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The reflection on the Library of Inclusions and Omissions looks at the potentials and limitations of libraries, online and physical, for accessing, activating and disseminating knowledge. After all, libraries are spaces that turn marketable goods into public goods. They provide free access to knowledge that would otherwise have to be purchased.<ref name="Library Bill of Rights"></ref> However libraries are also disciplinary institutions determining what is validated as relevant knowledge. [See Library Underground] This tension which materials are validated as relevant knowledge and which are left out forms the underlying question of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions. As a practice-led enquiry into library infrastructures including their policies of access, validation, and classification, the project is an attempt to find out in which way such a community-run resource is fundamentally different from institutional libraries with their respective instituted selection and validation processes. The project intends to test dissemination, reading and cataloguing practices that tackle the biases of institutional library infrastructures. It inquires curatorial concepts to give voice to hidden, suppressed or not acknowledged materials. It asks in which way could such a curatorial strategy help to share not acknowledged struggles, and subsequently turn a library from being a repository of knowledge (Samek 2003, Springer 2015) into spaces of social and intellectual encounter and action? Can such a library project help building a community or connecting different communities?
 
The reflection on the Library of Inclusions and Omissions looks at the potentials and limitations of libraries, online and physical, for accessing, activating and disseminating knowledge. After all, libraries are spaces that turn marketable goods into public goods. They provide free access to knowledge that would otherwise have to be purchased.<ref name="Library Bill of Rights"></ref> However libraries are also disciplinary institutions determining what is validated as relevant knowledge. [See Library Underground] This tension which materials are validated as relevant knowledge and which are left out forms the underlying question of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions. As a practice-led enquiry into library infrastructures including their policies of access, validation, and classification, the project is an attempt to find out in which way such a community-run resource is fundamentally different from institutional libraries with their respective instituted selection and validation processes. The project intends to test dissemination, reading and cataloguing practices that tackle the biases of institutional library infrastructures. It inquires curatorial concepts to give voice to hidden, suppressed or not acknowledged materials. It asks in which way could such a curatorial strategy help to share not acknowledged struggles, and subsequently turn a library from being a repository of knowledge (Samek 2003, Springer 2015) into spaces of social and intellectual encounter and action? Can such a library project help building a community or connecting different communities?
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Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy's opens up the questions from the relationship between dissemination and formation. It looks at the micro-politics of how we meet and the formats, institutional policies....
  
  
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It asks.....
 
It asks.....
  
 
Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy's opens up the questions from the relationship between dissemination and formation. It looks at the micro-politics of how we meet and the formats, institutional policies....
 
  
  
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= Library of Inclusions and Omissions: Radical Publishing Practices require radical librarianship =
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= Library of Inclusions and Omissions: radical publishing practices require radical librarianship =
  
 
Libraries constitute an important repository for knowledge. .... Anna Sophie Springer....  Despite the rising importance and availability of online repositories, phisical libraries' most subversive ....
 
Libraries constitute an important repository for knowledge. .... Anna Sophie Springer....  Despite the rising importance and availability of online repositories, phisical libraries' most subversive ....
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If we understand the LIO as an experiment to question and rework our assumptions and prejudices and histories of the ways we classify, categorise, refer to and connect to each other we also need to think through our habits. As Spivak claims "what is crucial in habit formation, is exactly what is missing in it. “A habit does not question. Habits lack the critical capacity to interrogate themselves”.[→ Spivak 2012, 8]
 
If we understand the LIO as an experiment to question and rework our assumptions and prejudices and histories of the ways we classify, categorise, refer to and connect to each other we also need to think through our habits. As Spivak claims "what is crucial in habit formation, is exactly what is missing in it. “A habit does not question. Habits lack the critical capacity to interrogate themselves”.[→ Spivak 2012, 8]
 
Therefore such a performative proposition, like LIO or the policy document "Study Rules" at erg in Brussels [see → Performative Propositions@survey of the field] generate the capacity to acknowledge and interrogate these habits. The circulation of the study rules at erg, for example, instigated staff members and students to consider, acknowledge, name and eventually unlearn their own privileges. Although it has been apparent, that the proposed rules' implementation is not possible due to legal limits, the mere circulation of the document was performative by questioning the long-established habit framework of the institution and its members and this alone can help to adjust the normalised positions of authority in Western education.
 
Therefore such a performative proposition, like LIO or the policy document "Study Rules" at erg in Brussels [see → Performative Propositions@survey of the field] generate the capacity to acknowledge and interrogate these habits. The circulation of the study rules at erg, for example, instigated staff members and students to consider, acknowledge, name and eventually unlearn their own privileges. Although it has been apparent, that the proposed rules' implementation is not possible due to legal limits, the mere circulation of the document was performative by questioning the long-established habit framework of the institution and its members and this alone can help to adjust the normalised positions of authority in Western education.
 
  
 
=Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? (Collective Organising: Who authorises whom?)=
 
=Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? (Collective Organising: Who authorises whom?)=
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(ERES, 2007)
 
(ERES, 2007)
  
Let's Mobilise starts where the LIO left off. LIO was initially conceived for an exhibition context and proposed a possible model to be adapted and discussed by institutional libraries. In contrast "Let's Mobilise" situates itself right inside a higher education institution, Valand Art Academy, in Gothenburg. Let's Mobilize starts from the assumption that institutions aren't self-contained and fixed structures, but environments where there is an "instituting movement" at stake. Laurence Rassel points to the double definition of the word “institution”, on the one hand as a potential to be developed (instituting), on the other as constituting an established form (institution), whereby we encounter alienation when the “instituted” takes precedence over the “instituting.” [→ Laurence Rassel "Rethinking the art school" http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/rethinking-the-art-school/]
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Let's Mobilise, in a way, starts where the LIO left off. As LIO was initially conceived for an exhibition context proposing a possible model to be adapted and discussed by institutional libraries, as an artistic project, it was relatively self-contained. "Let's Mobilise", in contrast, situates itself right inside a higher education institution, Valand Art Academy, in Gothenburg addressing all the tensions and energies and procedures dominating such an institutional context. Let's Mobilize starts from the assumption that institutions aren't self-contained and fixed structures, but environments formed by an "instituting movement" of its members. Artist and current director of École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels Laurence Rassel points to the double definition of the word “institution”, on the one hand as a potential to be developed (instituting), on the other as constituting an established form (institution), whereby we encounter alienation when the “instituted” takes precedence over the “instituting.” [→ Laurence Rassel "Rethinking the art school" http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/rethinking-the-art-school/]
  
What Let's Mobilise has in common with the LIO is the interrogation of references that are available to us. However, while LIO dealt with questions of published material, Let's Mobilise focuses on an earlier point and therefore more complex moment in knowledge practices, namely the moment of learning and teaching. Both projects share their concern that institutional habits establish canons and exclusions, whether politically conscious or unconscious, that hinder
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What Let's Mobilise has in common with the LIO is the drive to interrogate the dominant knowledge references and their respective formats. To establish how the selection, format and infrastructures of production and circulation shape the way content is read and makes meaning. However, while LIO is dealing with questions of temporary stabilisations in form of published material, Let's Mobilise, in contrast, focuses on an earlier point in the chain of knowledge practices, namely the moment of learning and teaching, a discursive, time-based moment that is very much determined by the norms and regulations of a state-run higher education institution, in this case Valand Art Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  
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The question was how the event, the moment of articulation and discourse can address questions of inclusive learning and teaching in an environment, where tendencies towards polarisation and discrimination in wider society have a perceptible influence on attitudes and behaviours within education, and in our classrooms. In an attempt to meet these contemporary threats to diversity, questions about pedagogical inclusivity have risen to the forefront. Critical intersectional feminist pedagogies have, by now, been proven to provide valuable conceptual and practical tools with which to focus on inclusivity. Intersectionality asserts that oppressions (based in racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. This is particularly true in the field of art, where teaching is known to be open to devising and applying new critical frameworks, tools of analysis and creative practices.
  
