21 September 2010 Exhibition opening

The events of the first days of the Conrad Festival will be accompanied by the opening of the exhibition Liberatura – another dimension of literature. The festival guests Katarzyna Bazarnik, Zenon Fajfer and Jerzy Kutnik will be appearing there. The evening will be hosted by Adam Poprawa.

Liberatura is an original expression coined by Zenon Fajfer on the pages of Dekada Literacka in 1999. It describes a particular literary trans-genre, in which a specific role is played by two phenomena, both expressed by the prefix ‘liber’. As ‘freedom’, this particle refers to the freedom of the creator, expressing itself in the effortless movement beyond conventional forms; as ‘book’, it accents the material form of the work, bringing the form into the focus of the artistic message, because the ‘book’ – in its specific from, with its specific weight and particular size – in its tangible dimensions is the raw material of Liberatura.

Not every text can be counted as Liberatura, but the term invented by Fajfer appears to be very flexible. The Korporacja Ha!art series known as Liberatura includes A Throw of the Dice Will Never Eliminate Chance (Pol.: Rzut kośćmi nigdy nie zniesie przypadku) by Stéphane Mallarmé, Arw by Stanisław Czycz, The Unfortunates (Pol.: Nieszczęśni) by B.S. Johnson, Hundred Thousand Billion Poems (Pol.: Sto tysięcy miliardów wierszy) by Raymond Queneau, the latest Polish edition of Life: an Instruction Manual (Pol.: Życia instrukcji obsługi) by Georges Perec an the publications of Zenon Fajfer and Katarzyna Bazarnik. Authors frequently associated with Liberatura are Sterne, Marinetti, Apollinaire, Themerson, and Jacques Derrida (with his essay, Glass). The newest instalment in the Liberatura series will be the collection of poetic collages by Herta Müller entitled Der Wächter nimmt seinen Kamm (The Guard Takes His Comb), published in the form of loose cards in a box. This book, never yet translated into another language, will make its premiere at the Conrad Festival.

There is no finite catalogue of Liberatura works (just as there is no finite catalogue of Liberatura texts or authors). In Mallarmé’s book-poem creator, the order of the pages plays a particular role, on which the words of the poems are scattered; in Queneau’s Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, the reader finds a literary jigsaw puzzle, the poems of which, after they have been “cut out”, can be arranged in a countless variety of formally correct, grammatically coherent and rhyming sonnets. B. S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates chose the form of a loose collection of unnumbered sheets, and the narration in Perec’s novel is governed by a collection of predetermined mathematical procedures, while Fajfer’s Spoglądając przez ozonową dziurę (Looking Through the Ozone Hole) is enclosed in a bottle.

The editors of the series published by Korporacja Ha!art are Zenon Fajfer and Katarzyna Bazarnik, who together have published two Liberatura works: the Oka-leczenie (Eye-Medicine) Trilogy – the book that gave rise to the phenomenon of Liberatura – and (O)patrzenie.

Adam Poprawa is a literary, music, and film critic and the author of this year’s NIKE-award nominated Walce Wolne, Walce Szybkie (Slow Waltzes, Quick Waltzes) – a collection of brilliant notes from the everyday life of language, boldly reaching for puns and word play, playing with great regions of literary tradition, redefining the concept of “intertextuality” in contemporary Polish literature. Jerzy Kutnik is a literature expert, Americanist and translator, author of two books on the music of John Cage, translator of the novel foreseen in the Liberatura series by Raymond Federman, Double or Nothing.

For readers interested in Liberatura, a useful theoretical context is given by the collection of sketches by Zenon Fajfer Liberatura, czyli literatura totalna, Teksty zebrane z lat 1999-2009 (Liberatura, or Total Literature, Selected Texts from 1999 to 2009), and Od Joyce’a do liberatura, (From Joyce to Liberatura) edited by Katarzyna Bazarnik as well as the book on the work of Georges Perec published by Korporacja Ha!art, Perec instrukcja obsługi (Perec: an instruction manual). The introduction to the first of these books, written by Wojciech Kalaga, was also published recently in the Internet magazine Dwutygodnik: The recent 30th edition of Ha!art magazine is dedicated to Liberatura, including many critical texts – including the “founding” sketch by Fajfer from 1999 – and is available on the Internet, at www.liberatura.pl, among other sites.