open libraries

watercolor inspired by Sayat Nova, The Color of Pomegranates,«Sayat Nova — Open Library» 2013
«Sayat Nova — Open Library» aquarelle, 2013

In the sublime film by Serguei Paradjanov, Sayat Nova, also known as The Color of Pomegranates, there is a scene after a torrential rain, where the young poet Sayat Nova carries thick tomes of illustrated manuscripts onto the church rooftop and spreads their pages out to dry under the sun. For a few seconds, one hears the fluttering of sheets, centuries of work unlocked, rustling in the wind.

This is the image that comes to mind when I think of the late Aaron Swartz, this bright young man who had engaged himself with such conviction in the free circulation of knowledge, open access and the freedom of the Internet. He had helped organize the Internet Blackout of last January in protest of the SOPA/PIPA bills being considered in Congress, bills that would have led to increased censorship of the web. In the act that led to his unjust prosecution under a nebulous law, he had downloaded millions of scholarly articles from the digital library JSTOR with the intention of making them freely accessible to the public, especially the developing world. A treasure trove of a library, whose legacy, he believed, belonged to all mankind.

I feel his spirit hovering over us who believe, reminding us of the vigorous will and impatience to understand and to change the structures of the world we live in.

1 commentaire:

Elysha Massatt a dit…

Thank you. I just watched Sayat Nova after reading your description. It had such cultural complexity and was entrancingly beautiful. I feel that I would like to watch it several times.

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