The Pacifist Library Action #1: Publication

2012, 27 hand-bound books; Queens Borough Public Library (various branches)

The artists printed, bound and donated translations of political theorist Gene Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy, which outlines a conceptual framework for the nonviolent overthrow of dictatorship and has been used in prodemocracy movements worldwide. The book is free from copyright and free of cost yet it is not available at any of the libraries of New York. The Queens borough Library accepted the donation of twelve of the thirty translations and distributed them to branches that carry books in the respective languages.

The challenge of entering into an active dialogue with an existing institution and working within its ecology with a subjective treatment resulted in real effects. The approach to the public library in Queens, where a request from the field of art circumvented the bureaucracy and performed significantly resulting in direct actions otherwise referred to as guerrilla actions, acted in the transverse dimension between art and activism, and led to an effective remedy and was post recognized by the institution itself – as a donation.