Jardin de la Connaissance

December 6, 2012

Jardin de la Connaissance Jardin de la Connaissance mushrooms Jardin de la Connaissance

By Koseli.

Remember the outdoor library? And all the comments that asked, “But what if it rains?!” Well, here’s your answer:

Thilo Folkerts and Rodney LaTourelle created Jardin de la Connaissance in 2010. Hundreds of books were piled high to create walls, seats, and architectural structures that would gradually rot and become part of a forest. Mushrooms were introduced to speed up the decaying process and curators recently introduced moss. Local insects and plant life have transformed the books into a micro-environment. I think the bright orange mushrooms are beautiful.

“Culture is fading back into nature.”

What do you think of it? A waste of paper and print? Or a statement of beauty? Do the decaying books stress you out?

P.S. — A book maze. And the littlest library.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah December 6, 2012 at 7:24 am

i do remember being worried about the rain, but now… i love it! it kind of makes me feel like books and words are really a part of us, totally natural – as opposed to an E-book, which is ultimately just toxic waste (not to be dramatic, but…!).


2 Ariana {And Here We Are...} December 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

Oh, I love it! I think it’s really beautiful, especially with the moss and mushrooms.


3 Angela December 6, 2012 at 7:54 am

I love it – and I don’t. The photos are lovely. I wonder about the reality – is there a smell? Small creature infestation? Etc. I am a teacher & freely admit that I TREASURE books – all of them. I dislike everything about our disposable culture (well, maybe I am okay with Starbucks cups… :>). Beautiful photos, though.


4 Chelly December 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

I agree, as a Librarian I am appalled, as an artist I see the beauty in the photographs. The fact the they introduced the mushrooms and the moss, instead of simply letting them find their way to the books sort of undermines the idea that they would naturally become part of the forest! Not to mention that many modern books have chemicals and other unnatural and potentially toxic things in them that are now potentially endangering this forest.



5 ambika December 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

Even though I’m totally OCD, I find this so charming.


6 Jenni Bailey December 6, 2012 at 8:48 am

It makes me a bit sad, actually. I get an apocalyptic vibe from it. Like, have we give up on real books? Are we ready to live in a Jetson-style, all-digital world? Are we just sending all our good stuff off and waiting for the end? I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing (not all art has to be about happiness and good feelings – discomfort is a legitimate goal as well) but I don’t think I’d install something like this in my own backyard.


7 Stoich91 December 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

They should be doing this with sculptures of biodegradable TRASH, not books! :( If these books were never going to be used again (eg. volumes of pointless out of date college textbooks…UGH), I could see how this might be a good idea.

However, I think every book has a purpose, even until its end. These could be donated to kids in first world Countries, for whom even owning a book (in a different language?) would mean something special.


8 Jess December 6, 2012 at 10:37 am


As a librarian I am just heartbroken.


9 Katherine | Gathered Heart December 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

These photos make me feel so sad… I don’t know if I can even explain it. Books are meant to be read, loved, pondered over coffee, shared with friends. I collect them and have some well over 100 years old that I have read and loved. Is this really the future of my beloved books?

The entire concept, to have books decay and become one with nature, it just seems so… unnatural.


10 Sara @ What About Sara December 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I really love this, but I can’t verbalize why – I just can’t find the words.


11 Nora December 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Do the decaying books stress me out? Oh yes they do! There is something sad and strange about this…like Grey Gardens. Not right.


12 Tracy December 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm

The images really inspire the imagination with stories of ferry worlds, but they also remind me of a news story I heard tonight about bed bugs being found in public library books. When I think of that and look at these pictures, it kind of makes my skin crawl…


13 Amy Hackworth December 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Do the decaying books stress us out? You know us so well, Koseli! But somehow, this time, they don’t. I think it’s beautifully somber.


14 Heather December 7, 2012 at 5:39 am

It makes me sad to see books that no one can ever read.


15 Carter Higgins December 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

I am a book fanatic. And a once upon a time librarian. And I love this. I agree with Sara…there’s something somewhat un-language-able about it.

Books breeding life is a pretty beautiful sentiment. And picture!


16 Koseli Cummings December 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

“Books breeding life” is beautiful, Carter.

Last year, I put a massive pile of books in front of our stoop for any passerby to grab and keep for free, but I had forgotten to check the weather. Not every book was taken, so, after a rainy night, there was pulp and pages splattered all over sidewalk. It was devastating to me. They were books I’d loved. Ugh, I felt awful.


17 jill December 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

It is quite thought provoking and beautiful, but sad if they were boks that could be used… But I love art with unexpected material. I cannot wait to show it to my teenagers to see what they think, thank you for this!


18 Kaely December 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Yeah, this makes me feel really sad. And also I can help but imagine the smell. Wet book mildew smell reminds me of cleaning up after hurricanes.


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