een bloemlezing

Performance and book — 2017

Book burnings: an anthology — Welcome to The Village

‘Book burnings: an anthology’ exists of a book and a performance that both deal with forbidden texts. The book contains various fragments from twenty different books that were once burned or banned because of their content. These fragments were then combined and made into a new book. During the performance the audience could select a forbidden book at any given moment, Yuri Veerman would then select a fragment and read it to the audience. Whenever someone felt that what they were hearing was either offensive, distastefull, absurd, dangerous, blasphemous, disgusting or just plain boring, they could stand up and select a different book.

The Book — Designed by Thijs Verbeek

The selection

• The 120 Days of Sodom, Marquis de Sade
• Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
• American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
• The Anarchist Cookbook, William Powell
• Animal Farm, George Orwell
• Another Country, James Baldwin
• The Bible
• Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James
• The Green Book, Muammar Gadaffi
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
• Lady Chatterly's Lover, D.H. Lawrence
• Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
• Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
• The Peaceful Pill Handbook, Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart
• O Tribe that Love Boys, Abu Nuwas
• The Quran
• The Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey
• The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
• Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
• Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, Jung Chang

An unread book

The reasons people have for burning or banning a certain book are as diverse as the books themselves: The Satanic Verses was burned by muslims because they consider it blasphemous, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was forbidden in China because it contains talking animals, Animal Farm (even more talking animals) was forbidden in the Soviet Union because the story is a parody on the Stalin regime, Harry Potter has been burnt several times by American Christians who believe that stories about witchcraft poison their children’s souls.

The book is made especially for the performance and is designed by Thijs Verbeek. It has Japanese binding, which means there’s and outside and an inside to the pages. On the outside of the pages all fragments are shown in the form of a coded alphabet existing only of squares in various shades of grey: the letter A being the lightest shade and Z the darkest. To read the actual text, the pages have to be torn open. This way the book reveals which texts have been read, and which ones haven’t.

Both the grey squares as well as the torn pages have a strong visual reference to the theme of the book: the burning and banning of dangrous ideas in the form of printed text.

Welcome to The Village — First day

 Welcome to The Village — Second Day

Recording of the last performance
Book burnings: an anthology was developed on request of VHDG, a Leeuwarden based initiative for contemporary art. Like the year before, VHDG curated the art section at Welcome to The Village, a small yearly festival with music, theatre and arts, situated in a beautiful park in Leeuwarden.

The second day we moved the performance to a yurt, right next to the small beach strip. This was initially done to hide from the rain, but it also gave me the chance to create two different types of atmospheres; the yurt was a lot more intimate than the beach, and gave me the opportunity to be more in touch with the audience.

You can listen to the recording of the last performance I did. It starts off quite interestingly, with a drunken visitor requesting Mein Kampf, which was an uncomfortable start, but also simply part of the performance.

Boekverbrandingen: een bloemlezing
by Yuri Veerman
Performance and book
Curated by VHDG for Welcome to The Village 

— Performance
Concept and performance: Yuri Veerman
Photography: Sjoerd Knibbeler
Hostess: Samantha van der Werff

— Book
Concept: Yuri Veerman
Graphic design: Thijs Verbeek
Printing: robstolk®
Research: Yuri Veerman
Thanks: Simona Kicurovska
If you want to buy the book or book this performance, feel free to send me an email.

— Book
Publisher: Self published
Release date: 2017 / 2018
Print: Digitally printed at robstolk®
Edition: 30
Pages: 404
Language: Introduction in Dutch, fragments in English
Price: 50,—

Performed at
- Welcome to The Village, Leeuwarden
- SIGN, Groningen

The book Book Burnings: an Anthology is awarded with a golden European Design Award and an ADC Gold Cube Award in Publication Design.

The book Book Burnings: an Anthology has been added to the graphic design collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.