of fruit called an apple).
  • Connotation describes the possible meanings that are suggested by the literal elements (e.g. in a Renaissance painting, an apple might symbolise temptation).

The Road – Cormac McCarthy Notes

Books & reading, Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

The Road is a 2006 post-apocalyptic novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. The book details the gruelling journey of a father and his young son over a period of several months across a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed industrial civilization and almost all life.

“He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the
knapsacks were essential things in case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome
motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them. He shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? He said. The boy nodded. They set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”

McCarthy (2006) p.4.

Why do we read texts that may leave us feeling wrung out or upset?

I think that this is a huge question that searches deep within the human psyche and is the same reason why people watch soaps like Eastenders with its daily dose of depression. Emotions of all kinds, positive and negative are what make us human. No other species seems to have the same extent and intensity of emotions as what we do. Feeling wrung out and upset connects us to other humans. I think there also could be a deal of it reminding us what the positives are in our own lives that we are to be grateful for.

Narration Types

The Road (McCarthy, 2006) uses a detached narrator, also called an omniscient narrator which is one that sees it all. The narrator builds the intrigue in the story by not giving us all the details at once, although they see everything, they make the story have suspense by not telling us it all.

Question Prompts

‘He’, the man, and ‘the boy’ are nameless. Why? Does their anonymity change the way we feel about the characters? Can we still care about them without names? Do they still have an identity without a name?

Names are such an important part of personal identity that it is difficult to identify them as actual people without one. However, this adds impact to the story here as these characters could be anyone, including people we know and love, or even ourselves. It gives an open-ended yet inviting nature to them and helps to include us in the story. In everyday events that we see, we don’t always know peoples’ names, but we can still relate to them as humans.

How can we tell they’re in danger? Are they fleeing danger or do they expect to encounter it along the way? What sort of danger? Human? Animal? Elemental?

There are clues in the narrative that they are in danger without it explicitly saying so. The fact they have essential items with them in an easy to move vessel, they aren’t just out for a stroll, they anticipate needing some equipment and they may need to run with it. They are also using the mirror to watch the road in what seems a nervous way. The dialogue between them seems nervous too, with the only question being “are you okay”, there is no room for small talk. We know from the description of the surroundings that there is ash, implying a disaster, maybe a volcano eruption? The country is described as “wasted” and “empty” implying some kind of event has taken place leaving the world in ruins. We are left to guess the cause of this.

The chrome motorcycle mirror tells us the time is roughly contemporary. So what’s happened to the rest of the recognisable contemporary world? Or is the story set in the future? Post-apocalypse maybe?

We are left to our own imaginations as to what has happened. All we know is at least two people survive, the rest of the world seems empty and desolate. We know roads and chrome mirrors exist so the world had had some technology but we know nothing else of the date. This adds to the suspense and relatability as it could be a world we live in.

They are alone: ‘The road was empty.’ Where is everyone? Why are they scared if no one is around? Because no one is around? Because someone might be around?

Being alone is scary. Quietness is unsettling and your imagination can run il about what is out there. Maybe they have already encountered something? At this point, we don’t even know if they are related or not.

There’s been some sort of disaster: ‘wasted country… dead reeds … shuffling through the ash …What sort of disaster might it be?

Ash implies destruction. Maybe a volcano eruption, maybe a nuclear war, maybe wildfires. We are left to guess at this stage.

They’re on a journey with everything they own. Where are they going? Where have they come from?

All we know is that they are travelling down a road. We don’t know where they have come from, other than a place where they could gather some essentials and a cart. We don’t know where the road goes or if they even know where it goes.

The road is mentioned two times in these few lines. It is also the title of the book. What does it symbolise?

The road symbolises hope and a way out. As long as there is a road to still travel down there is a chance they can find relief at the end of the road. It symbolises their journey to find an exit to the situation they have found themselves in.

Can you spot any poetic devices in this short passage? What effect do they have?