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The explicit aim of "Let's Mobilise: What is Feminist Pedagogy?" was fostering inclusive pedagogies, and questioning the so-called neutrality and equality in systems of schooling, production and consumption in the arts. How can people from various backgrounds, fields, abilities, gender identification, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion collectively explore how intersectional and de-colonial approaches can activate and
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spread embodied and theoretical knowledges. [ref These questions are currently being further explored in the → Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Teaching to Transgress Toolbox, that builds on Let's Mobilise. I don't include in the submission of the PhD, as it would extend the scope of this thesis.]
  
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The workgroup that formed of students, staff and administrators <ref name="workgroup" /> held lunchtime meetings, had dinners at homes or communicated online. We met in our studios and offices and in bars, went for walks and field trips, held daylong sessions and invited guests to brainstorm with and to learn from. We read texts, shared experiences, raised doubts and concerns. In a nutshell, we just followed our desires not to struggle forward and chew on these questions as individuals. Rather we got together to acknowledge the importance of queer and feminist issues in education as a group.
  
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The workgroup's work can be described in two phases. The first six months we held bi-weekly lunchtime meetings in order to meet and share our teaching experiences, conflicts with students or management, as well as to read and discuss texts. For this, we started an online shadow library, where a wide range of material from different historical periods, territories, backgrounds was gathered – material generated inside and outside of academia. It is also important to note that these regular meetings offered a space to also share informally information and gossip, things that were not officially circulated but crucial for understanding the social fabric of the institution and the people working together at the academy.
  
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The second phase was more focused on planning and organising a "conference", marking the closing of Valand Academy's 150th anniversary events<ref name="anniversary"/>, an event that practically tests and redefines the format and style of coming together to create and transmit knowledge.<ref name="working group names"/> The quotation marks around the term conference already give a hint on how the workgroup attempted to rethink the traditional terms and related roles, functions and hierarchies at the Valand Academy by crucially redefining the nomenclature.<ref name="glossary"/> That descriptors are not neutral, that the terminology we use is political has been discussed in the section above [→ Naming and framing under the disguise of neutrality].
  
Selected core questions included 'How is knowledge transmitted and validated?'; 'What is the power of citation practices?'; 'When do we learn?'; 'What kind of resources are we accessing to learn?'; 'How can we broaden our understanding of feminist and non-Eurocentric knowledge?'; 'How can we understand justice, equality and diversity that is not blind to difference such as gender, sexual orientation, race, class and dis/ability?'; 'Can management be thought in terms of care rather than administration?'  
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For Let's Mobilise, the working group replaced the term “conference” with “mobilisation” shifting the emphasis on the agency – on what follows. Has something been mobilised? So people, who join “a mobilisation” come with different desires, energies, mindsets – wanting to work out practical ways how to translate research or knowledge into practice. Getting initial traction within the working group, then the administration and then the lecturer's and student's public, the new terminology eventually turned into daily use across the organisation.
  
All students and staff at Valand Academy were invited to join this open work group. Over the past year we held lunchtime meetings, had dinners at homes, met in bars or communicated over Skype. We met in our studios and offices, went for walks and field trips, held daylong sessions and invited guests to brainstorm with and to learn from. We read texts, shared experiences, raised doubts and concerns. In a nutshell, we just followed our desires not to struggle forward and chew on these questions as individuals. Rather we got together to acknowledge the importance of queer and feminist issues in education as a group.
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This process of shifting the nomenclature within the academy is interesting, because it evidences Mary Douglas argument how much our thinking depends upon institutions, but also that institutions are not monolithic top-down constructions, which build themselves. rather she says is the number of individuals together who build an institution with all their different backgrounds, thinkings and hopes.<ref name="Douglas1"/>
 
 
Our work can be described in two phases. The first six months we held bi-weekly lunchtime meetings in order to meet and share our teaching experiences, conflicts with students or management, as well as to read and discuss texts. What is more, we started an online text archive, where a wide range of material was uploaded from different historical periods, territories, backgrounds – material generated inside and outside of academia. These meetings offered also a space to share information about what happened under the surface of the institution, things that were not officially circulated but crucial for understanding the social fabric of the people working together at Valand Academy.
 
 
 
The second phase was more focused on planning and organising a 'conference', marking the closing of Valand Academy's 150th anniversary events<ref name="anniversary"/>, that practically tests and redefines the format and style of coming together to create and transmit knowledge.<ref name="working group names"/> The quotation marks around the term conference already give a hint on how we attempted to rethink the traditional terms and related roles, functions and hierarchies at the Valand Academy by crucially redefining the nomenclature.<ref name="glossary"/> The term conference, for example, was replaced by the word mobilisation, because we aimed at a more practical, dynamic, activist and generative outcome, rather than just conducting a static sharing of papers exercise.  Getting initial traction within the working group, then the administration and then the lecturer's and student's public, the new nomenclature eventually turned into daily use across the organisation.
 
 
 
This process of shifting the terminology within the academy is interesting, because it evidenced Mary Douglas argument how much our thinking depends upon institutions, but also that institutions are not monolithic top-down constructions, which build themselves rather she says is the number of individuals together who build an institution with all their different backgrounds, thinkings and hopes.<ref name="Douglas1"/>
 
 
[sorry, this is very rough. Need to revisit Mary Douglas properly.]
 
[sorry, this is very rough. Need to revisit Mary Douglas properly.]
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A main argument she advanced is that institutional codes enable similar modes of thinking and acting among individuals.
  
 
The analysis of the mobilisation experiment is best structured and discussed in three aspects. A first angle is that the mobilisation experimented with non-normative teaching and conference formats. It tested new roles, language, non-normative uses of building and classrooms, as well as non-normative timing, budgeting, catering and hosting of participants. Secondly I will discuss the experimental, but often neglected and "un-authored" practice of organising and care for such an event. Thirdly I will discuss the complexities and challenges of collectivity within in the working group, who, when put under considerable pressure towards the end, did not always manage to apply the same principles, we set out for the mobilisation, to the actual working processes within the group.  
 
