Traces from an action over two years: 3,000 colour photographs, pins, pencil wall text.
Exh.: Feedback: Art, Social Consciousness, and Resistance, curated by Charlotte Day, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne,19 March-10 May 2003.
On 30 August 1999 East Timorese voted overwhelmingly to become an independent nation in a ballot sponsored by the UN. Following the announcement of the result, occupying Indonesian troops carried out systematic destruction throughout East Timor. Within two weeks several thousand civilians were murdered (a precise number is unknown), 200,000 were forcibly transported to concentration camps in West Timor and other parts of Indonesia, and most significant infrastructure was destroyed.
Books were targeted for destruction. Libraries were systematically burned, amongst them the widely-used university library and the English library in Dili. Private collections of books were targeted, and in notable cases book collections of prominent intellectuals and independence activists were collected on the street where they were publicly set alight. In villages, schools were systematically destroyed. Action for another library was established in Melbourne in response to these circumstances. Thousands of books were donated by bookstores, libraries, and individuals. They were shipped to Dili in containers where they now form part of the nascent National Library of East Timor. The title pages of some books were photographed before the books were sent to East Timor.
In the period leading up to the exhibition Feedback: Art, Social Consciousness, and Resistance, Tom Nicholson was one of several Australian artists to organise artist actions against the looming invasion of Iraq. At the outbreak of the bombing during the course of the exhibition, he was one of several artists who covered work in protest and mourning.
After action for another library was also exhibited as a site-specific installation at the Humboldt University in Berlin later 2003. An artist book, After action for another library, was produced to coincide with the Berlin exhibition.
Background on the history of East Timor leading up to After action for another library.
Credits for After action for another library.
Writing on the work After action for another library.
After action for another library was generously supported by Arts Victoria, and the Australia Centre, Berlin.