Cormac uses metaphor throughout the piece. The man pushing the cart could be an extended metaphor for the man trying to push through this devastating situation he has found himself in. This gets repeated in the use of “shuffling through” as if movement isn’t easy, there is a sense of struggle. There is also some great use of imagery and personification with the river being described as “serpentine” we can immediately picture what it looks like. The light too is “gunmetal” which evokes far more imagery and description than if was called grey.

What other stylistic language choices does McCarthy make and why? Why might he not punctuate speech?

The language There is also a lot of the “sh” sound, giving the passage this quiet feel to it in “pushed”, “shoulders”, “shore”, “shuffling” which adds to the eerie sombre mood. There is no punctuation in the speech to make it almost seem quiet and blended into the background too. The dialogue is not the main focus, it gives the impression the characters don’t speak much to each other. They are just focused on the road and land around them.

What features give us a sense of where we are? How does McCarthy create a post-apocalyptic world? Would the impact be the same if he were to remove the man and the boy? Look carefully at the imagery, for example, the grey ‘serpentine of the river’ and ‘the gunmetal light’. What is it about the choice of metaphor that creates a sense of danger? What does the serpentine symbolise? Think biblical perhaps. What effect will biblical and religious imagery, themes and symbols have in this genre of writing?

The man and boy are the focus despite being mentioned so little. If they were removed from this scene you wouldn’t get the same sense of emptiness and isolation as it could be a world where people aren’t important at all. Including them in the scene highlights that people have a role in this situation, perhaps they were the cause of it.

By using serpentine we get a very specific image of what the river looks like, it also gives it a dangerous feel that it is a place to avoid. Snakes represent danger but more specifically hidden danger like something that is about to sneak up and attack you. Biblical themes add to the apocalyptic feel with images from the Book of Revelation and a final judgement.

What’s the prose style like? Are the sentences long or short? Are they rhythmic or choppy or stark? What impact does this have? Is the language complex or simple? Often the more dramatic or dark a piece is, the more simple and stripped back the prose. Why might this be? What would be the effect of more flowing, colourful and detailed prose?

The prose is direct and to the point, it represents a world where colour and detail have been lost. There is no time to spend on flowery descriptions, no luxury or grandeur, this is a world that is bleak and you need instinct to survive. The sentences are short with more questions than answers as there would be living in a world like this. It adds to the atmosphere and drama and makes us want to read on to find out the answers.


Cormac Mccarthy (2006). The road. London: Pan Macmillan.

ArtxHistory Archive

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

ArtxHistory is “a space facilitated by institutions, historians, curators, artists, faculty and students who are committed to deliver quality scholarship that is accessible, inclusive and open. Co-facilitators are encouraged to reach us to share content or assist in the growth of this framework.”

After looking at Katie Paterson’s Future Library I spent some time looking at recent works also on the theme of climate change. One artist that stood out to me is Doug Aitken and in particular his Mirror (Aitken, 2013).

Mirror is a large outdoor installation on the Seattle Art Museum that consists of a 12-story LED display that wraps around the facade. The video shows a mixture of video and stills all taken by Aitken in and around Seattle that shows the landscapes, cityscapes around the museum. “The imagery you see moves at a slow, thoughtful pace. But what really matters is that Mirror’s imagery is dynamic, to the point of being spontaneous. This is because the content shown on the screens and LED strips is selected by the installation’s software in response to sensor data regarding the weather, pedestrian traffic and other events unfolding in and around SAM” (Careless, 2013).

The mirror doesn’t just show a planned slideshow, it responds to its environment. In some ways, it is the modern equivalent of The Spiral Jetty (Smithson, 1970) in that the artist constructs it but then passes it over the other elements. to evolve it and the finished product is left to nature.


Critical Analysis of Future Library by Katie Paterson

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 2: Encountering Time - A Critical Analysis, Research & Reflection

In this exercise, we are asked to go back to a particular work from The Shape of Time lecture and engage with the work in more depth. I feel to some extent that I already did this with The Spiral Jetty in project one and so have decided to focus this time on Katie Paterson‘s The Future Library (Paterson, 2014)

As I wrote in my initial write up about Paterson, I was drawn to her work as anything with a scientific slant like this always grabs my attention. It also seems to fit in with what Grayson Perry suggests as one characteristic of an artist in Playing to the Gallery (Perry, 2014) that artists should just enjoy the process of making. Paterson is very unlikely to ever see the full impact of her work, as it won’t be finalised until 2114. She won’t see the reception it gets, the fame that goes with that, she is simply creating something for others to enjoy and contemplate.

