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Books against war

A narrow defence line

N.B. This performance was recorded integrally on video. An excerpt of this can be found HERE.

Books collect and preserve the wisdom people have slowly accumulated over the years. Or so it should be. By studying books, we should be able to improve our world. Or so it could be. In totalitarian regimes, free access to books and the knowledge and ideas they hold is made difficult or impossible. Barbaric.

As such, books represent a kind of barrier to the worst species of mankind. A sort of (narrow) defence line between us and the ultimate chaos of war and society.

In this installation-cum-performance we have expanded this imagery just a bit further. Consider. Books can only be useful in averting human inhumanity when they are taken from their bookshelves and read and studied. But who reads them? So we were looking for a more direct use of books in this field.

In a 41-minute performance,some 1,000 books were used to build a strong semi-circular fortress-wall, forming a bastion behind which one could hide to be safe from any attacks, free from war even.

However, just in case, some embrasures were left open. Behind the bastion you'll notice the empty bookshelves.

It must be noted that bookwalls like these look stronger than they actually are. In this particular case, part of the wall tends to gradually slide outwards. So after some time, the wall might collapse. The installation was therefore carefully monitored on a daily basis .... After four weeks, the wall was no less than 15 cm out of vertical. It was then dismantled.