Ștefania Oprina, librarian

Bagajele abandonului

I ended the last day of peace dancing. Before and late after midnight. I was tired after a good long day, but I didn’t want to miss The Mono Jacks concert at Control Club. I thought several times about giving the ticket away, but I felt that I should celebrate somehow the successful day. On 23 February we were getting ready for the launch of a beautiful book, and we worked hard for it. We dressed the Seneca Anticafe amphitheatre in colourful canvases, clothes and craftsman jewellery. Canvases from which we were going to make skirts for little girls with our friends from CuAlteCuvinte.

Every time we change the decoration, many friends gather around us. I remember saying more than once that the following day, 24 February, would go down in history. It was the launch day and the book was a premiere which did just that, change history a bit.

Inelul cu cap de cal. Istoria romilor povestită copiilor (The horse head ring. The history of the Roma people told to children) by Ioanida Costache and Petra Gelbart, illustrated by Anca Smărăndache. A book that begins with a sudden change in the lives of the two characters, two children.

And while sewing the canvases, we talked about how far to go into the heavy topics. How much to tell the children in future workshops about wars, slavery, communism, the Holocaust or the displacements their ancestors went through. All this is part of the history, but one never knows how to tackle these sensitive topics without causing fear.

The next day, 24 February, I woke up to a message from the bookshop, asking whether I could order two more books, because they were in demand, and we were running out. This rarely happens, we have a well-balanced stock. It was about Refugees and Migrants and Global Conflict, from Cartemma Publishing House. This was the first picture of the 24th. Books ordered by parents trying to gently explain to their children the news that was everywhere and the shocking images for them. Those sensitive topics that one doesn’t know how to tackle.

Last Day of Peace, First Night of War is an interactive digital installation, part of the Museum of Abandonment, a digital wall of images showing the last days of peace collected from mobile phones.