During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad lost their entire library of over 70,000 books. 168:01 serves both as a means to measure this staggering cultural loss and as a platform for its potential repair. The artist asks local and global audiences to help transform this destruction into a fresh start for Iraq’s next generation, by purchasing books from a wishlist compiled by the faculty.
As the installation accrues donations, volunteers replace the blank books with new texts during weekly performances. In doing so, the library’s shelves become saturated with knowledge and vibrancy and the structure becomes a 1:1 scale data visualisation of its own repair, and the success of the campaign. Select donors receive the blank exhibition books in return for their contribution and as a symbol of the void they have helped to rectify. At the end of the exhibition, all donated texts will be shipped to Baghdad.
All books will be purchased through Amazon and shipped to Baghdad at the end of the exhibition from 1 October 2017. Please note, this is not ‘a book for a book’ - all donations outside of the below tiers will be compiled and added together to further restore the archive. Donations can be made in-house or online through the website. Please see below for a full list of benefits.
£7 – Custom Print. Limited edition A6 print by Jot Paper Co.
£25 – 1 x Limited edition white book. Book plate signed, numbered by Wafaa Bilal.
£50 – 2 x Limited edition white book, A6 print and letter from the curators. Book plate signed, numbered by Wafaa Bilal.
Wafaa Bilal, 168:01, 2016. Photo by Nadja Pelkey.
Wafaa Bilal, 168:01, 2016. Photo by Gareth Jones.