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Projects > Bibliobandido

  • Project Description
  • Creators + Credits
  • Image Gallery + Fan Club

Bibliobandido - Overview

El Bibliobandido is a story-hungry bandit who roves the jungles of northern Honduras — a region with an 80% illiteracy rate — where he terrorizes little kids until they write and offer stories to nourish his insatiable appetite.

Catch a glimpse of this living legend at New York City's Studio Museum in Harlem. Find him prowling ArtForum and the annals of Carribean art history...


The Legend of El Bibliobandido
from REV- on Vimeo.

Conceived by REV- in 2010 in collaboration with the community of El Pital, a village in Northern Honduras where rural illiteracy rates average 80%*, El Bibliobandido first induced terror, laughter, and tears in los niños (and more than a few adults), prompting them to write and read furiously in order to avert calamity. Soon after, he became the chief villain that the community loved to hate. The originary drama was repeated on a monthly basis replete with new characters—the police that show up chasing after (but never catching) El Bibliobandido, tiny accomplices referred to as 'Los Bandiditos,' and—as of May 2012—an inspector who imperiously rides through town examining the books offered by little kids to make sure they are at their most succulent, most spicy, and most sweet.

Since 2010, the living legend of El Bibliobandido has brought bookmaking and storywriting activities to surrounding villages—some with hardly any books or paper. Today, dozens of adults and over 500 kids from across the northwest region of Honduras are involved in the story's unfold. Teachers in the 18 participating villages exchange information about literacy activities as well as the latest Bibliobandido ‘episode’ that their communities invent and dramatically enact on the third week of every month (or 'Bibliobandido Week’), marking the monthly harvest of stories. El Pital remains Bibliobandido Headquarters, where one part time paid employee and 15 volunteers with a median age of 14 coordinate outreach within the region. There lies a troupe of eager kids ready for new stories to offer El Bibliobandido.

* According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in 2009, more than 40% of the Honduran population suffers from illiteracy; that number jumps to 80% when concerning rural populations.

Bibliobandido - Creators + Credits

Creative Director:
Marisa Jahn

Bibliobandido Collaborators: Rachel McIntire, Anjum Asharia, and 500 people in and around the community of El Pital, Honduras

Director & Producer: Marisa Jahn

Koqui • (El Bibliobandido)
Yaquira Cantillano • (La Inspectora)
Danny Perez, Denny Perez, Eduardo Perez • (Narrators)

Durkis Acosta, Jorge Aguilar, Javier Anchecta, Anjum Asharia, Alicia Banegas, Andy Banegas, Eldy Carcamo, Elias Santos Dubon, Denis Espinal, Elly Goetz, Marcos Guillen, Marisa Jahn, Rachel McIntire, Marilo Pinto, Rosalina Pinto, Adonis Ponce, Lourdes Ponce, Melvin Reyes

The Communities of: El Pital, La Muralla, La Colorada, La Lucha, La Cuenca del Cangrejal, Honduras

Director of Photography: Marc Shavitz

Costumes & Props: Marisa Jahn, Lourdes Ponce

Two Letter U'S • Safety Scissors (Album: Parts Water)
Penso Ascoltando • Senor Coconut (Album: Break n' Bossa)
Smooth Operator • Senor Coconut (Album: Fiesta Songs)

Support: Un Mundo, REV-, Convent of the Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco

Bibliobandido - Image Gallery + Fan Club

Episode 1: Origins of El Bibliobandido

You might have heard about mobile libraries on the backs of camels, trucks, horses—or even the infamous ‘Biblioburro’ that roves around rural Columbia. But in June of this year in El Pital, a village in rural Honduras, a masked bandit calling himself the Bibliobandido ambled through town in broad daylight, mounted on a burro. Onlookers screamed, smiled, or ran to hide.

During the monthly story hour, a group of kids discovered that the maudlin character left a notice on the library door that read, “I am the Bibliobandido. I am ravenous for stories, and stories give me sustenance. Those that don’t feed me…beware!”

El Bibliobandido circa 2010.

download as hi res image

No one knew what to make of this warning but the village kids right away went to work, drawing their recollection of the bandido to both warn others and to give a description to the cops who were busy pulling aside suspects that bore any resemblance to the intruder.

download as hi res image

Another group of youth wrote stories investigating what might have been the bandido’s plausible motives. One youth speculated that the bandido probably picked up his scare tactics in a bandido school; some created a Bibliobandido-themed menu; others speculated what stories might have been "all jumbled up" inside the bandido’s stomach (Pinochio, Cinderella, or fables about ants, stinging ants, leaf cutter ants, etc.). In order that they be spared from his incredible appetite, those that wrote stories wrote their names down in the small notebook found in the Bibliobandido’s vestpocket so that he would know for sure who had made their offering.

The following days, kids in various villages put up signs alerting those coming to town of the bandido as a possible danger.

download as hi res image

download as hi res image

The legend of the Bibliobandido spread like wildfire, and copycat bandidos began appearing throughout the region. Some were quite convincing but most lacked the same gravitas as the original.

For now, communities along the Cangrejal River in Northern Honduras continue to write stories and have been successful in appeasing the Bibliobandido.

download as hi res image

But who knows where or when he might next hunger…

download as hi res image


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. NannyVan featured on Fusion TV (Univision)!

. The NannyVan in The New York Times and Hyperallergic!

. July 19 (1-3 pm): NannyVan at No Longer Empty. 155th St. at Saint Nicholas, Harlem NYC.

. July 12: El Bibliobandido at Peréz Art Museum, Miami. Avert calamity! Make books!

. June 14 (12-3 pm): Celebrate International Domestic Workers' Day with the NannyVan at the Queens Museum.

. ESSAY: "Macaronic Dialogue and Interactive Media." by Marisa Jahn in MIT Open Doc Lab Research Forum

. April 24, 2014: NannyVan + Immigrant Nation Launch at DCTV, NYC.

. May 8, 2014: NannyVan Launches at MIT. Event co-presenters: MIT Open Doc Lab, MIT Center for Civic Media, StoryCode, and NuLawLab

. May 16-18, 2014: NannyVan at Open Engagement, Queens Museum (NYC)

. April 26, 2014: NannyVan at Tribeca Film Festival, NYC

. Feb/March 2014: NannyVan Tours the Southwest.

. Spring 2014: MicroMuseum at the American Museum of Natural History. An augmented reality mobile game workshop for teens about microorganisms

. ESSAY: Why Call it Art? The Aesthetics of Participation
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Don't Miss:

. El Bibliobandido in ArtForum. Catch El Bibliobandido, the chief villain you love to hate, commandeering full page spreads in ArtForum and the annals of Caribbean art history!

. Pro+agonist with Cornel West, Jill Magid, McKenzie Wark, Saskia Bos, Carl DiSalvo, Mendi+Keith, and others.

. REV- at the White House.