With this very last task, we were asked to reflect on the one-year friendship we were supposed to build with our assigned books. My book was called “Architectura militaris nova et aucta, oder newe vermehrte Fortification, von Regular Vestungen, von Irregular Vestungen und Aussen Wercken, von praxi offensiva und defensiva : auff die neweste niederländische Praxin gerichtet und beschrieben» and written by Adam Freitag, a polish writer.
I was rather lucky to find out, that my book was actually written in German. Yet upon meeting it for the first time at the Zentralbibliothek in the heart of Zurich, I realized, I was not able to read it, nonetheless. The font, while incredibly detailed, was unreadable for my eyes. Except for a few words here and there, I was not able to talk to my book and to build the foundation for this supposed friendship. However, I do have to admit, that there was a sort of special aura surrounding that book. For instance, I’ve never been able to touch and “read” such an old book before. I was amazed as soon as the employee laid the book in front of me, as I was not allowed to look for it myself. Its size and weight were impressive as well. The pages, still in good shape, felt old and used and I started to think about what this book had gone through all of these hundreds of years. It was definitely an experience to remember and one I probably won’t get to experience again soon.
The next task, called “Lineage”, was rather boring compared to the last one. We were asked to look into its heritage and history, to find out, if it had any descendants of some sort. Mine turned out to have kids or nephews or whatever they are considered. There were some translations over the years.
Then there was “Text & Image”, a task that eventually would destroy a possible friendship. We were asked to run an OCR on our books to make them talk, yet mine still refused to give in. It didn’t want to corporate, the words and phrases didn’t make any sense, even though they were supposed to be in German. Finally, I’ve had enough and I was assigned a new book.
My old friend was replaced by a much younger and more handsome comrade. “The Stones of Venice” by Ruskin it was called. Because of COVID-19 and the end of a semester, I was not allowed to meet once again with my “friend”. I suppose it was for the better after all, I couldn’t have betrayed my old friend after all. Unfortunately, I was stuck with checking boring facts on the web, to be able to execute the last task.
On a positive note, there was no hard and tearful goodbye, yet there was no friendship either.