Formal Elements

Future Library is a forest that has been planted in Norway. The trees that have been planted will be used to produce an anthology of literature in 100 years time. For each of the 100 years between 2014 and 2114, one writer a year will contribute a text that will be locked away until 2114 when it will be published (Paterson).

In terms of formal element analysis, it is a little more difficult to stick to the starting points mentioned here. It is difficult to categorise Paterson’s work as art, lens-based or literature. This brings up a point from How to Write About Contemporary Art (Williams, 2014) that with contemporary pieces, we need a different language than the traditional formal elements.

Wider Contextual Information

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.

We are living in an era where climate change and the environment are at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds but simultaneously not in terms of action. People are detached from nature and where products come from and the time taken for nature to produce them. We live in an era of convenience where books can be bought at a click of a button and downloaded, or even physically bought at the same time as your supermarket shopping. Future library reminds us of time, of nature and how we can interact with nature in a slow way to enjoy it to its fullest.

Existing Interpretations and My Analysis

Using the library search function I have found a lot of existing interpretations. An interesting piece is by Paulina Mickiewicz in Esse which is a Canadian based contemporary art periodical. In the article, any questions based on Future Library are raised “Am I a writer of my times? Who do I write for? How much does the response of the reader matter to me? What is in a text that makes it timeless? And for some of us, it poses the hardest question of all: Will there be people in the future who understand the language I write in?” (Mickiewicz, 2017). This element of the piece I had not considered at all as I had focused mainly on Katie Paterson’s role and feelings towards it. There is a whole other side of the work which is the contributions of the authors who write the yearly manuscripts. They too will never see the response to their work, they are unlikely to be alive when their work finally gets published and enjoyed. I agree the most difficult question of all is if people will even understand the work, will people even read paper-based books at all in 100 years time? As Mickiewicz describes the Future Library as “A critical reflection and commentary on our old infrastructures of knowledge (will the book in paper format still exist in a hundred years?”. Margaret Atwood is one of the authors contributing and she is famed for her dystopian look at the future, in Handmaids Tale the women of the future aren’t allowed books at all, will this be a scary reality?

On the whole, I do agree with this interpretation of the work but it wasn’t my first thought. My initial focus and what I feel is an even stronger topic to reflect on is the role of the forest itself rather than the content of the books.

Another interpretation is by Michaela Bronstein (2019) in the PMLA journal. Again, Bronstein focuses on the books written more than the forest itself, but this isn’t surprising as it is in a modern language journal. What this does highlight to me is the wider appeal of artwork to other disciplines and how we can use art to further our thinking and understanding across academic areas. Bronstein writes not as an artist, but as someone interested in literature and yet here is a whole journal article inspired by a piece of art. Bronstein argues that “writing for the future, writing away from history, can be a progressive and even utopian act” and that the artwork encourages us to reflect on what we are leaving behind for future generations. This is more along with my initial thoughts about the artwork. I think more than anything it forces us to think not too far into the future. One hundred years is just out of reach for us but will impact generations that come after us that we will have intimate knowledge of, they are probably our grandchildren that we will hopefully meet. Climate change does make the future immediate, the actions we take now have a direct impact and we have a responsibility for the future that future Library reminds us of.


Bronstein, M. (2019) “Taking the Future into Account: Today’s Novels for Tomorrow’s Readers,” PMLA/Publications of the Modern Language Association of America. Cambridge University Press, 134(1), pp. 121–136.

Mickiewicz, P. (2017), “The Library of 2114”, Esse, vol. 89, pp. 40-49.

Paterson, K. (2014). Future Library.

Paterson, K. Future Library. [online] Available at:

Perry, G. (2014). Playing to the Gallery : Exploring the modern relationship between society and art. London, Uk: Penguin Books Australia.

Williams, G. (2014). How to write about contemporary art. Thames & Hudson.