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“The SKOR Codex” by La Société Anonyme

The SKOR Codex is a printed book which will be sent to different locations on earth in the year 2012. It contains binary encoded image and sound files selected to portray the diversity of life and culture at the Foundation for Art and Public Domain (SKOR), and is intended for any intelligent terrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find it. The files are protected from bitrot, software decay and hardware failure via a transformation from magnetic transitions on a disk to ink on paper, safe for centuries. Instructions in a symbolic language explain the origin of the book and indicate how the content is to be decoded. La Société Anonyme noted that “the package will be encountered and the book decoded only if there will be advanced civilizations on earth in the far future. But the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about art on this planet.” Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule and a statement rather than an attempt to preserve SKOR for future art historians. The SKOR Codex is a project by La Société Anonyme.

On the chance that someone will be out there, La Société Anonyme has approved the placement of 8 books on 8 locations on Earth. The book, called The SKOR Codex was placed on Thursday (July 12, 2012) aboard the first of eight locations to host the portrait of the diversity of life and culture at the Foundation for Art and Public Domain (SKOR). The 1156 gram book contains greetings from the SKOR staff in 4 languages, samples of artworks from different artists and eras, and field recordings of the SKOR premises. The Codex contains binary information that an advanced technological civilization could convert into diagrams, pictures and sounds, including a message from SKOR managing director Tati Freeke-Suwarganda.

Messages in the record were designed to enable possible decoding by future civilizations who might encounter the book in hundreds of years, hence the integration of some pictures of 21st century SKOR. “The book will be encountered and decoded only if there are advanced civilizations on earth,” said La Société Anonyme. “But, as the beautiful message from managing director Tati Freeke-Suwarganda and web curator Annet Dekker indicate,” Société Anonyme added, “the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about art.”

La Société Anonyme chose the medium of book as a way of preserving the portrait because it can carry much more information in the same space then for example an engraved stone. Each book is made of acid-free paper, the sections have been sewn onto 4 bands of rameh, the spine is enforced with Japanese paper and the book is wrapped in an acid-free protective cover. It contains, in symbolic language, information on how the book is to be decoded. The book begins with photographs and diagrams in binary form, depicting the SKOR buildings, surroundings, artifacts, objects, office spaces, and some hint of the richness of SKOR’s civilization.

Included are schematics about SKOR, its location in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, photographs of Ruysdaelkade 2, bicycles, a large fax machine and desks. This is followed by spoken greetings in 4 human languages, including a spoken message by Annet Dekker, web curator of SKOR. The SKOR Codex next includes field recordings made at Ruysdaelkade 2. The artwork selection represents the cultural diversity of SKOR. The entire book counts 304 pages.

The book is likely to survive more than a thousand years. Thus it represents a message into the future, a point referred to in managing director Tati Freeke-Suwarganda’s message. Among the members of La Société Anonyme’s committee and others who played a major role in devising The SKOR Codex are Dušan Barok, Danny van der Kleij, Aymeric Mansoux, and Marloes de Valk, the book was hand bound by the Wilgenkamp bindery. The book was commissioned by SKOR, and produced by La Société Anonyme.

The first book will be archived at the SKOR archive hosted by Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. The other books will be hosted at seven different locations on the planet.


Jul 22, 16:05
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