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Book Cube

03-200x830OSA inherited 100,000 books, mostly on the history and economy of the Cold War period, from the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). A large portion of that collection now forms the core of OSA's reference library while another portion was offered gratis to the general public at an event organized in summer 2007 (see photos here). The remaining 20,000 books, candidates for disposal, have been set aside for artistic projects, including our Concrete: Books Bound in Concrete and more recently the Book Cube project.

Twenty cubes have been made, standard in form but differing in content. The cubes will be exhibited at twenty different cultural or academic sites, moving every year. The intention behind the project is to provoke public debate, performances, and programs on the relation of books and collecting to history and memory.

The Book Cube is a public place object made of polyester resin and paper (books). During the creation process, the books were first arranged so that the overlapping volumes formed a highly solid cubiform structure and then cast in a plastic material resembling plexiglass. Each side of the cube offers different content and a different look, depending on the spines of the books. The total weight of one cube is nearly 60 kg., which makes it very solid, almost immovable. It is resistant to the effects of time and the elements, and at the same time it is a comfortable and utilitarian furnishing for indoor public spaces.

“The purpose of the Book Cubes is to invite the public to reconsider commonly held values on printing and books while giving these books (which, looking at their lending history, were produced mostly unnecessarily) a new, decorative and useful function. Rather than positioning itself at one of the extremes Let’s keep everything and Not useful, throw out, the Book Cube raises a problem, questions a social and cultural belief and calls attention to the discrepancy between principle and practice, i.e. that books are generally revered as the embodiment of knowledge and culture, yet sometimes they are useless. While the Book Cube does not solve this dilemma, it rephrases it in a unique way and also has a practical purpose: it is a place where one can rest.” (Miklós Tamási, creator of the Book Cube)

Application for a Book Cube is open to anyone and is free of charge. Ideal applicants are sites of culture, science and art (schools, libraries, archives, museums and galleries) but civil organizations are welcome too. Our idea is that each cube should serve to galvanize debates, events and programs concerning the topic of books, publishing, libraries. Therefore, applicants are requested to explain briefly in the application form how they can contribute to this objective. The 20 winning applicants will be selected by jury annually; the first selection will take place on May 30, 2009. Applicants organizing a public event in relation with the issues raised by the Book Cube will be prioritized. OSA Archivum will cover the delivery of the Book Cubes.

Application form

Sample Agreement


Museum of Ethnography, Budapest
Holocaust Memorial Center
University Library, Debrecen
Corvinus University, Budapest, Central Library
• Györköny, Library
Carl Rogers School, Budapest
Pécsi Tudományegyetem, University Library
Dugonics András Piarista Gimnázium, Szeged
II. Rákóczi Ferenc secondary grammar school
Library of the Central European University
Library of the "Gate of Dharma" Buddhist College
Eötvös Loránd University. Department of English Studies

Our book projects

• István Rév: Konkrétum
• Ádám Nádasdy: Concrete. (Books bound in Concrete)
• Installation of Concrete.

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Books as a problem

Books as artwork


Supported by the Hungarian Institute for Culture and Art

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