Hand to hand. Uģis Brikmanis tells about „Chain of Booklovers”

Hand to hand. Uģis Brikmanis tells about „Chain of Booklovers”
Kaspars Garda, Rīga 2014 . Director Uģis Brikmanis
28-06-2013 A+ A-
On Thursday, 27 June, a registration for „Chain of Booklovers” started, that is one of the introducing projects of The European Capital of Culture in 2014, while at the same time „Esplanāde 2014” creative and information space was opened. „Chain of Booklovers” will go on from 18 January, 2014. The author of the whole idea is director and curator of „Thirst for the Ocean” thematic line for „Rīga 2014” Uģis Brikmanis. He thinks that a book symbolizes our culture the best, besides, culture should be passed on to other hands, eyes and generations.

"It's important to know this is not some populistic campaign. It is a testimony of our culture, and we are the ones who need it.

So I, as well, need to join the chain together with my daughter and granddaughter, then I have the feeling that culture is something we might deliver further," explains Brikmanis. He is sure the campaign will be managed if one speaks to the people right and holds on to real values.

„It's important to me that people know they have to do things themselves,” says Brikmanis. Human connection and symbolic cultural values delivery from hand to hand, from a human to human, these are the central thoughts of his idea.


„Books don't need this campaign. Books can be put into boxes by a robot sending everything to a storage. We need this. The chain has to strenghten awareness that people are what matters in this world. It's the people to whom culture should be delivered, not technologies,” adds Brikmanis.

„Chain of Booklovers” was created through many impulses and sharp debates in order to find out the right plan for this event being significant and real. The author of the idea says it can't be pretentious or some kind of a show.

What should be done in this age when all beautiful and valuable ideas are exploited by advertisers in a really trivial manner? That is what Brikmanis asks saying that new generation lacks the event that's really something. So the main goal of this campaign is to create this event by delivering our cultural values further. People meet each other through the process, that is what matters, points out Brikmanis.

Of course, not everything from The National Library storage will be moved in a cold January day. It will rather be a symbolic campaign. Besides, participants will be able to fulfill „Tautas grāmatplaukts” in Gaismas pils („Bookshell for the people” at Castle of Light) by their own books they decided to give away. So everyone will be invited to donate a book that someone else might like to read.

First intuitive wish for Brikmanis was to bring „Mūžības skartie” („Touched by eternity”), a book by Aleksandrs Čaks, so he might put it in „Tautas grāmatplaukts”. At the same time, it could be some accidentally chosen children's book, he adds.

„I didn't have ”Mūžības skartie„ in a book, just some handwritings I read. When I got out of The Soviet Union, it was the first book I brought back to Latvia. It's important to me..I think every man and boy should read it. We would not have Latvia or barricades without this book.”


The better way how to transport 20 000 books from old home to the new one is to involve around 20 000 people for this matter. Also changing the chain might be possible or made shorter in some cases depending on the weather. Currently, everyone can register to „Chain of Booklovers” sections considering their own abilities and persistence. They have a section for families at Vērmane Garden. Those who want some challenge can choose the section over The Stone Bridge, this is the hard one. Because it's not easy, to stand on a bridge in the middle of January.

Brikmanis is sure the weather won't be an issue, no matter what January brings in 2014. „It's a job that needs to be done in spite of a bad weather. We just need to find harmony in it.”

Brikmanis doubt that physical from of books will be replaced by digital. „They said that theatre is dead as soon as cinema went on, when TV was brought, they thought cinema would be dead. Then internet came in, the same was predicted for TV. Still, we see theatre, cinema and TV still exists. I think, this will be the same with books. Of course, digital book editions are necessary, but physical form is an art form that lasts for ages.”

Exhibition „The Book 1514-2014” will be another way to experience the richness of book art during the programme of „Rīga 2014” included in „Thirst for the Ocean”. The goal of the exhibition is to create a modern, interactive exposition full of information as a symbolic reminder of 500 years of books going on from European printing „explosion” ages.

Everyone can register to „Chain of Booklovers” in „Rīga 2014” portal. The road from the old National Library house on Kr. Barona iela 14 (14 Kr. Barons Street) to Gaismas pils is 2014 meters long divided into eight sections: Vērmane Garden, Merķeļa iela (Merķelis Street) to Rainis Avenue, Rainis Avenue to Aspazija Avenue, Audēju iela (Audēji Street), Grēcinieku iela (Grēcinieki Street), 11 November Embankment, The Stone Bridge and Mūkusalas iela (Mūkusala Street). Choose the most convenient time and place upon registration.


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