Toute la memoire du monde - The World’s Knowledge BNF I

Nina Fischer German
Maroan el Sani German

Not on view

This seemingly straightforward image of the landmark Labrouste reading room of France’s national library presents an anomaly: the shelves are barren, bereft of books. Fischer and el Sani made the image in 2006 when the site was largely vacant. Part of a project that included other still images and a film, Toute la mémoire du monde (All the World’s Memory) commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Alain Resnais’ 1956 short documentary of the same name. Whereas Resnais depicted the library as a humming hive of intellectual activity, a fortress against forgetting, Fischer and el Sani portray the building as a victim of information overload. As hinted by their ironic subtitle (The World’s Knowledge), memory in the digital age has been sacrificed in the pursuit of increasingly immaterial knowledge, leaving a few bewildered readers to sit and wait.

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