The analysis of the mobilisation experiment is best structured and discussed in three aspects. A first angle is that the mobilisation experimented with non-normative teaching and conference formats. It tested new roles, language, non-normative uses of building and classrooms, as well as non-normative timing, budgeting, catering and hosting of participants. Secondly I will discuss the experimental, but often neglected and "un-authored" practice of organising and care for such an event. Thirdly I will discuss the complexities and challenges of collectivity within in the working group, who, when put under considerable pressure towards the end, did not always manage to apply the same principles, we set out for the mobilisation, to the actual working processes within the group.  
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<ref name="ERG1"> See proposed study rules [[http://wiki.evaweinmayr.com/images/c/cd/Erg_lereine_version270318.pdf here]]. [http://www.erg.be/m/#index/index École de Recherche Graphique, Brussles]</ref>  
 
<ref name="ERG1"> See proposed study rules [[http://wiki.evaweinmayr.com/images/c/cd/Erg_lereine_version270318.pdf here]]. [http://www.erg.be/m/#index/index École de Recherche Graphique, Brussles]</ref>  
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<ref name="workgroup1" />The core group organised the meetings, posted flyers across the walls of the academy to let our invite our colleagues and students to join, even if only occasionally. In the beginning, the meetings were attended by 20-30 people. Over time the group shrunk to around 10 committed members.</ref>
  
 
<ref name="sleep over"> We also discussed in a meeting with the prefect possible precedences, such as Serpentine Gallery Marathon in London in order to have arguments in the case the superordinate university procurement would ask questions.</ref>
 
<ref name="sleep over"> We also discussed in a meeting with the prefect possible precedences, such as Serpentine Gallery Marathon in London in order to have arguments in the case the superordinate university procurement would ask questions.</ref>
  
<ref name="Hoppet"> Read interview with Hajar Alsaidan, one of Hoppet’s founding sisters, about how Hoppet started, the foundations of the organisation and food, feminism, precarity and women’s liberation in Let's Mobilze: What is Feminist Pedagogy workbook [http://whatisfeministpedagogy.tumblr.com/workbook]</ref>  
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<ref name="Hoppet"> Read interview with Hajar Alsaidan, one of Hoppet’s founding sisters, about how Hoppet started, the foundations of the organisation and food, feminism, precarity and women’s liberation in Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy workbook [http://whatisfeministpedagogy.tumblr.com/workbook]</ref>  
  
 
<ref name="inflexibility">For example just three days before the event we received an email from an administrator stating that preparing food for 120 people in the academy building (iii) would breach Health and Safety regulations of the university. Two days later another administrator brought us – as a acknowledging and supportive gesture – a monstrous squash vegetable home-grown in her own garden to cook for the communal dinner.</ref>  
 
<ref name="inflexibility">For example just three days before the event we received an email from an administrator stating that preparing food for 120 people in the academy building (iii) would breach Health and Safety regulations of the university. Two days later another administrator brought us – as a acknowledging and supportive gesture – a monstrous squash vegetable home-grown in her own garden to cook for the communal dinner.</ref>  

Revision as of 13:51, 10 November 2019

This section will change considerably. This section seeks to unpick the questions underlying the various practices and experiments I carried out and have chosen to constitute the research contribution of the doctoral project. The purpose of this unpicking in a process of theoretical reflection is to establish how these experiments contribute to and intervene within the domain of intersectional feminist decolonial knowledge practices mapped in Section [2]: Survey of the Field . The artistic projects described in [Summary of projects and submitted material|section [3] Summary of Projects and Submitted Material]] have each explored a range of questions or critical enquiries and have done so in a way that is layered and complex. They are not discrete single-issue, single-question experiments but complex tangles of issues unfolding in real-world situations and fields of operation. As a general introductory remark, it will help to underline here that artistic practices are always multi-layered and driven by a range of questions and desires. They are seldom reducible to a single monolithic thematic or question. It would, therefore, be limiting to reduce such complex experiments to one singular root question to be theoretically unpacked here. Rather what is at stake here is a broad spectrum of questions that need to be explored in their entanglement with each other.

However what can be highlighted as one of the most burning issues throughout is the seemingly coercive reciprocity between authorship, authorisation and authority. The question of what is validated, who is acknowledged as an author, by whom and for what reason can be described as an underlying theme in my artistic practice. It is the core set of moves that get played out in the various sets of projects and I will show how each of the projects raises these questions in different ways iteratively and at different stages of each of the projects.


The reflection on the Library of Inclusions and Omissions looks at the potentials and limitations of libraries, online and physical, for accessing, activating and disseminating knowledge. After all, libraries are spaces that turn marketable goods into public goods. They provide free access to knowledge that would otherwise have to be purchased.[1] However libraries are also disciplinary institutions determining what is validated as relevant knowledge. [See Library Underground] This tension which materials are validated as relevant knowledge and which are left out forms the underlying question of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions. As a practice-led enquiry into library infrastructures including their policies of access, validation, and classification, the project is an attempt to find out in which way such a community-run resource is fundamentally different from institutional libraries with their respective instituted selection and validation processes. The project intends to test dissemination, reading and cataloguing practices that tackle the biases of institutional library infrastructures. It inquires curatorial concepts to give voice to hidden, suppressed or not acknowledged materials. It asks in which way could such a curatorial strategy help to share not acknowledged struggles, and subsequently turn a library from being a repository of knowledge (Samek 2003, Springer 2015) into spaces of social and intellectual encounter and action? Can such a library project help building a community or connecting different communities?


Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy's opens up the questions from the relationship between dissemination and formation. It looks at the micro-politics of how we meet and the formats, institutional policies....


The reflection on the Piracy Project, an archive and library project, focuses on non-authorised authorship. It asks.....


Boxing and Unboxing:





The reciprocity between authorship, authorisation and authority is not an abstract consideration. It is also at the centre of my current situation. Being employed as a researcher, implies, that I am authorised to become an author, by the institution that is funding me, in order to become an authority in the field. What is at stake in this reciprocity?

In a doctoral seminar during the first year of my PhD studies, my colleagues and I had been asked: "Which material do you access for your research? What or who do you consult? And where do you find things?" In a slightly buccaneering way, one of my colleagues responded: "In a phone call with my mum". It made us burst with laughter, because of the obvious discrepancy between the formalised and established academic knowledge formation versus the informal and unpredictable learning methods rooted in friends, allies and family. Of course, the question addressed the politics of citation. It was an attempt to make the point that within academic research any source and information can be mobilised if you can make the case for it and thus validate different voices and introduce them into the established canon. This is an exciting outlook! However, the two poles, represented by the informal knowledge stock of "my mum" and the institutionally authorised canon of the colonial modern project, i.e. patriarchal, white Western academia, constitutes a constant field of tension. [2] After all, only published and articulated "knowledge" can be cited. But what counts as citable "publication"?

