The Anti-Library – first housed in the library of SPACE – is a project focused on unread books and on theories related to the meaning of anti- or non-knowledge in the fields of knowing, learning and the intellectual experience. From this very point of view, Nassim Taleb’s abstract from his famous The Black Swan – dealing with the concept of Anti-Library in connection to Umberto Eco’s library – is a fundamental landmark.
According to the author, Eco’s huge library includes a large amount of unread books – and these are to play the most important role in valuing the cultural prominence of their owner. In fact, the progressive accumulation, over the years, of an increasing amount of unread books, means a kind of intellective growth, which remains open. The more you know the larger is the amount of unread books you own. The already read ones, on the contrary, seem to fix a knowledge, which is concluded in itself and therefore is somehow sterile.
Following these premises, more than 150 among artists, curators, journalists, writers and people belonging to the field of culture, were invited to indicate a book they hadn’t read and also to write a short statement to illustrate their choice.
The Anti-Library is recreated at Lucie Fontaine’s space in Milan, adding contributions from Italian curators and artists. A permanent archive is put together, containing the collection of the volumes together with their statements – added to the ones previously selected in London.