Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle
and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur – update

Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur

We've been sent an update from Jardin de la Connaissance, the garden of decaying books in Quebec which we featured back in 2010: the books are now sprouting enormous orange mushrooms, and this year the designers introduced moss.

Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur

The garden was designed by Berlin landscape architect Thilo Folkerts of 100 Landschaftsarchitektur and Canadian artist Rodney LaTourelle.

Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur

Books were piled up to create walls, rooms and seats which are slowly rotting to become part of the forest.

Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur

Mushrooms are being cultivated on the books to speed up their decay and now moss has been applied with a wet mixture they call 'moss graffiti'.

Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur

The installation was originally designed for the International Festival des Jardins de Metis two years ago - see earlier photos of its decay here.

Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney LaTourelle and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur

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Here's some information from the architect and artist behind the project:

The Jardin de la Connaissance was established in June 2010. Since then, the garden has been interacting with the forest. The book structures have decayed in the natural setting, but have also provided various micro-environments for a range of local creatures.

Seedlings and insects have activated the walls, carpets and benches. Mushrooms - those cultivated and those who have come by themselves - have made the garden their home. Many of the originally bright colours of the books have faded. Culture is fading back into nature.

For the third season of the Jardin de la Connaissance, the authors want to extend the garden’s transformation by applying a technique originating in recent urban culture, following a renewed sense of being active in the open spaces of the city. Sampled moss from the forest is applied onto the walls as a paint mixture, a so-called ‘moss graffiti’. While the success of actual growth is somewhat open - as with all good experiments - the cover of moss material will aesthetically expedite the slow disappearance of the garden back into the forest.

Thilo Folkerts, Rodney LaTourelle, 2012

  • Oscar

    Whatever, sad for the books.

  • rohtmuz

    The book maze currently at the Royal Festival Hall


    is much better, people can pick up the books, and read them they will last in an interior environment unlike here.

    • Josh V.

      Preserving the state of the books is clearly not the aim here. I think it’s interesting to watch the decay of the built environment become consumed by the flora. I kinda wish they’d let it happen naturally instead of applying fungus and moss to it.

    • Derek

      You completely missed the point of this installation. Congratulations.

      • rohtmuz

        When there are children in this world who can’t afford books does it seem appropriate to destroy them in the name of art? Surely its more worthwhile to give these books to a charity than waste them in an installation?

        • Bill

          A lot of books serve no purpose, such as a guide to mutual funds published in 2003 or the tax laws of 1912. Many are topics which are no longer relevant, such as VCR repair or East/West German trade analysis.

          • HillelA

            Don't be so sure, Bill. Romney, for example, is paying his taxes according to laws that prevailed during the age of the robber barons.

  • For those in the West obsessed with decay, a warm humid welcome to the East :)

  • Noel

    Sad how we haven’t learned the value of books! This is a clear waste! Spend so much time cleaning the environment and saving endangered species and then I will share and like your efforts.

  • xtiaan

    I’d feel so much better if I knew it was full of Jackie Collins novels or the complete works of Stephen King or that bloke who wrote Davinci Code or something.

    I know its a digital age etc, but seeing books being treated like this just hits me viscerally as “wrong” no matter how nice the trees-into-books-and-back-again concept is.

  • zahaha

    This is pure poetry, what a beautiful intallation. Guys this is precisely about recycling books, they are all being given back to nature in there. And it is as much as a waste of books as Ai Wei Wei’s Sunflowers Seed is a waste of porcelain… you are basically saying that if they were using fake plastic books it would be just fine? Come on!

    • rohtmuz

      You have completely missed everyone’s points against the use of books here.

    • xtiaan

      We get what this is about, we have read quite a number of books, so a fairly forced example of conceptualism isn’t beyond us. Wei Wei’s sunflowers were produced specifically for his work by a bunch of Chinese women who got paid.

      The thing everyone doesn’t like here is books being butchered, a bunch of authors, who had nothing to do with this are essentially being left to rot, and with them all their ideas.

      Intellectually its kind of offensive, its got nothing to do with “fake plastic books”.

  • barry

    The books would have rotted a lot quicker if the garden had been located in Ireland, the weather we have had for the last couple of years would have those books “Humming” by now.

  • for anonimous

    What does it mean “and this year the designers introduced moss”. Terrible… How much arrogance.

    And anyway… why you need walls in the forest? Everything wrong and simple minded… buuuuuuuf.

  • IDK

    Collectively these books probably carry a high value of chemicals, which were introduced to the paper during production. I wonder if this the best way for renewal. Can’t say it is not poetic.

  • Librarian L

    As a librarian I can tell you that there are books that are no longer useful to most. Old encyclopedias & law books, damaged books missing pages, etc. Better make something interesting then donate them to us!

  • nicole

    Books are so over-estimated… once you’ve read them, why save them, or when you don’t like them, why read them at all. It’s just a bunch of paper covered with some ink. Lovely installation!

  • Well this is interesting. But just don’t do it at home!

  • DanCarm

    I hope there’s frogs there, going “reddit, reddit” in the background.