The Library of Babel


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.


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.

Text (1)
~ Short Story

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 unimaginably large and complex? Where is their significance in such a world.

︎ 290x214mm
︎ close-up photography

Image only (2)
~ Light refraction

To generate imagery for ‘the library’ I’ve taken a rather magical approach to the brief. Nearly accidentally I found myself shooting a window made of diffusion glass arranged ihexag
onal shapes (as shown above). The pictures on the left were obtained by capturing those tiny squares with a macro lens. The light refraction of the light  being the glass surprised me with these incredible visual universes that couldn’t better represent Borges’s spectacular outlook of the library’s galleries.

︎ 350x274mm

3D architectonical


Wireframes (3)
~ Library 3D visualization

The final format combines image-making through vectorial figures. Thesere are wireframed constructed on very simple hexagonal patterns such as the one above. The results better contribute for a three dimensional representation of the rooms and respectives layouts described in the book. The galleries and the objects wetre obtained through the use of different topologies to represent it.

Acrobat Reader