As academic, constant friction is encountered that can best be described in mere practical terms like this: You first map the academic field, you demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the established authorities in the discipline and then you craft your contribution in relation to them. You inherit and reproduce this tradition, you reference, you cite in order to be taken seriously or in Sara Ahmed's words "you cite yourself into an academic existence". [3] Citing is according to Ahmed "a rather successful reproductive technology, a way of reproducing the world around certain bodies."[4] In order to make your point, you need to start from within the established and already legitimised canon. My colleague and friend Andrea Francke, who started a PhD in art history at a UK based University, had been advised by her supervisors to omit a major part of her references and replace them with sources from recognised “high-profile” journals published by high-ranking universities in order to guarantee academic rigour and not corrupt the validity of her own writing. The consequences of this cycle are widely known, a canon is created which excludes the voices which are not yet institutionally legitimised.[5]

The mechanism is simple and tempting. You put yourself in relation to and into proximity to validated voices, hoping that your own writing gets similar mainstay recognition. In the public interview "Rethinking where the thinking happens" that I conducted with Sarah Kember, she calls this "a boys' citation club". Consequently, she started a new experimental academic press at Goldsmiths College in London that tries to address and fix these issues as its declared mission. [6]

These hegemonic and exclusionary practices dominating the academic world, have been decried often but also empirically tested and found confirmed. In a recent study called "Publication, Power, Patronage", for instance, Chad Wellmon and Andrew Piper reveal the inequalities of scholarly publishing in terms of institutional diversity and gender equality. Conducting quantitative analysis, they studied five leading US-based humanities journals between 1970 and 2015. They found out, that gender equality had only slightly improved during this great time span (42% of articles published by female authors in comparison to xx before 1970). However, shockingly the concentration of power in the hands of prestige universities had even increased: authors with PhDs from just two elite universities alone, Yale and Harvard, accounted for twenty per cent of all articles published in the studied journals.[7]

It is important to understand that university reformers – from the eighteenth up to the twenty-first century – have celebrated the act of publication as a measure to correct bulging concentrations of power and unsustainable systems of patronage that were prevailing in the early modern university. They simply saw publication as an efficient vehicle to bring more transparency and objectivity into systems and networks of power patronage based on familial status, inheritance or personal connections.[8] "In the light of being published, the value of a scholar’s work was visible to all because it was subject to more public and, therefore, so went the reasoning, more rational standards. Published writing could be accounted for, whereas charismatic teaching or speaking was more difficult to evaluate and compare. [...]They go on: "The authority of printed writing lay in its capacity to circulate more freely, unencumbered by the idiosyncrasies of the local and peculiar." [7] Published texts, according to Simon Shaffer and Steve Shapin, constituted "a virtual witness that was agreed to be reliable."[9]

I will discuss the complexities of this shift from the local, peculiar, subjective and elitist knowledge standards to rational, objective and democratic knowledge availability and benchmarking in the Analysis section. (and further down in the reflection on Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?.) I will discuss the dilemma resulting from this shift when charismatic teaching is institutionally less valued than the authoring of texts. Later on (in analysis? ... or In the presentation "Situated Collective Authorship" that I developed for the study day "Authors of the Future" organised by techno-feminist collective Constant in Brussels) I will propose a conceptual shift: What if our institutional audit cultures replaced the demand for "outputs" with the demand for "inputs"? What if we returned to the etymology of the term "author" (Latin "auctor" from "augere") as the one who augments, the one who causes to grow [... a facilitator, an organiser a teacher] [reference] Suddenly we would understand authorship as an intentional act, rather a resulting object.

But hold on, this will be unpacked in the analysis section...for now it is important to register, that while historically publishing was first welcomed as a measure to create more public accountability and to contest the power imbalance within networks of patronage, the current systems of production, circulation and consumption of scholarly publishing in Europe and North America seem not to have achieved this goal – at least in the humanities in the US as the study and the above referenced keynote demonstrate.


Library of Inclusions and Omissions: radical publishing practices require radical librarianship

Libraries constitute an important repository for knowledge. .... Anna Sophie Springer.... Despite the rising importance and availability of online repositories, phisical libraries' most subversive .... A library's most subversive characteristic, in the words of OOMK, is the way in which it provides a free physical space to meet in, not least because it yields no profit. [→ OOMK ref, The Library Was, Heiba Lamara, Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin, BookWorks London, 2017] It is also a repository of knowledge that is "public",i.e free to access.


Which narratives enter?

For both, public as well as research libraries, it has been traditionally the librarians' task, informed by library newsletters and other professional library sources to determine which topics and fields are considered relevant. This considerable position of institutional power to decide which books are to go on the library shelves had been highlighted and contested by several movements inside and outside academia which I discuss in more detail in the text [Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community, Sternberg] and in the presentation [Radical Publishing Requires Radical Librarianship] at the symposium at ZKM Cologne. The Radical Librarian movement in the US, for example, campaigned in the 70s to reform public libraries by including materials that served not only the white Western middle-class readership but pay attention to the information needs of all members of the community, including its minorities. Via alternative library newsletters, acquisition librarians had been informed about the existence of marginalised knowledge and have been educated to pay attention to the limitations of their own positionality and subjectivity.

In the last decade, this personal accountability that could be critiqued and adjusted by critique seems to have been reduced, or even replaced by institutional policies of standardisation and streamlining in the name of efficiency. For example, due to the merger of art academies into large universities, we observe the outsourcing of library services to large distributors selling ready-bundled subscription packages to institutional libraries. The University of the Arts London subscription packages consists for instance to large parts of exhibition catalogues of major international mainstream museums, such as MoMA New York and Tate London. These subscription packages tend to absorb most of the acquisitions budget leaving only marginal funds for bespoke and contextual teaching or research material. [→ public interview with CSM Fine Art librarian conducted in 2015 at Chelsea College of Arts, London] In the same strain, the formerly decentralised cataloguing units at the University of the Arts in London have been moved from the respective campus libraries to a centralised data hub that, by policy, excludes any format not conforming with commercial publishing formats. Even when produced in-house, self-published material by students or materials resulting from teaching projects can not enter the library as a valuable and highly contextual reference within the art college. This kind of exclusion is not necessarily generated by political censorship or ignorance, it rather stems from an institutional drive for centralising the procedures and infrastructures in the name of efficiency. Once tasks and responsibilities are outsourced it they are much harder to be adjusted because they don't allow for a conversation or personal accountability.

These institutional developments constitute the backdrop to push against and starting point for the Library of Inclusions and Ommissions to practically rethink and test what a library actually could offer when it comes to the generation, transmission and observation of knowledges and experiences. Please note, that we are talking about a physical reading room that hosts the LIO and the offer of physical space to linger, study, dream and get carried away is an important aspect. The subversive nature of a library today runs far further than simply housing a collection of subversive books. The library's most subversive characteristic, in the words of OOMK, is the way in which it provides a free physical space to meet in, not least because it yields no profit. [→ OOMK ref, The Library Was, Heiba Lamara, Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin, BookWorks London, 2017]

It is important to note that LIO is only one among a vast range of small scale reading room, library and archive projects currently being set up by artists and activists, some of which I discussed in the [→ survey of the field section] [→ ref: to name just a few, for example, Wendy's Subway (Brooklyn), LOAYMP..., Rietveld Infrastructural Manoeuvres, Rietveld Academy Amsterdam, ...]

