LIBRARY OF THE FORGOTTEN (2005 - on going)

The Liberary of the forgotten is an ongoing archive and collection of photographs of abandoned libraries from crisis-stricken areas where Siri Hermansen have carried out major artistic research projects. The sights have all been through deep crises and major change due to political, economic or enverinmental nature. The images of the librarie come from the abandoned Russian mining town Pyramiden in Spitsbergen, The forbidden zone of Chernobyl, and the economically ruined city of Detroit. The latest addition to the project is a small library from the concentration camp in Dachau situated in Germany.

The images are of abandoned libraries, lending books in public areas such as Cultural Centers, churches, in classrooms at schools, in abandoned homes.

As this collection of photographs has grown, Hermansen realized that the places in disrepair are similar to each other and are difficult to distinguish from each other. In an abandoned classroom in Chernobyl (former Soviet Russia) there was a large amount of English dictionaries.

The project Library of the Forgotten deals with societies that have collapsed for various reasons. While the Library in the Pyramiden was an abandoned community which had obviously provided the miners in the town with a very rich cultural life, the few books in the library in Dachau were most certainly reserved for a few privileged prisoners also because there are Norwegian books in this small collection.

The documentation of abanodoned libraries describes dramatic places that have had a great impact on many people from different parts of the world. They were societies that in our time have gone under, societies and or situations that we all have a relationship with or are familiar with. At the same time, the photographs also become a symbol of the book as a redundant object in an increasingly digitized world.

Copyright 2023 Siri Hermansen