Thursday, April 23, 2020

"Sant Jordi NYC 2020" Online Festival


Two weeks ago we were about to launch the NYC version of Barcelona’s Sant Jordi Book Fair. There would be lit crawls in Chelsea and DUMBO, and bookstands and flower stalls in Madison Square. And concerts and guest authors. All swept away by COVID-19.
So. We’re went online. We’ve reinvented the festival as 32 hours of Sant Jordi NYC (Online). Four days of literature in translation, 8 hours a day, from April 23 to 26.

On Sant Jordi’s Day, Catalans celebrate St. George, the dragon slayer, who killed the fearsome beast to save the king’s daughter. For centuries, on this day, Catalan gentlemen would give their beloved a rose. In the 1920s the Catalan booksellers’ association added books into the mix and the Sant Jordi Book Festival was born. No longer gender-based, lovers, friends, and family now give one another books and roses. Valentine’s Day--for nerds. Knights and dragons and books and roses! How could a virus take us down?

32 Hours of Sant Jordi in New York is not only a literary offering, but an artistic and technological innovation. The web is designed by an extraordinary team of video artists and animators, Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger who have created a cityscape based on Madison Square, with the iconic Flatiron Building—which is shaped like an open book—at its heart. An online portal through which people can enter and choose an area of activity following different narratives, the site is innovative and interactive, incorporating live streaming of panel discussions, web-based AR experience, a virtual video mapping of the Flatiron with an original score composed by Nana Simopoulos, and the history of Sant Jordi as an immersive journey with augmented reality experiences that are accessed through a web browser rather than an app. Created in collaboration with interactive designer Aniol Saurina Masó, there will be thrilling visuals such as three-dimensional dragons that will chase user generated roses and books directly on the website.