Libraries on Quicksand
This essay was written for the artist’s publication When The Library Was Stolen, on the Private Archive of Abd Al-Rahman Munif in spring 2017. The publication was issued by the artist collective Fehras Publishing Practices. It consists of 544 pages and is published bilingually in English and Arabic and divided into three chapters.
This first chapter features selected essays addressing topics such as the library as a space, publication practices in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and archiving publications with contributions from Amer Bader Hassoun (archivist, publisher, and collector), Suad Kawadri (the wife of Abd Al-Rahman Munif), Hassan Yaghi (publisher), Franck Mermier (anthropologist), Fehras Publishing Practices & Nadia Saleh (radio producer).
The second chapter includes a catalogue documenting approx. 10,000 publications of the library and the third presents the photographs of Munif’s library which are the key documentary materials that set the foundations for the content of the publication.
Amer Bader Hassoun
Amer Bader Hassoun is a writer, journalist, publisher, and collector specializing in archival Arabic journals, magazines, and newspapers, he has written for many dailies such as Asharq Al-Awsat and Al-Bayan of the United Arab Emirates. Hassoun developed and published Majallet Al-Ayam (Bygones Magazine) from 2001 until 2008 in Damascus. Bygones was concerned with re-publishing material from the archive of Arabic newspapers from the first half of the twentieth century. He subsequently published the appendix Ayam Al-Sham (Syria Bygones), focusing on Bilad Al-Sham through the archive. Hassoun currently writes for a number of Iraqi papers and is preparing the digital version of Bygones. Many of his publications have been translated, including Kitab Al-Iraq (The Iraq Book, 1995) with Fraternity Press and Kitab Souria (The Syria Book, 2000) in collaboration with the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and the Center for Bean Sellers [sic].