The Piracy Project
- 1 Starting point and context: Byam Shaw School of Art Library closure
- 2 Open Call for copied, modified, emulated, annotated books
- 3 Searchable Online Catalogue
- 4 Reading Rooms organised between 2010 – 2015
- 5 Organising Discursive Events
- 6 Talks and Interviews
- 7 Workshops, Collective Research, Teaching with the Piracy Project
- 8 Edited Publications
- 9 What Others Say
Starting point and context: Byam Shaw School of Art Library closure
The Piracy Project started as a response to restrictive university policies, when in 2010, the university management announced to close the Byam Shaw School of Art library, due to a merger with the University of the Arts London. Students were advised to visit the library of the main campus in the city center. In a joint effort students and staff turned Byam Shaw’s art college library, supported by its acting principal, into a self-organized and self-governed library that remained public, and intellectually and socially generative.
Open Call for copied, modified, emulated, annotated books
The open call was circulated locally via printed posters and flyers, on AND Publishing's website and internationally through an art-agenda newsletter.
"Andrea Francke & AND Publishing would like to invite you to contribute to The Piracy Project, an international publishing and exhibition project exploring the philosophical, legal and practical implications of book piracy and creative modes of reproduction.
With a series of talks from guest speakers, workshops and an open call for pirated book projects to add to a Piracy Collection we aim to develop a critical and creative platform for issues raised by acts of cultural piracy. After a period of research and production at Byam Shaw Reading Room in London, this unique collection of books will travel to international venues in 2011.
The Piracy Project is not about stealing or forgery. It is about creating a platform to innovatively explore the spectrum of copying /re-editing/translating/paraphrasing/imitating/re-organising/manipulating of already existing works. Here creativity and originality sit not in the borrowed material itself, but in the way, it is handled."
The local, national and international entries which we received – (i)from students, staff and alumni at the art school, (ii) sent to us from across the world or (iii) found through our research and residencies in Peru, China, Turkey – were catalogued on an online database. The catalogue descriptions, created in collaboration with John Moseley, provide selected metadata as well as the strategies of reproduction, modification and distribution used by the respective pirate. The catalogue lists: title, author(= pirate), date, publisher (= pirate), format, printing, and source (the book that had been copied).
See searchable online catalogue
Reading Rooms organised between 2010 – 2015
Organising Discursive Events
- The books in the Piracy Project Reading Room at Kunstverein Munich were organised according to their distribution strategies – differentiating whether they circulate in black markets, grey markets, white markets, print on demand or as archival distribution. (→ See more in "reflection"). In this spirit, these two-week workshop focussed on alternative and informal and counter-public archives, collections, libraries and bookshops as well as print shops in Munich. For this research into local and informal knowledge infrastructures we invited Ingrid Scherf, the co-founder of Munich's independent Basis bookshop and event space (closed in 2010) and co-editor of "Das Blatt", West Germany's first alternative city magazine, published between 1973-84 in order to give a voice to those who are not represented by mainstream media. Marcell Mars passed by from his residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart to speak about his project Public Library, a collaboration with and Tomislav Medak. Sarah Käsmayr introduced us to her Raubkopiebuch investigating book piracy in the context of 1960s and 70s German student movement. Stephan Dillemuth invited us to unpack his Zine Archive. Ruth Höflich introduced us to her critical publishing practice and gave a guided tour through her father's print workshop, Druckwerkstatt Höflich, in Munich. Anna McCarthy invited us for a conversation about her exhibition Nein and her and Tagar's independent publishing, performance and recording practice. We also visited Steffi Hammann at the Munich Art Academy – where she together with Maria von Mier as a student set up a publishing house, Hammann von Mier, that operates from within the art school classroom. Finally we visited the copy shop Unikopie, a space – as the shop owners told us – is not only used as space for print production (making copies) but also for dissemination (leaving copies back in the shop for random people to pick them up). Download zine produced during the workshop
Talks and Interviews
16 April 2011 from 2-6pm AMASS: Towards an Economy of the Commons Chisenhale Gallery 64 Chisenhale Road, London E3 5QZ Organised by Doxa, …ment and Amateurist Network, three independent collectives based in London, this one-day event addresses the question, ‘What is the protocol of the commons?’. Artists, academics and policy- makers debate culture-led regeneration, precarity in the cultural economy and open source practices in the digital domain. www.chisenhale.org.uk
Workshops, Collective Research, Teaching with the Piracy Project
Brett Bloom (Temporary Services, Chicago) invited the Piracy Project to run a workshop in the series Making Social Realities with Books, which he co-organised with rum 46 in Copenhagen. The series of lectures and workshops explore the idea of how books – libraries, archives, publishing, and distribution - are used to create distinct social realities, whether it is in small communities, or entire movements within art practices and related activities. For this series Brett and rum 46 invited Art Leaks (New Brunswick), Eva Egerman (Vienna), Public Collectors (Chicago), David Senior (San Francisco), Banu Cenetoglu (Istanbul), Brandon LaBelle (Copenhagen), Delphine Bedel (Berlin) and Lauren van Haften-Schick (New York).
