Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)
Monday, April 27, 2015
Printing in Blood
Posted by Jim Watts
A Lebanese Art and Culture magazine, Audio Kultur, has used human blood to print its issue commemorating the Armenian genocide.
NPR reports that
Lebanon became home to large numbers of Armenians fleeing the Turks during World War I. While many emigrated during the Lebanese civil war, several Beirut neighborhoods remain centers of Armenian culture.
So just how do you publish in blood? The magazine approached five notable Lebanese-Armenian artists, from musicians to designers. Phlebotomists drew the blood, collecting it in vials.
"Obviously when you do something like this it becomes a statement, and the reader will take away from it whatever they want to take away from it," Colacion told the Daily Star. "But what we want to do is just kind of celebrate this rich culture, which impacts all of us every day, especially in the arts."
Audio Kultur produced a video about the process and its goals:
The video ends with the text: "100 Years Later, Armenian blood is being spilled for recognition."
Writing in blood identifies texts with human bodies. The tendency to equate texts and humans is endemic to the history and rituals of textual culture, as demonstrated clearly by the multi-cultural essays in Kristina Myrvold's The Death of Sacred Texts. Blood writing has to my knowledge been used most recently to create a relic text at the opposite end of the political spectrum, a Qur'an written in Saddam Hussein's blood.