LIO builds its curatorial strategy on the community library and infoshop movement that arose in the 70s and 80s in the UK. These community archives formed part of a social movement such as radical education, second-wave feminism or anarchist. Without affiliation to an institution, these collectively run archives and libraries were catering explicitly for the information, social and cultural needs of their users (→Atton 1999). It is interesting to observe that recently a similar community library movement is arising across the Anglo-American hemisphere, where neoliberal politics in tandem with austerity measures resulted in library closures across the countries. Here communities started to self-organise and experiment with the purpose and potential of self-governed archive and library spaces.

Quite closely related, LIO's curatorial strategy is open and focused at the same time. Open to anyone, who is interested to contribute; focused, because it is theme-based — asking for forgotten histories, intersectional practices, and for feminist and de-colonial knowledges. Contributions to this resource were invited via a letter in three languages [→ Arabic, Swedish and English]. This invitation letter had been circulated online, alongside flyers and printed posters that were put up in public spaces, schools, universities, museums, independent cultural spaces and community centres across Gothenburg and its suburbs in order to reach a range of diverse contributors in terms of age, gender, ethnic background and class sharing a similar concern.[10]

In contrast to the founding assumptions of many institutional libraries, LIO does not claim to provide "neutral" or institutionally authorised knowledge. On the contrary, LIO asks for materials that are left out in institutional settings and therefore explores the limitations of the respective criteria of institutional validation. What is legitimised to go into a library? One aspect of exclusion relates to formal material properties, such as standard book formats, professional print and binding in order to withstand the demands of being handled by many readers. More experimental or non-normative publications tend to go straight to the special collections department to be handled with more care. Another aspect is that only books that succeded to pass through a long chain of discrete validation steps, such as the funding body, the publisher, the distributor, the marketing, the bookstore, the acquisition librarian, the cataloguer are actually able to enter the door of the library. How can we know what is being left out? We miss more ephemeral manifestations of knowledge that are "not recognised as legitimate, preconstituted, disciplinary forms of knowledge" [→ Gary Hall, Digitize this book] Such as zines, tweets, emails? And we miss knowledges, experiences, desires, hopes and struggles that are not articulated in the form of discrete objects. [→rumours?]

LIO asks contributors for a short written rationale, why the book they bring to the library is important to them and why they want to share it with others. These short statements function as index catalogue for the collection. They are printed on yellow cards that accompany each book on the shelve and serve as an entry point and framing device for the library users.

Through this approach, the emphasis shifts from trying to frame the actual content of the book in an arguably objective manner, traditionally expected from the bibliographer/librarian, towards describing the readers' experiences: 'what the book did for them'. These descriptions are quite stunning accounts of discoveries, struggles and hopes, based in the reader's positionality. Read these accounts as an entry point into the book provides a touching insight into the book's impact and the readers' positionality, their discoveries, struggles and hopes. Here, the catalogue is not merely a technical act of organisation, it is an act of telling. As in “telling, there is a desire — a desire to speak, a desire to share, to articulate an experience to an/other [→Roysdon, 2009].” The addresses of this telling are other patrons of the library and the books with their cards can be seen as a tool to connect to each other and find support or allies in mind or in action.

It's important to recognise that the library catalogue itself forms a meaning-making architecture. According to philosopher Hope Olson "we tend to take the classification for granted as it were a given, a natural landscape rather than a well-manicured lawn that is the product of intellectual labor". [→ Olson] And this intellectual labour has a mighty impact because on the one hand, it determines whether material concerning specific topics is being found. The particular position of power on the first level cataloguing that frames a new publication for the first time and gets subsequently copied and repeated by other bibliographers and librarians is topic of my interview with Ann Butler, Head of Libraries and Archives at CCC Centre for Curatorial Studies Bard.[→ Ann Butler, CCS Bard, 2017] And secondly, because classification schemes, as librarian and activist Emily Drabinski points out "are socially produced and embedded structures, they are products of human labor that carry traces of all the intentional and unintentional racism, sexism, and classism of the workers who create them. It is not possible to do classification objectively. It is the nature of subject analysis to be subjective". [→ Drabinski, 2008, p. 198]

The Lio's approach to indexing and cataloguing is an attempt to understand and confront the complex dilemmas of classification whose genealogy and contradictions I will trace in the following section.

Perspectives and framing under the disguise of neutrality

I feel captured, solidified, and pinned to a butterfly board. Like any common living thing, I fear and reprove classification and the death it entails, and I will not allow its clutches to lock me down, although I realize I can never lure myself into simply escaping it. [→Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1989]

Library scholar and librarian Emily Drabinski sits in the classroom running an information literacy session for first-year students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. It’s part of their African-American women's history course. They discuss the on-going revisions of the Library of Congress subject headings in this field: from NEGRO WOMEN to BLACK WOMEN to AFRO-AMERICAN WOMEN etc. The headings in the Library of Congress have been under scrutiny by critical library scholars and activists since the publication of Sanford Berman’s influential study “Prejudices and Antipathies – a tract on LC subject headings concerning people” in 1971 and have been continuously changed and adapted over time in an attempt to eliminate political biases and racism. One of the students raises her hand: “I am quite interested in the history of White women — do I need to search for the term “White Women” in the library?”

What this question points at is that representation (and organisation) of knowledge is not neutral, as it appears. Many users take the classification for granted “as though it were a natural landscape rather than a well-manicured lawn that is the product of intellectual labor”. [→ Olson] The answer to the student’s question is: no, there is no main subject heading for 'white women'. While we wish the Library of Congress Classification would acknowledge White as one racial category amongst others and as a marker of domination, it does not. "The Library of Congress is rooted in the historical structures of White supremacy, as such, the catalog presumes White to be the normative term." While claiming a neutral and universal approach, "library classifications use the hegemonic language of the powerful. They reflect, produce, and reproduce hierarchies." [→Drabinski, 2008, p.201]

Universal language and "controlled vocabulary"

A large body of research has documented biases of gender, sexuality, age, class, ethnicity, language and religion in the construction of a universal language in the naming of information for retrieval. This universal language uses a controlled vocabulary to represent documents. It limits diversity and has a direct practical impact on the reader searching for materials outside of a traditional mainstream, materials crossing disciplines or marginalized topics.

This controlled vocabulary appears unbiased and universally applicable - but it actually hides its exclusions under the guise of neutrality. Olson traces the presumption of universality back to Charles Cutter’s "Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalog" (1876) the reference for the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), the major standard in North America’s libraries today and to Melvil Dewey’s introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC - also published in 1876).


