100,000 banned texts have been built into an incredible 'Parthenon of books’

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Jasmine Andersson
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As Malala Yousafzai says, the extremists are afraid of books and pens because the power of education frightens them.

It was with this in mind that Argentinian artist Marta Minujín decided to create a replica of the Greek Parthenon using 100,000 books that are still banned across the world today.

As part of the Documenta 14 art festival in Germany, the Argentinian artist built the full-size replica at Friedrichsplatz in Kassel, the site of a famous Nazi book-burning when the fascist party were at the height of their power.

Using a pre-built steel structure and created with the assistance of Kassel University students, the replica features titles including Catcher In The Rye, The Da Vinci Code and Brave New World.

All of the banned books were gathered and stacked into a reconstruction of an Ancient Greek structure, which was selected as a symbol of the egalitarian ideals associated with democratic freedom. 

While Hitler’s Mein Kampf is still banned in some countries, Minujín made a conscious decision not to include it in the structure, larggely owing to the fact that  the Nazi regime were notorious banners of books (they burned over 2,000 of them during the ‘Campaign against the Un-German Spirit’).

Minujín has called her structure “a symbol of opposition to the banning of writings and the persecution of their authors.”

The incredible female artist built a similar installation in Argentina after the fall of the ruling civilian-military dictatorship in 1983.

Five days after the junta had fallen, the artist invited visitors to pick up one of the banned books to take home.

And just like with the previous structure, the thousands of books included will be returned to their owners after the installation is taken down.

Until then, the structure will stand in the German city for 100 days.  

Photos: Instagram


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Jasmine Andersson

When she isn't talking about her emotional attachment to meal deals or serenading unfortunate individuals with David Bowie power solos in karaoke booths, Jasmine writes about gender, politics and culture as a freelance journalist. She wastes her days tweeting @the__chez