18.06. – 13.07.2015.
exhibition, action
Written-off, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Storm
Otpisane, povodom 20. godišnjice Oluje, Galerija Nova, 2015., postav (foto: Ivan Kuharić)

Antonio Grgić, Siniša Ilić, Javna knjižnica, Božena Končić Badurina, Siniša Labrović, Luiza Margan

What How and for Whom/WHW and Multimedia institute mi2
Gallery Nova, Teslina 7, Zagreb
18/06 – 13/07/2015

opening and the start of the collection of books
thursday, 18/06/2015, 8pm

In Croatia during the 1990s several hundreds of thousands of books were removed from schools, factories, public and specialized libraries, former Yugoslav People’s Army centres, socio-political organizations and private libraries due to ideologically inappropriate content, the Cyrillic letters they were written in, or ethnic or political background of the authors. They were thrown into rubbish bins, thrown out into the street, destroyed or recycled. 
The exhibition/action Written-off, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm is based on the data collected from the extensive research on “library purification”, gathered in the book by Ante Lešaja Libricide – the destruction of books in Croatia in the 1990s (Zagreb: Profil & SNV, 2012). What Lešaja’s book clearly shows is that the destruction of books – as well as the destruction of monuments of People’s Liberation War – was not a result of individual actions, as official accounts are trying to argue, but a deliberate and systemic activity which symbolically summarizes the dominant politics of the 1990s.
Written-off, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm initiates a CALL for collection and scanning of books that were brutally thrown out of libraries in the 1990s. People are invited to bring those written-off books to Gallery Nova so that they can be scanned – we will try to scan as many as possible to read and share them on www.otpisane.org.
The exhibition/action is called Written-off because removal and destruction of books was often presented as a legitimate procedure, combined with statements about unwanted books, written in Cyrillic letters, ideologically unacceptable, dangerous, harmful, unnecessary… Written-off unequivocally places “book destruction” in the social context where destruction of “unwanted” monuments and books happened simultaneously with destruction of houses and killings of “unwanted” citizens, outside and prior to war operations. This is why the exhibition/action is dedicated to the 20th anniversary of military-police operation Storm, the final military operation of what is officially called Homeland War. In memory of political logic which resulted in mass exodus and killings of civilians, the exhibition/action Written-off, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm brings back thrown out books to public archive and makes them available to all.
The exhibition/action is organised in collaboration with the project Public Library initiated by Tomislav Medak and Marcell Mars. The project thematizes the idea of public library as an institution supporting general right to knowledge, as an exception from the market and social solidarity which has been, like many other public and joint resources, subjected to concentrated commercialization and pressures which are destroying the space of the common. Apart from documentary materials, collected books that were written-off and scanners for their digitalization, the exhibition/action includes the works and performances of the artists Antonio GrgićSiniša IlićBožena Končić-BadurinaSiniša Labrović and Luiza Margan.
In his war diaries George Orwell argues that “evidently when a scandal passes a certain magnitude it becomes invisible”. It is however necessary to act against the normalization of scandal. Though it is clear that the art itself cannot overturn the consequences of political activities and military actions on the lives and destinies of individuals (those killed, murdered, the refugees, but also those who are perpetrators and witnesses), it can be effective within cultural field. Collection and digitalization of books, their archiving and dissemination are a symbolic act with which Croatian public takes its part of responsibility.
Wednesday, 08/07/2015
19 till 20:30 performative sculpture, Luiza Margan Listening, Ban Jelačić Square
21h performance, Siniša Labrović The light of the book, Gallery Nova
Thursday, 09/07/2015
18h presentation, Luiza Margan Public stories, Gallery Nova
19h guided tour, Božena Končić Badurina The revision of family library, Bogdan Ogrizović library, Preradovićeva 5 (working hours of performative installation: 14-20h)
20h performance, Antonio Grgić, Reading Karl Marx’s thoughts to the horse of Count Josip Jelačić at the former Republic Square
co-organizers: What How and for Whom/WHW i Multimedia institute mi2 

Working hours of Gallery Nova (closed on public holidays)
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
16 – 20h
11 – 14h
Program is supported by:
City Office for Culture, Education and Sports
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
Program of Gallery Nova and WHW and Multimedia Institute is supported by:
National Foundation for Civil Society Development
Kultura Nova Foundation