the VOLUME project

September 11-20, 2014, Beirut

Have libraries become obsolete in the digital age? Can we conceive public libraries as something other than a collection of books? When does a library begin and end?

Started as a long-term research project in November 2013, the VOLUME project investigates the potential of libraries as sites for artistic creation and production of knowledge, as well as for the formation of critique and dialogue. For nine days, international and local artists, theorists, curators and librarians will engage the public library as a space and a concept, through a series of performances, ad-hoc interventions, talks, literary writings and installations. Events will take place at 98weeks Project Space, Assabil Libraries, and in public spaces around Beirut.

The multiplicity of interventions composing the VOLUME project mirrors the complexities that the library embodies, both as a physical and theoretical subject. Newly commissioned artworks and a program of talks will be reflecting the many facets of the library as a public space, political agent, vehicle for memory, conceptual entity, cataloguing system, knowledge generator and imagination. What is a library after all? Something so vivid and yet so elusive. Something physical and yet conceptual. Container and content. A singular encompassing multitude. Potentially infinite and intrinsically unfinished.

The library symbolizes the human ambition to amass and preserve all the knowledge of the world, the utopia of a totality at hand. In its physical manifestation, it displays the modern rationality trying to tame the episteme under categories, inventories or parameters of acceptance. It raises questions related to the accessibility to knowledge and how libraries’ collections reflect political choices. The library feeds the desire to know, but also the desire to forget.

VOLUME’s upcoming session in September will present an occasion to share and discuss with the public these and further issues, in what we hope will be an intensive and thoughtprovoking series of events and encounters. A live publishing platform called “Vologue” will accompany the project. Two writers/witnesses, Roger Outa and Lina Mouzner, will react to talks, events, and performances. Their accounts will appear daily in printed form and on VOLUME’s website.

All the interventions and their ramifications will eventually coalesce into a single publication – the VOLUME–, which will be donated to Beirut’s public libraries. VOLUME is therefore the artists’ measuring device and connector. It is part and whole. It is inside the library. It is the library. It is what is what the library is missing.

Ad hoc interventions and performances by Mounira Al Solh (LB/NL), Andrew Beccone (US), Pauline Curnier-Jardin (FR), Aldis Ellersdóttir Hóff (SE), Per Hüttner (SE/FR), RyBN.ORG (FR), Walid Sadek (LB)

Talk series with Stefanie Baumann, Antoine Boulad (Assabil Association), Jessica Khazrik & Monica Basbous (Ashkal Alwan Library), Marcell Mars, Maud Stephan-Hachem (Lebanese National Library)

the VOLUME project is a collaboration between Vision Forum, Assabil Association and
98weeks Research Project and is curated by Sara Giannini together with 98weeks.
the VOLUME project has been realized with the generous support of: Prince Claus Fund, The Swedish Institute, Vision Forum


11 September
6pm - 8pm 98weeks

6pm Welcoming speech by Sara Giannini and 98weeks
6.30pm Presentation of The Reanimation Library | Mar Mikhael Branch
7.30pm Performance An Incomplete Portrait of the Reanimation Library 

12 September
6pm Geitawi Garden (meeting point) 
Performance walk by Per Hüttner
7.30pm 98weeks 
Screening of The Silence by Per Hüttner

13 September
4pm - 7pm 98weeks 
Open decoding session with RYBN.ORG
7.30pm 98weeks 
Talk Public Library (in the Age of the Internet) by Marcell Mars

14 September
5:30pm Horsh Park, gate facing military court (meeting point)
Performance To avoid the great heat of the Sun is kept in the Night, and by the light of the Moon: an inexistent book catalogue by Mounira Al Solh.
15 September
4pm-7pm 98weeks 
Open decoding session with RYBN.ORG

16 September
6pm-7pm 98weeks 
Group discussion On Feminisms Library

17 September
4pm - 7pm Geitawi Library 
Performance Smaller Apparition of Continuous Future by Aldis Ellersdóttir Hóff
Only small groups of people can enter the gate at once. To participate send an email to Please include “Registration_Smaller Apparition of Continuous Future” in the subject line.

18 September
4pm - 7pm Bachoura Library 
Transe-narrative performance The Teeth of the Rack, the Eyes of the Librarian by Pauline Curnier Jardin
Each session can host a limited number of participants. You can register by sending an email to: Please include “Registration_Curnier Jardin” in the subject line.

19 September
7pm 98weeks 
غداً  في  باحة المكتبة music for voice and melodica by Walid Sadek

20 September
4pm - 7pm 98weeks
Panel discussion Inventions and Inventories of Lebanese Public Libraries w. Stefanie Baumann, Antoine Boulad, Jessica Khazrik & Monica Basbous, Maud Stephan-Hachem

For the entire duration of the VOLUME project 98weeks Project Space is open daily from 3 pm to 7 pm.