What Dust Will Rise?
Bamiyan travertine, glass, vitrines, bullets, shrapnel, meteorites, Libyan desert glass, trinitite, fragments of the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan, books burned during the Second World War
Commissioned by dOCUMENTA(13)
Kassel, Germany and Kabul, Afghanistan
Permanent collection, Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany and National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul
What Dust Will Rise? recreates selections from the State Library of Hesse-Kassel that were destroyed in a fire in the Fridericianum—which has served as one of the main venues for the Documenta exhibitions since 1955, and is where my project was sited—during a bombing by the British Royal Air Force on September 9, 1941. With the help of stone carvers from Afghanistan and Italy, I remade these lost volumes out of travertine quarried in the hills of Bamiyan, where two monumental sixth-century sandstone Buddhas were dynamited by the Taliban. The undertaking conjures tombstones and recalls the tradition of stone books serving as surrogates for the illiterate.