An Index ₅

There are people who imagine the universe as a huge library or book where, everything that exists or could exist is described and written down. This is an index for those people.

The Library of Babel, first imagined by Jorge Luis Borges, contains all books of the same format. The content of those books is built out of the letters of the alphabet, the dot, the comma and the space:

“…he deduced that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite): Everything: the minutely detailed history of the future, the archangels' autobiographies, the faithful catalogues of the Library, thousands and thousands of false catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of those catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of the true catalogue, the Gnostic gospel of Basilides, the commentary on that gospel, the commentary on the commentary on that gospel, the true story of your death, the translation of every book in all languages, the interpolations of every book in all books.“
- Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”

These two handmade leather-bound books are an index of the Library of Babel. You can find every possible start of every possible page of every book – if you look for it. Your name is in these books. Any possible word you can think of is indexed in these books by its first five letters.


Vernissage / Exhibition


An Index ₅
is inspired by the short story
"The Library of Babel" written by
Jorges Luis Borges in 1941.

The text was set in
Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk
and the indexed words
were set in Gill Sans MT.
Printed on a Xerox laser printer
at the Cooper Union.

The paper is Dur-O-Tone
Newsprint Aged, and the end leaf
paper is Yatsuo deep red.
The cover is Arlan,
handbreaded, goatskin.

An Index ₅
was written, designed, printed
and bound by Philipp Adrian
for the Art of the Book,
School of Art, The Cooper Union.
New York City, Fall 2010.