Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011) – To celebrate Buenos Aires being named the 2011 World Book Capital by UNESCO, Argentine artist Marta Minujin created the Tower of Babel, a spiraling tower structure made from books from all over the world. The tower, which is composed of 30,000 books donated from libraries, individual readers, and more than 50 embsassies, reaches 82 feet high and took weeks to complete.

Built-in scaffolding that lined the cascade of books allowed visitors to ascend the tower. The walk was accompanied by music composed by Minujin and the recorded sound of her voice saying the word “book” in several different languages. Minujin has built large-scale structures out of books in the city before: in 1983 she constructed a full=-scale model of the Parthenon using books banned by the military dictatorship then in power.

When the Tower of Babel was taken down at the end of May, book lovers were allowed to take one book each. The remaining books will be used to create a new archive, The Library of Babel, in Buenos Aires.