The library of Alexandria is said to be the most ‘significant and great library of the ancient world’- (Wikipedia) and is said to have been existence between the century 30BC and 3BC. It housed stone tablets and scrolls. It was founded by Ptolomy II Soter and was eventually destroyed by fire. It was situated in the ancient city of Alexandria on the shore of the Mediterranean , in Egypt. The ‘Great’ or ‘Royal’ Library was a part of the museum but whether or not it was a separate building is unclear. Three parties are blamed for the destruction and they correspond to the three occupying powers that ruled Alexandria after it had been lost by the Greeks. The suspects respectively are a Roman, a Christian and a Muslim. It has been said that: Julius Caesar set fire to it ‘accidently’ when he was fighting with the Egyptian fleet; Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria destroyed it because he thought that people would be less inclined to believe in the bible if they knew about the pagan knowledge of the ancients and Caliph Omar of Damascus was quoted as saying: “they will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous’. (source: http://www.bede.org.uk/library.htm). It has now been rebuilt ( between 1994 and 2000).
My version of the library is based on Dali’s version of the Lighthouse at Alexandria and the tree of knowledge, combined together. The Tree of Knowledge can be seen releasing sheets of scroll paper in the wind, as the library (lighthouse) burns. This is a symbol of knowledge not being destroyed, but sailing in the wind by word of mouth and is a symbol of our new age of communication by internet, (the ends of the tree branches are Jack plugs signifying electrical connection to the internet), and a celebration of the rebuilding of both the library and of the knowledge of humanity, as a collective group. It is therefore a celebration of globalization and working together in harmony, rather than in control and conflict. I have put cockerel statues on it to signify the awakening of knowledge and peace. I have also filled the base with marshmallows, referring to the famous ‘Marshmallow Experiment’ regarding delayed gratification, which is a comment on the world debt crisis and the greed of the corporations. At the base of the library I have placed Schrodinger’s Cat, in the form of an Egyptian statue of the goddess Bastet, because it is thought that the original cat was an Egyptian Mau. Bastet is a protector and I have placed her here both as a symbol of protecting the knowledge of the world and as a reminder that the future is undecided/unwritten. The future could go either way, according to whether we practice delayed gratification or not and also whether we use knowledge in a good or bad way.