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This library, conceived in 2008, and growing ever since, is composed of books created while their authors were incarcerated in a prison or camp. Unlike subject classification systems, this library is arranged, from left to right, according to the length of time the author was imprisoned before s/he wrote the book in days, weeks months and years. Across the texts, a landscape of prison cells spreads that can be examined as sites of intellectual production. Spatial and social isolation are examined as triggers for creative imaginations and sometimes spiritual productions, through which the writers in question try to survive, subversively writing against the violence they are subjected to.
The collection includes writers who were arrested for their writing, their political activity, or for other crimes. Régis Debray described prison as the “second university of the dissident”; Antonio Gramsci was forced to write his texts in code to avoid censorship. Ezra Pound smuggled the ChineseEncyclopaedia into his cell in Pisa and in the mid-19th century Auguste Blanqui formulated detailed instructions for armed resistance with sketches for building barricades. The book collection is also available in an online catalog: www.celltexts.org.
Eyal Weizman is an architect, professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since 2011, he also directs the project Forensic Architecture. In 2007 he co-founded DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) in Beit Sahour, Palestine. A selection of books he has authored includes Mengele’s Skull: The Advent of a Forensic Aesthetics (2012, with Thomas Keenan), The Least of all Possible Evils: Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza (2009; 2011), Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation (2007) and A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture (2003). He was on the board of directors of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and has worked with a variety of NGO’s worldwide. In 2014 he contributed to the conference “The Architecture of Public Truth”, as part of the HKW-exhibition Forensis.
Ines Weizman is professor of architecture theory at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar where she also directs the Bauhaus-Institute for History and Theory of Architecture and Planning and the Centre for Documentary Architecture. Her edited book Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence has been published in 2014. The book Before and After: Documenting the Architecture of Disaster, written together with Eyal Weizman was published in 2014. Her writing has been published in books, magazines and journals such as AA Files, ADD METAPHYSICS, ARCH+, Architecture and Culture, BEYOND, Displayer, JAE, Future Anterior, Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta, Volume and The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory. Her installation “Repeat Yourself.” Loos, Law and the Culture of the Copy was first presented in the Arsenale at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012, and later also at the AZW Vienna and Columbia University, New York.