Participants of the Piracy Project workshop travelled from art academies in Denmark, Latvia and Estonia in order to collectively think through the complexities of cultural piracy. We explored strategies and ethics of unauthorised publishing, built on local facilities and knowledges, visited self-publishers, self-organised print shops, libraries and bookshops in Aarhus.
Vertiefung Piracy Project / Fortsetzung von Arbeit vom Vortrag
Appropriation / Manipulation von Text - Experimente / Verschränkungen
z. B. Transformative Reprography, Narrative Appropriation, Plagiarism (Narr. Appropr.), Curation from the Commas, Translatative Re-Authorship, Visual Re-Authorship, Experimental Authorship, Reductive Re-Authorship, Reductive Subtraction, Identity Subversion (Translation. Authorship), Bootleg (Visual Re-Authorship), Concrete Transformation (Narrative Appropriation), Critical Theory (Denial of Image Clearance) etc. > changing the ending, translating, taking out, insert etc...
dafür Mitbringen: Texte / Textausschnitte zum Thema “Alternate Futures”, bereits Teil der Recherche und Neues
This booklet printed in black and white with a blank library card slid into the front cover contains the full catalogue of the books in The Piracy Collection received by November 25.11.2011. It represents a specific point in time, as the collection is constantly evolving. Alongside an introduction, the catalogue contains cover images and short descriptions of the submitted book projects demonstrating many different strategies and approaches to un-authorised copying and piracy.
The Piracy Papers is a series published in irregular intervals that explores material previously published online.
Piracy Papers#1 Jackson Hole by Michael Eddy & Grandpa Eddy. Michael Eddy's Jackson Hole is an email exchange between Michael (based in Bejing) and his grandfather (based near Jackson Hole, USA) about the re-creation of the eponymous American town on the outskirts of Beijing, China and both writers's reflections on these two places that – although connected — are so different from each other.
Piracy Paper #2 The Author of Everything by James Bridle.In this short story James Bridle explores the possibilities and practices created by the current practice to employ workers overseas to digitise classic English literature into e-books. What are the systems that guarantee the truthful “transformation” of these texts.
Piracy Paper #3 The Junk Ships on Alibaba by Joanne McNeil. In this short story, Joanne McNeil describes a series of encounters with different types of counterfeit cultures around the world and their interaction with digital technologies.
The Piracy Project Reader is an open-ended reader, which will develop as people buy shares in one of its chapters. It explores the vocabulary relevant to Piracy Project and so far contains essays and contributions by Dave Hickey, Eva Hemmungs-Wirten, Joanne McNeil, Karen Di Franco, Lionel Bently, Prodromos Tsiavos, Sergio Munoz Sarmiento and awaits prospective essays by James Bridle, Stephen Wright and 16 others. Courtroom drawings are by Stephanie Thandiwe Johnstone. Many thanks to all supporters who have already bought a share.
Excerpt from the introduction to the book: "This book is not finished. It is the start of a dialogue that will grow as we go along. Normally when you publish a book it aims to be a resolved object, an end point of a process. Not this one. The thing is that there are two of us and that has become one of the key determinants on how the project evolves. There are always two voices and that allows us to always be open to different positions. I guess that’s what I call a dialogue." (...)