BOOKBURN / Library of Books Burned was a multimedia installation in which the viewer was placed in the center of a book burning.
To Hungarian-American artist George Peck, book burnings in the news were a barbaric echo of a childhood memory in Budapest: the first night of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, in which he was awakened from his sleep by the sounds of the Russian bookstore downstairs being trashed, and books set ablaze.
In response to this violent and widespread form of censorship, Peck and filmmaker Hugo Perez created BOOKBURN / Library of Books Burned — to unsettle, to provoke, and to call attention to the historical and continued destruction of cultural material and the suppression of free thought.
BOOKBURN‘s presentation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust pointed to the infamous history of book burnings in Nazi Germany and the violent destruction of texts that were deemed “impure,” “un-German,” or politically dangerous. The titles recited to guests in the installation and presented on the labels of the jars are the titles of books that were burned in Germany in 1933.