I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic
The ‘Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street’ commemorates the bombing in 2007 of the famous booksellers’ street of Baghdad. Thirty people were killed, a hundred injured, and hundreds if not thousands of books were destroyed or damaged. The project has involved a collection of poetry, entitled Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, and other writings and a roving exhibition of books created by artists around the world. I’ll be reviewing the exhibition later this month during its spell at Manchester’s John Rylands Library.
One of the book artists, Stephanie Sauer, has made this video of her book being constructed, whilst the name and year of every act of book-burning and destruction she could find are recited. It’s a scary and moving reflection of how authorities and thugs have, throughout history, tried to restrain and destroy ideas and their spread: