Buenos Aires was named the 2011 World Book Capital, and in honor of that title artist Marta Minujin has up righted a Tower of Babel using 30,000 books donated from all over the world. The historical Tower of Babel, which was said to reach the heavens, was part of a tale to clarify the source of languages. While the Argentinian book edition doesn’t quite meet the heaven mark, (it’s only 25 meters tall), the spiraling tower surely provides incredible views of the city and is bringing together the written word in various languages and helping to unite people.
It is built in San Martin square, the book story of the Tower of Babel spirals up 25 meters into the air affording visitors with impressive views of the city. The seven story tower is covered in 30,000 books donated by readers, libraries and more than 50 embassies. Children’s books hang next adventure stories, comic books, collections of poetry and more, all in different languages. This association of the written word in one location is evocative of the original Tower of Babel, where everyone spoke the same language.
Visitors climbing the tower hear music poised by Minujin and the artist repeating the word ‘book’ in many languages. Minujin said her role as the artist of this installation was to “unite all people”. The book sculpture will be up until May 28th when it will be taken apart and literary devotees will be requested to pick one book to take home with them. The left over books will begin a file called The Library of Babel, after the Jorge Luis Borges short story.
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