The Library of Babel
—Jorge Luiz Borges
ABOUT Most stories by Borges do not “mean” something in the sense that this word is usually used. The narrator reminds his readers that even the word “library,” which to him means “ubiquitous and everlasting system of hexagonal galleries,” also means many other things in many other languages. It can mean “bread” or “pyramid” or “almost anything else.” “You who read me,” he addresses his audience directly, “are you sure you understand my language?” With such warnings, it is often foolhardy to close too quickly on one explanation of a Borges story and claim that it “means” one thing. He conceives of his stories more playfully and, often, more seriously than the quick application of a “meaning” would allow. “The Library of Babel” summarizes many different solutions to one intellectual puzzle: How do small, autonomous, and thinking men coexist with a world that is unimag- inably large and complex? Where is their significance in such a world.
Each wall of each hexagon is furnished with five bookshelves; each bookshelf holds thirty-two books identical in format; each book contains four hundred ten pages; each page, forty lines; each line, approximately eighty black letters. There are also letters on the front cover of each book; those letters neither indicate nor prefigure what the pages inside will say.
Reading a book is both a physical and a mental activity. It is like walking through a house, following the layout of the rooms with your body and mind: the movement from one room to another, or from one part of the book to another, constitutes an experiential narrative that is physical and conscious at the same time.
The short story narrates in a contemplative style the story of an infinite and complex library that is also a metaphor for the whole universe.
I've taken spatial approach to the brief that attempts to represent the mystic and magical place the library is said to be by combining complex wireframe graphics with experimental digital photography and mettalic materials.
TEXT ONLY — Short Story
IMAGE + TEXT — Sequence of images shot consequently with different focal lengths aims to represent the spectacular layout of the galleries.
IMAGE ONLY — 3D architectonical wireframe figures.