Charles Cutter’s misguided democratic ideal

Cutter’s rationale to create a controlled vocabulary sounds like a democratic approach to serve the public, which uses the library. A uniform language is easy to use for the cataloguer as well as for the user. Exceptions and inconsistencies in the uniformity are allowed and even asked for if it serves “the public’s habitual way of looking at things.” [→ Cutter, xxx] The problem, as Hope Olson points out, is the article “the” in the public, envisioning a community of library users with a unified perspective. It is a singular public, who defines the language inevitably excluding those who do not seem to fit into this community. A community in singular shares cultural, social, or political interests and excludes those, which are different. The majority opinion is imposed on everyone. It is important to note, that the library at this point in time was used almost exclusively by an educated, Western, white, Christian, male, heterosexual readership. For Cutter, then, this singular public dictates the vocabulary of a universal language for representation of information in the library.

Dewey’s obsession: efficiency and universality

Dewey advocated universal language in the introductions to his classification as the need to avoid confusion for efficient communication. As Olson points out, in the introduction to the first edition of DDC (1876) Dewey uses the word "confusion" twice, but the introduction to DDC13 (1932) he uses "confuzion" twenty-one times. Dewey sees a diversity of language introduced by "different librarians" at "different times” with "different viewpoints" "cauzing confuzion". That leds him to call for introducing a universal standard to avoid this confusion. However he seems not so much pre-occupied with how to represent the content of the material or the meaning-making process the scheme enables for the library user: he seems obsessed with efficiency, time-saving and capital:

'Clasification is a necesity if all material on any givn subject is to be redily found. The labor of making one's own classification is uzualy prohibitiv, if wel dun. By adopting the skeme in jeneral use by libraries this labor is saved and numbers ar in harmony with those of thousands of other catalogs and indexes in which the same number has the same meaning; for, as pointed out at a recent international congress, these numbers ar the only international languaj of perfectly fefinit meaning amung all civilized nations; and also cheapest and quickest in application.' (Dewey, 1932, p.43)

Dewey’s obsession with standardisation and efficiency and his sense to capitalise on his library business is well documented and might have overruled the consideration of how the catalogue actually works for the user.


Library as disciplinary institution

Dewey Decimal System (DDC) and the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) are the most widely used classifications systems in research and public libraries worldwide. LCC is the de facto standard in research libraries in the United States. DDC is the most widely spread outside and is also used increasingly to organize Web indexing collections of Universal Resource Libraries (URL). (Olson 2001,p641)

Both classifications systems, DDC and LCC, are arranged not by subject, but by disciplines. (Philosophy (1), Religion (2), Social Sciences (3), Language (4) Natural Sciences (5), Technology (6), The Arts (7), Literature & Rhetoric (8), Geography & History (9). (See 'Dewey for Windows', 1998).

Hope Olson discusses how the main facet of these classification schemes is based on disciplines and lays out its genealogy as deeply rooted in Western, Medieval and Renaissance philosophy reaching back from Aristoteles’ to Francis Bacon’s classification of knowledge to Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel via William T. Harris, (who developed the St. Louis public school library system) to Dewey, who borrowed from Harris, when he developed his classification scheme while working as a library assistant at Amherst College in 1876. How, I ask, comes then that Dewey is the most used classification system in libraries worldwide – bearing in mind that is so heavily contextualised in Western philosophy – missing out on different perspectives on human knowledge?


Classification — an architecture to house the universe of knowledge

Melvil Dewey imagined a cabinet of nine pigeon-holes on an office desk: Each case represents one of the nine classes and allows for nine subdivisions (pigeonholes) as a way to efficiently organise. He favours mass production over costume made solutions:

'The skeme givs us for each topic, as it wer, a case of 9 pijeonholes, with a larj space at the top; and we uze them as every practical business man uzes such pijeonholes about his desk.... If [a businessman] insisted on having a different case made to order for each use, it wud cost over twice as much; he cud not group them together or interchanje them, and they wud not fit offis shelvs.' [→Dewey, DDC13 1932].

We can also imagine Dewey classes as separate rooms in a house. Each new entry into the library has to go into one room (hierarchy). The house has no interconnecting doors. The document can’t live in two rooms or use the corridor to travel back and forth (relationships). Once put in one room it mostly stays in this room (permanence, inflexibility). But into one only and that’s the problem: A decision has to be made, what this document or book is about. Or what is it “most” about. Someone needs to decide what is the most important aspect of the book (first facet) what is the second important (subdivision) etc. This creates a hierarchy.

Philosopher Elizabeth Spelman describes such hierarchy as powerful performative device: "Imagine a huge customs hall with numerous doors, marked 'women', 'men', 'Afro-American', 'Asian-American', 'Euro-American', 'Hispanic- American', 'working class', 'middle class', 'upper class', 'lesbian', 'gay', 'heterosexual', and so forth... The doors are arranged in banks, so that each person faces the first bank of doors that sort according to gender, then a bank that sort according to race, or alternatively sort first according to race, then according to class, then according to gender, and so on". (Spelman 1988, p. 144) Different criteria of sorting create different results: "We get different pictures of people's identities, of the extent to which one person shares some aspect of identity with another, depending on what the doors are, how they are ordered, and people are supposed to proceed through them." [→Spelman 1988, p. 146].


Sameness and Difference

Classification gathers things according to their commonalities. Olson (2001) discusses the effectiveness of this duality in Western culture. We implement it from early childhood. It is a principle which helps to organise things. It can be temporal (in the same, or chronological period), spatial (relating to the same region), or used (most frequently used), or organised by similar material qualities (size, colour, format, i.e. journal, book etc). On my bookshelf, I organise books by size as this saves shelf space. In the charity shop, I visit from time to time clothes are organised by colour. The green rack, for example, displays a variety of garments: trousers, jumpers, hats, skirts and dresses — what they have in common is their green colour.

Thoughts and creative effort have been invested by many engaged librarians in order to develop local, independent or modified schemes, which serve their users in a better way. The Ethical Culture School in New York developed together with their students METIS. They found out, that some sections were under-used such as “Languages” which was turned into “Community,” “Craft” is now labelled “Making Stuff.” But the most radical step was to mix the classic categories of “fiction” and “non-fiction.” Based on the idea it is not the cataloger making the decision, but the students themselves. It is the student who is invited to evaluate what is imagination and what is information and discover the blurred lines in between. Here the catalogue is turned into an educational tool, a starting point for thoughts and discussions about the distinction between fact and fiction. (See also Weinmayr, 'Library Underground', part II 'Infinite Hospitality' in Publishing as Artistic Practice, 2016, p. 167)

I am particularly interested in Eastside Projects' (Birmingham) attempt to organise their book collection for their art space. They came up with a list of verbs for classification. This move put emphasis on the agency of the books, what they are doing, rather what they are about:

Communicating
Exhibiting
Narrating
Provoking
Reflecting
Answering
Documenting
Illuminating
Interpreting
Occupying
Questioning
And 4 special sections:
Venicing
Xerox
Jonathan Monk collection
Mithu Sen (this need some protection, very fragile books)


citation, shared bibliography, the reference as dissemination

to be written here... or in the analysis section


The agency of the experiments within the LIO, the contribution to knowledge

I would claim that the confusion, Dewey is so consistently tackling, can potentially be generative and creative. Walter Benjamin, for example, describes the anticipation that lays in the messiness and disorder when unpacking his library: "The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order." His interest lays in the activity of collecting not necessarily in the collection itself.


