Date and place of start: 1999, Cracow, Poland

Place: Cracow, Poland

Theme: literature, liberature

ECC Participation: artist

photo: Jerzy Szot

Katarzyna Bazarnik and Zenon Fajfer are the two leading names in the field of liberature, a new literary genre in which the physical form of the book, like the text itself, is used to convey content. The name and premises of liberature were created by Zenon Fajfer and proclaimed in 1999 in an essay/manifesto titled “Liberature (Appendix to a Dictionary of Literary Terms).” Bazarnik and Fajfer will be holding a liberature workshop at the European Culture Congress as a part of the Reading Lab project.

“Liberature is freedom. It is literature unbound by the constraints imposed by rules, canons, and critics.”

The pair have published the triptych Oka-leczenie (2000–2009) and (O)patrzenie (2003), considered the first books in the genre of liberature. They edit their own publishing series for the Korporacja Ha!art publishing house and run the Liberature Reading Room at the Malopolska Institute of Culture. Together, they apply their formal and literary fascinations in the experimental theater duo Zenkasi.

Katarzyna Bazarnik works at the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University, where she researches literary theory, liberature, and the writing of James Joyce. She is the author of the book Joyce and Liberature (2011) and two issues of “Literatura na Świecie” devoted to the work of James Joyce (2004) and B.S. Johnson (2008). Her translation of the B.S. Johnson novel The Unfortunates won a distinction at the 2008 Wrocław Book Fair. Her articles and lectures in Polish and international journals and conferences introduced the concept of liberature to academia.

Aside from his visual and spatial technique of shaping text, Zenon Fajfer has developed an original literary form known as “emanational poetry.” This technique introduces a new, hidden dimension to the text, encouraging the reader to actively co-participate. He is also the creator of kinetic and graphic poetry (sign-poems).

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