This Banned Books Project Is A Reminder That The Fight For Intellectual Freedom Has Never Been More Important
In 1983, artist Marta Minujin created "Partenon de los libros," celebrating the end of Argentina's military dictatorship. Minujin's Parthenon was built from the very books banned by the ruling junta; now, 27 years later, this artist is building a temple of banned books once again, this time drawing from works from across the globe.
Early next year, Minujin plans to collect and utilize over 100,000 banned books to re-create the Parthenon, the Ancient Greek temple that has symbolized beauty and democracy for centuries. Once finished, the installation will be erected in Kassel, Germany's Friedrichspiatz Park, where members of the Nazi party burned over 2,000 tomes in 1933 as part of the "Campaign Against the Un-German Spirit."
The Parthenon of Books will be a part of documenta 14, one of the largest and most renowned festivals of contemporary art in the world; fittingly, 2017's working theme is "Learning From Athens."
"The Parthenon of Books sets an example against violence, discrimination, and intolerance," said the artistic director of documenta 14, Adam Szymczyk in a press statement. Considering potentially where we'll be in 2017 if certain humans come to power, The Parthenon of Books may gain a whole new level of heartbreak - and hope.
In an attempt to raise awareness for the project, several prominent literary organizations have already pledged books. The American Library Association, for example, which heads up National Banned Books Week and oversees The Office for Intellectual Freedom, has donated novels by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Jeff Smith to the cause, along with Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, one of the most challenged books of 2015.
The Parthenon of Books will stand for 100 days; on the 100th, the temple will be dismantled, and the banned books will be distributed throughout the crowd, returning back to circulation, as they were always meant to.