Reviving Forgotten Memories: Literary Event Explored Cultural Reflections in “Machine, Do You Know Your Duty?”
Ljubljana/Vrt Lili Novy, 16. June 2023 – The literary event at the Slovene Book Days, centered around the book “Veš, mašina, svoj dolg” (“Machine, Do You Know Your Duty?”), took attendees on a thought-provoking journey through time and memory. Renowned poet Esad Babačić delves into the vivid recollections of punk meeting points and weathered basketball courts, capturing the essence of the Slovenian capital’s social fabric both then and now. The event was seeking to revive forgotten memories, urging participants to reevaluate overlooked aspects of our shared history and contemplate their place in the present.
Babačić’s book is a collection of thirty-two short essays that explore cultural and philosophical comparisons between the social composition of the Slovenian capital in bygone eras and its present state. Rather than providing explicit solutions or peddling answers, the author embraces a questioning approach. He deliberately sheds light on the forgotten and the ignored, encouraging readers to embark on a personal quest to uncover a spirit that still lingers within us but has become unrecognizable and undervalued.
In an effort to make the collection accessible to a broader audience, the translation of “Veš, mašina, svoj dolg” into English is currently underway. Esteemed translators Erica Johnson Debeljak and Lukas Debeljak have taken on this task as part of the esteemed “Litteræ Slovenicæ” series. The trio, consisting of poet Esad Babačić, translator Erica Johnson Debeljak, and editor Kristina Sluga, were engaged in an enlightening discussion during the event. They delved into the creative process behind the essay collection, provide insights into the challenges faced during translation, and offer valuable perspectives on the profound implications of their work.
The event sparked undoubtedly meaningful conversations and contribute to the broader appreciation of literature and cultural preservation.