In 1941 the Argentinian write Joge Luis Borges published a series of short stories including “The Library of Babel”. He imagined a seemingly endless library containing all possible books of 410 pages and 25 characters. This story has spurred the imagination of many filmmakers, artists and writers, from Umberto Eco’s “Name of the Rose” to Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”. Artist Jonathan Basile embarked on the epic project of creating a virtual library and succeeded brilliantly. On his website Library of Babel it is possible to browse to the library and export a copy. But how could one of these books look like in reality?
Borges’ description of the architecture is vague and contradictory, but the books are outlined in sufficient detail to be recreated. The books above are my homage to Borges and his fictional library. Thanks to the work of Jonathan Basile I was able to easily create a sample book. The thicker book is designed according to Borges’ description of the Library’s book and contains pure gibberish save for one coherent sentence. It’s title is: k ,d n xegocyhxwdimpfkqte
The thinner one is an appendix containing some extra material about Borges and “The Library of Babel”. It is divided in three parts, the first is about Borges, the second contains essays of architects, mathematicians and writes about “The Library of Babel” and the third is a collection of precursors to Borge’s short story. It also contains his original Spanish version and the English translation by himself and Norman Thomas di Giovanni.
Printed in 2016.