The Pacifist Library: Sarajevo

In March 2013 the Pacifist Library was invited to participate in the Sarajevo Winter Festival. The following interventions of the Pacifist Library were realized in site on the streets of Sarajevo with the collaboration of curator Anna Santomauro

The Pacifist Library Performance #2 (Sarajevo, BiH)

2013, Modified 1970’s external frame backpacks,  donated pacifist books, straw mat, stool, thermos, mint tea; stove. Public spaces of Sarajevo, BiH 

During the war people read books by the fire, they burned books to stay warm, the National Library burned to the ground.

With the Pacifist Library on their backs and a stove used by the citizens of Sarajevo during the war in their arms, the artists travelled through the center of the city with the intention of preparing tea and inviting people to spend time with the Pacifist Library.  At every stop, the artists were forbidden to light the stove, but its sight in the vicinity of the books provoked a series of conversations in which the voices of the citizens of Sarajevo were heard, in relation to their public institutions, books and the war.

The Pacifist Library Action #2: Sarajevo Campaign

2013, Poster intervention in public space, woodblock letterpress prints, wheatpaste.

On the verge of the re-opening of the newly restored National Library of Sarajevo, the Pacifist Library diffuses a public poster campaign throughout the city. inviting passers-by to dig through an ephemeral library, the posters instigate the citizenry of Sarajevo to imagine what a public institution could be if it were built for them.  The posters carry the messages in Bosnian “Feel free to dig through the Pacifist Library” and “Needed! Wanted! Pacifist books! Your choice reflects your vision.”  Using a wheatpasting technique, the posters were affixed in the city, starting from the site of the National Library, across the old city, along the river, towards the University and Fine Arts Academy, in the central park, and following the principal artery of the city, the tram number 3.  Indirectly opening an interrogation on the new National Library, still in renovation and nearing its reopening.  The campaign plays on the possibility for the two “institutions” to overlap and assume the same desired and needed identity.