Celltexts: Books written in prison (2008–2015)
Ines and Eyal Weizman
Wed, Sep 30–Sun, Oct 4, 2015
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.