For my final project I chose to analyze and give an argument on Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Library of Babel. I was intrigued by this hypothetical Library that seemed to be infinite yet limiting at the same time. My argument is based on the idea that knowledge is quite different from truth based on the parameters of this story. I argue that although Borges presents different forms of knowledge throughout the story, overall he is challenging the meaning of knowledge and where it stands within regards to truth.
Borges presents beliefs and ideals as powerful forms of knowledge within the story that aim to push the boundaries of overall understanding. He also gives support of empirical observation as a source of generating and producing knowledge. Although he introduces these elements as forms of knowledge, the overall argument that our concept of knowledge does not necessarily equate to truth. For example, in the 1500’s it was considered common knowledge that the Earth was flat. Yet today we know that this is not the Truth by any means. Likewise, Borges is proposing the same concept within his short story that knowledge is constantly changing. Borges even goes so far as to undermine the credibility of his main character, the narrator. Borges uses inaccuracies and paradoxes throughout to emphasize to the reader that the supposed knowledge the narrator is presenting cannot be considered truth. Throughout my paper I go on to challenge what the meaning of knowledge is in regards to the meaning of truth.
For Part II I chose to come up with a collage of sorts(SEE ABOVE) to represent my argument. My argument being that knowledge can indeed differ from truth.
The first layer of this collage is a random image of a circular library with a grey scale added to mask the original color. I wanted to hide the identity of the actual library (which I do not know) in an abstract way so that it might fit within the parameters of the Library of Babel.
For the second layer, I added an assortment of hexagons with with varying opacities and shades of white. In doing so, I wanted to capture the essence of the structural form of the library and also convey a sense of timelessness. By using a grey scale and varying shades of white, it masks any unwanted color that might resemble something other than the intended meaning. The arrangement of the hexagons are meant to fit together and to appear to extend off the page so that it is perceived to be infinite and perhaps eternal.
The third layer shows different sizes and font styles to distinguish the different statements from one another. This layer is the most significant in that the text is what represents the true nature of my argument. I chose controversial statements and beliefs that have often been interpreted quite differently by different people. These statements have no particular relationship to one another but simply state relatively controversial statements pertaining to science and theory, personal or religious beliefs, ethical or moral liberties, etc. The idea is that to some, certain statements might be considered as truth while others might consider them as lies or misconceptions. Regardless of whether or not the statement is true, each statement in some way reflects upon the existing or preexisting forms of knowledge.
This is an example of a portfolio. The filters and gradients used over some of the images helped me to formulate ideas for what my final collage might look like.