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In collaboration with LEAP Magazine, bac-ta-gon is proud to present The Bibliorium, a pop-up reading room dedicated to experiencing printed matter. The Bibliorium will take place from September 26 to October 3, 2014 on Cha’er Hutong #3 in the Dashanlan District, for the fourth edition of Beijing Design Week. Embracing the origins of book production,collection, retail, and display, The Bibliorium will engage local audiences with one week of programming, including a three-day symposium, curated library, magazine archive, site-inspired bookshelf, reading room, and café.
In a unique collaborative project, Beijing-based artist Chen Zhiyuan will construct a grove of book-trees that will house the full archives of LEAP (28 issues), LEAP’s sister literary publication, Chutzpah (18 issues), and BaJia, the new cross-disciplinary literary journal and visual almanac published by bac-taÂ-gon. For the first three days (September 26 – 28), bac-taÂ-gon will curate a symposium exploring the significance of printed matter in contemporary life. Through a diverse selection of programming, including blindfolded readings, experimental performances, panel discussions, print workshops, reading groups, film screenings, a temporary collective of artists, musicians, authors, publishers, and architects will foster a cross-disciplinary understanding of the abiding relevance of printed matter. A habitat for deep engagement with print, The Bibliorium will also serve as a curated library for selections from the archives of Timezone 8, in addition to those of other independent, local publishers.
What is the state of printed matter in our contemporary culture? After the construction of the Alexandrian Library in 300 B.C.E., similar institutions drew scholars from around the Mediterranean and functioned as meccas for community gathering and knowledge exchange. By the end of the Roman Republic, members of the patrician class outfitted their homes with libraries, thus necessitating bookshelves. These came to serve as focal points of the interior space, allowing easy organization of and access to carefully developed collections, as well as tangible symbols of a given home's dedication to knowledge acquisition. The Bibliorium acknowledges the endangered nature of printed matter in the digital age and seeks to reaffirm the worth of certain pre-modern notions, such as book as collectible object, bookcase as designed altar of and frame for collections, and book vendor as guide to learning.