HIGH MOUNTAIN CULTURE ARK - SPAIN SEND A BOOK
[collection] [books] [seed bank]
The Library project is building a physical archive for the long term preservation of books and seeds, individuals find important enough to send or hand over to us. All depending on their action to do so. Realizing a mirror of what man truly find important to safe, stripped of all theoretical discussions and critics about what it should store. In this way creating a collection of cultural artifacts, based on the input from persons who are committed to the mission of the project. Correct, the project has no clear pre-outlined view or concept about what to store or not. The founders opted to simply build-as-we-go, within the fluidity of contemporary society. Building up a collection of materials, animated only by the future beholder's distinctly creative and attentive gaze as truly valuable, or rather a kind of accumulated waste.
There is a recurrent topic in sustainability related literature, blogs and podcasts, in which it is promoted to collect and carefully store an assortment of books intended to help communities transit the energy descent and regenerate after collapse. It is also an important theme in medieval history. We are familiar with the ancient Greek and Roman classics, only because the books were deliberately preserved through the Dark Ages by monks and others who recognized their worth. However, we do also remember the dangers of storing controversial and revolutionizing information, resulting into the numerous intentional libricides, which constituted an unrecoverable damage to cultural heritage. Not to mention the sometimes brutal prosecution of its preservers. Therefore it was very crucial to embed the library project in a wider distributed network of anonymous and concealed repositories. If we are successful and lucky enough to prevent total robbery or destruction of the repository by looters, oppressive governments or war, then this set of cultural materials might last for centuries and could be beneficial in ways that we cannot predict.
The library project's attempt is to seek that the basic knowledge essential to humanity will be available when it is needed. The ambition is therefore not to preserve one copy of every published work. The universe of titles has been estimated at close to several hundred million items. Many of these are rare or unique, so we do not expect even a minuscule fraction to be send to our project. But the opportunity to preserve over hundred thousands items is possible.
The project hopes to mobilize people to collect now, when books are still common and easily available, 24/24. To this end, we propose that you send us a book as a legacy for the future: It could be a book about history, art, science, technology, craft, spirituality, nature, poetry, philosophy, or even fiction. When you have selected a book. Write a personal note in it if you like, wrap it and label the package well. Then send it to our postbox in Spain, where it will be handled and stored in the library. Someday, we'll all be glad you did.
Early 2010 the Mataha Foundation started to buy hundreds of books about medicine, agriculture, animal keeping, architecture, food preservation, nuclear protection,… to offer the culture ark project already the most fundamental information for the times ahead. In 2011 the Mataha Foundation continued its acquisition program with the purchase of regional maps, a world atlas, star charts, dictionaries, science handbooks, and a complete encyclopedia. Mid 2011 the Mataha Foundation continued its program with Western and Eastern canon literature books, philosophy, spirituality and art. In 2012 we started our 'send a book' program on this website, which is bringing in valuable books on a steady basis from around the world. The Mataha Foundation is currently soliciting book donations from publishers. However, many more books are welcome to cover the wide arch of essential knowledge. We encourage people to keep on sending.
The facility is managed by the Mataha Foundation, though there are no permanent staff on-site. Founder Louis De Cordier who lives and works in the Alpujarras, is personally coordinating the handling of the books. Prior to the storage in the repository, all copies and documents are archived manually and separately vacuum sealed to meet the highest standards for preserving books. The vacuum sealing method facilitates long-term preservation of organic library materials by excluding a wide range of decay environmental factors. Key decay factors include; time, relative humidity, pests, pollutants and light exposure. Particulate and gaseous pollutants such as soot, ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can cause dust, soiling, and irreversible molecular damage to materials. Pollutants are exceedingly small and not easily detectable or removable. The strong airtight and watertight vacuum plastic-mylar bags give protection against all pollutants, but also light, atmospheric pollution, floods, damp, mould, mildew, insects, and even rough handling and damage in transit. All to extend the shelf life of the books (and seeds) as long as possible. A future ultimate way of preserving written knowledge will be to laser the current vast amounts of digital available books, on a special designed high durable and time resistant rolls of plastic foil. Bringing back alive the old time bookrolls.
Garden seeds more than anything else are living cultural links in an unbroken chain reaching far back into antiquity. It can't be overstated how much amount of history is contained in seeds, both what has come before and what may potentially come after their brief involvement. (Makes you wonder about ourselves as living human beings.) Our Stone Age ancestors began identifying and domesticating food plants thousands of years ago, with the simple act of selecting seeds for replanting. Sustaining themselves for millennia with healthy food. The library's seed vault hopes to act as a focal point for preservation and encourage public interest in traditional vegetables, fruit, grains and herbs. The project's seed collection benefits from the cooperation by a network of organic growers committed to collecting, conserving, and sharing heirloom seeds.
Our local seed mission is to strengthen the Alpujarran garden heritage for hard times, by building up a collection of saved seeds. With the goal of making old-time varieties freely available to the local gardeners, when they become more interested out of necessity to save seeds themselves, instead of buying commercial Hybrid varieties. Non-Hybrid or Open-Pollinated seeds allow the gardener to collect seeds from a crop for future planting. Hybrid seeds do not. An open-pollinated (OP) variety is one that breeds true from seed, meaning the seed saved from the parent plant will grow offspring with the same characteristics. OP seed is produced by allowing a natural flow of pollen between different plants of the same variety. Alpujarran heirloom varieties are OP varieties with a long history of being cultivated and saved within the isolated rural area. This often resulted in the seeds slowly developing resistances to local diseases and insects, and also gradually becoming well adapted to the unique climate and soil conditions in the gardens throughout the Alpujarras. In contrast to the Global Svalbard seed vault, the library project is not located on a death frozen island, near the North Pole. It's embedded in one of the most active organic gardener cultures in the world today. In a area which is GMO free, internationally protected as a biosphere reserve and a well-known historic safe heaven for garden varieties, such as numerous delicious tomatoes, peppers, beans, potatoes, carrots, corn, squash, lettuce, garlic, wheat… Sowing the seeds for tomorrow.
1 Destruction of the Library of Alexandria, Library of Baghdad, the Aztec codices, the biblioclasms under China's Qin Dynasty, and the Nazi party.
2 Project Gutenberg www.gutenberg.org & internet archive archive.org
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