1) the LIO furthers procedural knowledge and connected knowledge, that Gillingham describes as "connected knowing privileges experience and relies on connections to others to discover what they know. The knowing subject learns through empathy, putting themselves in the place of the object to be known rather than maintaining distance." [→ Gillingham page 15] In contrast "separate knowing is exemplified by the distance between the knowing subject and the object to be known and is based on traditional/Aristotelian logic". [→ Gillingham p. 114]. This kind of connected knowing is at the centre of LIO and the workings of its index catalogue. It privileges experience and creates connections to others through empathy and sharing discoveries and thus creating the opportunity for allyship and collective action.

2) the LIO is a proposal for a non-exhaustive taxonomy. It sheds light on the problematic concept of neutrality in subject classification and brings attention and the problematic distinction in discrete and self-contained fields and areas. As philosopher and literary scholar and activist Gayatri Spivak observes: "The notion, […] that the world can be divided into knowable, self-contained 'areas' has come into question as more attention has been paid to movements between areas. Demographic shifts, diasporas, labor migrations, the movements of global capital and media, and processes of cultural circulation and hybridization have encouraged a more subtle and sensitive reading of areas' identity and composition." [→ Spivak, Death of a discipline, p17] For such sensitive reading of subject areas we need a "non-exhaustive taxonomy and provisional system making,[… that ] keeps the door open to the 'to come'". [→ Spivak, p 21] Working with such non-exhaustive taxonomies emphasises the process and the techniques for acquiring knowledge. Such malleable and fluid approach is, of course, possible in small-scale and self-organised pilots, such as the LIO. Large institutions are confronted with operational requirements and budget. Karen Di Franco claims that "ith every type of establishment comes the desire to create "standards" - a sequence of operational actions or behaviours that maintain and classify activity, generally imposed for clarity, universality and in some cases, and perhaps most importantly, to save time and money. [→Di Franco, 2014] This is why Emily Drabinski proposes in her text "Teaching the RadCat" [see also → survey of the field], when she concludes her critique of the disputed fixity of subject headings, that, because it is effectively not possible to adjust the headings on a rolling basis, it is imperative to teach the contestations of the catalogue structure while at the same time making use of it. By putting its contestations at the centre of teaching and discourse and discuss the impossibility of making the "perfect subject headings", she negotiates and clarifies the intrinsic problems of descriptors and confronts the library user with their shortcomings and contradictions.

[talk about cataloguing workshops at Leeds, Kunstverein Munich, Grand Union Birmingham > "non-controlled vocabulary"]


3) LIO is an attempt to "unlearn habits". If we understand the LIO as an experiment to question and rework our assumptions and prejudices and histories of the ways we classify, categorise, refer to and connect to each other we also need to think through our habits. As Spivak claims "what is crucial in habit formation, is exactly what is missing in it. “A habit does not question. Habits lack the critical capacity to interrogate themselves”.[→ Spivak 2012, 8] Therefore such a performative proposition, like LIO or the policy document "Study Rules" at erg in Brussels [see → Performative Propositions@survey of the field] generate the capacity to acknowledge and interrogate these habits. The circulation of the study rules at erg, for example, instigated staff members and students to consider, acknowledge, name and eventually unlearn their own privileges. Although it has been apparent, that the proposed rules' implementation is not possible due to legal limits, the mere circulation of the document was performative by questioning the long-established habit framework of the institution and its members and this alone can help to adjust the normalised positions of authority in Western education.

Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? (Collective Organising: Who authorises whom?)

The good enough institution can recognize its mistakes, analyze them and correct them. It also knows how to recognize its limits and accept them, as best they can ... It is to be able to work below the ideal of the model.
However, the good enough management with her team good enough must be able to deploy the energy constantly to renew to try to get as close as possible to this ideal. The institution that works well is the one where we speak, where we decide and where we recognize its diseases.
Duty acknowledged.
Philippe Kinoo, Autorités, pouvoirs, décisions, responsabilités dans une institution dans

Qu'estce qui fait autorité dans les institutions médicosociales? (ERES, 2007)

Let's Mobilise, in a way, starts where the LIO left off. As LIO was initially conceived for an exhibition context proposing a possible model to be adapted and discussed by institutional libraries, as an artistic project, it was relatively self-contained. "Let's Mobilise", in contrast, situates itself right inside a higher education institution, Valand Art Academy, in Gothenburg addressing all the tensions and energies and procedures dominating such an institutional context. Let's Mobilize starts from the assumption that institutions aren't self-contained and fixed structures, but environments formed by an "instituting movement" of its members. Artist and current director of École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels Laurence Rassel points to the double definition of the word “institution”, on the one hand as a potential to be developed (instituting), on the other as constituting an established form (institution), whereby we encounter alienation when the “instituted” takes precedence over the “instituting.” [→ Laurence Rassel "Rethinking the art school" http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/rethinking-the-art-school/]

What Let's Mobilise has in common with the LIO is the drive to interrogate the dominant knowledge references and their respective formats. To establish how the selection, format and infrastructures of production and circulation shape the way content is read and makes meaning. However, while LIO is dealing with questions of temporary stabilisations in form of published material, Let's Mobilise, in contrast, focuses on an earlier point in the chain of knowledge practices, namely the moment of learning and teaching, a discursive, time-based moment that is very much determined by the norms and regulations of a state-run higher education institution, in this case Valand Art Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The question was how the event, the moment of articulation and discourse can address questions of inclusive learning and teaching in an environment, where tendencies towards polarisation and discrimination in wider society have a perceptible influence on attitudes and behaviours within education, and in our classrooms. In an attempt to meet these contemporary threats to diversity, questions about pedagogical inclusivity have risen to the forefront. Critical intersectional feminist pedagogies have, by now, been proven to provide valuable conceptual and practical tools with which to focus on inclusivity. Intersectionality asserts that oppressions (based in racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. This is particularly true in the field of art, where teaching is known to be open to devising and applying new critical frameworks, tools of analysis and creative practices.

The explicit aim of "Let's Mobilise: What is Feminist Pedagogy?" was fostering inclusive pedagogies, and questioning the so-called neutrality and equality in systems of schooling, production and consumption in the arts. How can people from various backgrounds, fields, abilities, gender identification, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion collectively explore how intersectional and de-colonial approaches can activate and spread embodied and theoretical knowledges. [ref These questions are currently being further explored in the → Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Teaching to Transgress Toolbox, that builds on Let's Mobilise. I don't include in the submission of the PhD, as it would extend the scope of this thesis.]

