Skip to main content
Menu Close

19 May 2024

Auckland Writers Festival Panel Talk – Pulp Friction: The Rise of Book Bans, with Shubigi Rao

Shubigi Rao, Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, 2022. Installation view, Singapore Pavilion, 59th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by National Arts Council, Singapore, curated by Ute Meta Bauer; exhibition design by Laura Miotto. Photograph by Alessandro Brasile.


What do the dystopian worlds of Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and 1984 all have in common? They are banned books. With literary censorship on the rise – in 2023 almost 2000 books were targeted for banning in America alone – the distinction between these fictional worlds and our own may not be as stark as we think.

Programmed as part of the Auckland Writers Festival 2024, Shubigi Rao will be joining a panel discussion covering the topic of the global rise of book bans, alongside authors Viet Thanh Nguyen and Lauren Groff, and journalist Adam Dudding from 11.30am to 12.30pm on Sunday 19 May 2024 in the Hunua Room at the Aotea Centre.

More information about ticketing for the panel discussion is available via the Auckland Writers Festival website here.

This panel discussion coincides with Shubigi Rao's exhibition, Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, presented by Te Tuhi from 18 April to 1 June 2024 at Te Wai Ngutu Kākā Gallery.

Te Tuhi in association with Te Wai Ngutu Kākā are also presenting a special book exchange, alongside the exhibition's free opening event, happening from 10am to 11.30am on Saturday 20 April 2024 at Te Wai Ngutu Kākā Gallery. For more information about the book exchange and opening event, click here.

About the Artist
Artist and writer Shubigi Rao makes layered installations of books, etchings, drawings, pseudo-scientific machines, metaphysical puzzles, video, ideological board games, garbage, and archives, and has been exhibited and collected in Singapore and internationally. Her interests include archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature and violence, ecologies and natural history.

Since 2014 she has been visiting public and private collections, libraries and archives globally for Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, a decade-long film, book and visual art project about the history of book destruction. As an artist in residence at CCA, Gillman Barracks, Singapore, she released her first book from the project in January 2016. It was shortlisted for the biennial Singapore Literature Prize 2018 (non-fiction).

The second book from the series won the Singapore Literature Prize (nonfiction) in 2020. The first instalment of the project Written in the Margins, won the Juror's Choice Award at the APB Signature Art Prize 2018.

About the Exhibition
Presented in Aotearoa by Te Tuhi in association with Te Wai Ngutu Kākā Gallery, Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, takes the form of a book, film and paper maze, to explore the precarity and persistence of endangered languages, the futures of knowledge, public and alternative libraries, and the cosmopolitanism of regional print communities that have blossomed and waned in historic centres of print.

Set in the historic cities of print of Venice and Singapore, her film, Talking Leaves, explores the tales of those at the frontlines of saving books and libraries, by ways of personal confidences and poetic reflections, documentary and mytho-poetic languages. Her book, Pulp III: An Intimate Inventory of the Banished Book, chronicles her long-term artistic research process and conceptual reframing of the book and the library.

Commissioned for the Singapore Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, and curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Pulp III marks the midpoint of Shubigi Rao’s evocative 10-year project, Pulp, which explores the history of book destruction and those who persist in its margins to protect the futures of knowledge.

Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book is a lyrical manuscript that charts the breadth of human cultural endeavour through shared stories of humanity and communities of print.

Te Tuhi is open as usual during the Eastern Busway construction. 21 William Roberts Road, Pakuranga, is the best address to enter into navigation apps to guide you to the free parking at our door. Please call us on (09) 577 0138 if you have any questions.