PRESENTATION OF THE BARABA PUBLISHING CO-OPERATIVE
Presentation of the Družina collection by the Baraba Bookselling and Publishing Co-operative
Saturday 3 February 2018, 8 PM
BAZA, B. Adžije 11
Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy effort ... Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books they could buy but did not like.
(W. Benjamin, Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting)
Following the decade of biblioclasm in the 1990s, when libraries and public institutions were systematically purged of books of objectionable ideological content, alongside the shutting down of large publishing houses, publishing has been driven out to a market completely dominated by publishing policies and relations of production. Sloppy translations, books with lacking editing in terms of text organization and readability, and the inattention to graphic design and print quality are now the rule rather than the exception.
This is the context in which the Baraba Bookselling and Publishing Co-operative was established in Belgrade in 2011, with the intent of providing readers with access to books that represent significant scientific, cultural and artistic achievements. Two titles were published as part of the new collection, Družina: Anti-fascist Poems and Walter Benjamin’s Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting.
The collection of poems entitled Anti-fascist Poems was published to mark the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first edition (which came out on the anniversary of the October Revolution in the then liberated Užice), in the whirlwind of uprising, as a means of prising the collection of battle songs, a product of collective work, from the grip of oblivion. In addition to the reprint of the original content, including the illustrations by Pivo Karamatijević, the book also contains a preface to the second edition and a new preface by Goran Babić.
Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting is the second edition of Benjamin’s essay (following the first edition in 2015, ‘extravagant’ by today’s standards) in the popular pocket format. In it, Benjamin develops the idea of ‘setting free’ the books on the shelf, based on the experience of creating his own library, and dissects the figure of the collector in particular.
The two editions will be the starting point of our discussion, which will not stop at that, and will instead encompass the state of publishing today, its position and role in the contemporary society, especially the aspect of book collecting, which is often wrongfully omitted. The above quote, as well as Benjamin’s reflections on the author as a producer, will serve as guidance.
Editors Vladimir Marković and Ratibor Trivunac, and the translator of Benjamin’s essay, Mira Bogdanović, will take part in the discussion. The discussion will be moderated by Vesna Vuković.
About the co-operative:
"The Baraba Bookselling and Publishing Co-operative was established with the intent of providing readers with access to books that represent significant scientific, cultural and artistic achievements.
The bookstore and antique shop houses titles from the fields of history, social sciences and politics, primarily of the radical critical persuasion, as well as valuable works of literature and art.
The Baraba Bookselling and Publishing Co-operative also publishes works from the fields of social history, political theory and philosophy, as well as literary works outside the traditional canons."
The discussion is part of the Micropolitics program, which is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, and the City of Zagreb Office for Education, Culture and Sports.
The annual Baza za umjetnost i aktivizam program is supported by the Kultura nova foundation.
BLOK is the beneficiary of the institutional support of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development for the stabilization and/or development of organizations.