Library for the Wires

E-reader Library Series #1

copper wire, paper, adhesive

Private Collection

For me, books have always symbolized nature and a connection with our physical world. Paper, ink, sewing thread, sewing supports, and covering materials can all be derived from various plant and animal sources. They combine to form an object that seems to spring from the earth – almost as much as it does from human imagination and understanding. In contrast to this, recent communication channels and the transmission of ideas electronically seems artificial, plastic, and sterile. In this piece I am trying to resolve the conflict of these two methods of information delivery. E-readers, with inorganic materials like metal and plastic, deliver objects that have traditionally been so organic in nature and tied to a human world. Almost anyone could make a book from materials found in their home or immediate surroundings. Almost no one can make an e-reader, considering the hardware and software needed, while sitting in at home.

Formed out of recycled materials, the copper wires assume the shape of a tree that grounds the books to the earth. The small-scale of the books hanging on the tree framework, dominated by the mass of wires, symbolizes the way that electronic devices used to deliver e-books end up dominating electronic texts, both in a physical form and in an economic one. This supremacy of the wires over the traditional book symbolizes the ever-increasing movement towards electronic delivery of information that is happening in American libraries. I’m afraid at some point that we will no longer be able to see the library for all the wires. In fact, some people envision (and even look forward to) the library of the future containing no physical books at all.