Deep Time Library 

2019

Deep Time Library
Engraving after a drawing by John Clerk of Eldin (1787) of the unconformity at Jedburgh
Tomes of Time
Deep Time Library
Deep Time Library (detail)
Deep Time Library (detail)
Deep Time Library


James Hutton's Theory of the Earth, Volumes 1 & 2 (in Four Parts)  (1795) were the first serious proposals that the Earth was ancient, well beyond accepted Biblical accounts of 6000 years. He wrote that the Earth was so old that it had, "No vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end."

The Earth is actually 4.54 (4,540,000,000) billion years old., a span so un-intuitive as to evade apprehension. Deep Time Library is a scale model of the Earth's deep history, with each leaf of paper representing 10,000 years - a span often considered the age of "human civilization."

 

These books and their 454,000 pages were all reclaimed by hand from the University of Kansas and Lawrence Public Library systems. A layered, sedimentary rock face, an accretion of knowledge, a pile of books. 

 

This sculpture is part of of the project Theory of the Earth, Volume 4, which considers how we, in the Anthropocene, are collectively writing Hutton's last, uncompleted Volume 4, both literally and figuratively inscribing ourselves onto the planet, and the once sovereign Book of Nature.

Go to the companion works in Theory of the Earth, Volume 4 :

- Deep Time Library & Archive

                                                - Text and Texture, Books of Nature

                                                                                                            - Worlds We Might Live On

                                                                                                                                                           - Earth, 1934 (definition, Dust Bowl)

 

- Our Planet-Sized Fact (average global temperature change, 1895–2018, after Ed Hawkins)

 

Deep Time Library

top (detail)