The workgroup that formed of students, staff and administrators [11] held lunchtime meetings, had dinners at homes or communicated online. We met in our studios and offices and in bars, went for walks and field trips, held daylong sessions and invited guests to brainstorm with and to learn from. We read texts, shared experiences, raised doubts and concerns. In a nutshell, we just followed our desires not to struggle forward and chew on these questions as individuals. Rather we got together to acknowledge the importance of queer and feminist issues in education as a group.

The workgroup's work can be described in two phases. The first six months we held bi-weekly lunchtime meetings in order to meet and share our teaching experiences, conflicts with students or management, as well as to read and discuss texts. For this, we started an online shadow library, where a wide range of material from different historical periods, territories, backgrounds was gathered – material generated inside and outside of academia. It is also important to note that these regular meetings offered a space to also share informally information and gossip, things that were not officially circulated but crucial for understanding the social fabric of the institution and the people working together at the academy.

The second phase was more focused on planning and organising a "conference", marking the closing of Valand Academy's 150th anniversary events[12], an event that practically tests and redefines the format and style of coming together to create and transmit knowledge.[13] The quotation marks around the term conference already give a hint on how the workgroup attempted to rethink the traditional terms and related roles, functions and hierarchies at the Valand Academy by crucially redefining the nomenclature.[14] That descriptors are not neutral, that the terminology we use is political has been discussed in the section above [→ Naming and framing under the disguise of neutrality].

For Let's Mobilise, the working group replaced the term “conference” with “mobilisation” shifting the emphasis on the agency – on what follows. Has something been mobilised? So people, who join “a mobilisation” come with different desires, energies, mindsets – wanting to work out practical ways how to translate research or knowledge into practice. Getting initial traction within the working group, then the administration and then the lecturer's and student's public, the new terminology eventually turned into daily use across the organisation.

This process of shifting the nomenclature within the academy is interesting, because it evidences Mary Douglas argument how much our thinking depends upon institutions, but also that institutions are not monolithic top-down constructions, which build themselves. rather she says is the number of individuals together who build an institution with all their different backgrounds, thinkings and hopes.[15] [sorry, this is very rough. Need to revisit Mary Douglas properly.] A main argument she advanced is that institutional codes enable similar modes of thinking and acting among individuals.

The analysis of the mobilisation experiment is best structured and discussed in three aspects. A first angle is that the mobilisation experimented with non-normative teaching and conference formats. It tested new roles, language, non-normative uses of building and classrooms, as well as non-normative timing, budgeting, catering and hosting of participants. Secondly I will discuss the experimental, but often neglected and "un-authored" practice of organising and care for such an event. Thirdly I will discuss the complexities and challenges of collectivity within in the working group, who, when put under considerable pressure towards the end, did not always manage to apply the same principles, we set out for the mobilisation, to the actual working processes within the group.


Non-normative Approaches

For example roles: We fundamentally defined three roles. An "instigator" is a person or group invited to prepare a contribution that will activate each of the mobilisation´s forums and their topics. An "invited participant" is a practitioner and theoretician invited to attend and participate in the mobilisation, because he or she were inspiring to us, had no particular role or task but contributed through their knowledge and experience informally. And thirdly, "participants" are mobilisation attendees helping to work through the event´s questions – active and vocal, or active and quiet.

For example language: [Needs more work and nuance] We face a constant standoff at Valand Academy in that some staff members call the use of English, and not Swedish, in our daily work 'a colonial project'. To take into account this dilemma and to find a way out during the mobilisation – which had many international participants from eight European countries – we commissioned two live translators, who were taking notes and translated and wrote them down in real time into an online writing pad projected into the room. Attendee Zarah Bayrati, who spoke in Forum 2 "What is the thing about diversity?", even demonstrated how the sometimes oppressive dynamics connected to language can be dissolved by holding her class switching between Swedish, English and Farsi.

For example the seminar room: When the roles of speakers change, the traditional furniture set up and layout of standard seminar rooms or lecture halls don't work anymore. Therefore we invited queer architect Katarina Bonnevier for a workshop to investigate the existing rooms at the Academy and how they could be queered and opened up for uses, that go beyond round table discussions (glasshouse), frontal lectures (aula) or presentations (screen). Rachel Barron, a just graduated MA student developed a decoration with translucent fabric, which brought colour into the main assembly room, the “glasshouse”, and divided the room into several visually and spatially connected layers. For our seven Forums, we used the staircase in the main building for the “Sextalks MTG”, the aula for a play reading of “Strike while the iron is hot” on the stage and between the rows of chairs in the audience, the four kitchens for “When do we learn? Collectively preparing and eating food”, the glasshouse for “How do we start?”, “What is this thing about diversity?”, “Rethinking where the thinking happens” and the closing session “Where to go from here?”. With Forum 4, “When do we learn?”, a sleep-over in the glasshouse, we experimented with informal learning outside scheduled structures. See the full programme here [9].


"The Un-authored" Practices of Organising and Caring

Because we rethought all these processes, formats and interactions in a fundamental way, we had to invent or understand and tweak the existing procedures prescribed by the university procurement. This would not have been possible without the inventive support of the management and the administration of the academy becoming part of this. Think of the aforementioned sleep over in the main assembly room. Staying overnight in the academy building is officially not permitted. Only through negotiations and with the creative support of the acting Prefect the sleep over could become part of the programme as Forum 6: "When do we learn? Non-normative uses of the seminar room".[16] In the following I will give selected examples of how intricate negotiations and dealings with the Academy personnel were, whose day-to-day job was to follow, interpret and execute the rules and regulations.

For example catering Gothenburg University has, for example, a limited list of approved caterers for conferences or symposia. Any attempt to order food from less established, experimental or informal food projects are not envisaged or permitted. Only by the inventive work of our administrators, and the trick to declare it to be to a conceptual part of the mobilisation, we were able to order food from the local women's food collective Hoppet to prepare food for the first dinner of the mobilisation on Wednesday 12 October 2016. Hoppet (Hoppet för kropp och själ - The Hope for Body and Soul) is an Arabic, Iraqi, Kurdish and Persian women collective based in Gothenburg’s suburb Hammarkullen. Hoppet started a catering business to gain financial independence from husbands, to support women in the community and to donate money to kids with blood diseases in Iraq. By ordering food from Hoppet we want to both support the women’s collective fight for a safe space and promote care and hospitality through the food we were eating together. [17]

For example hosting In a similar manner we wanted to experiment with strategies how to bring small and alternative vendors into the procurement system of the university in order to support other forms of economies. The university policies regarding the hosting of guests are restrictive. Only a small exclusive list of big and anonymous hotels in Gothenburg have accreditation with the university. In an effort to offer more friendly accommodation and create more inspiring social encounters, we found for most of the mobilisation´s participants a spare room, bed or sofa in offered by colleagues or friends in their Gothenburg homes. This hospitality not only allowed many students and freelancers living and working on small budgets to join the mobilisation. It also made the mobilisation a distributed effort of solidarity and responsibility across the art school.

Administrators as co-authors "This variety of ‘doing things differently’ from standard university procedures, generated a lot of work, stress and frustration for us. It was difficult to receive consistent information on what could and could not be done within the remit of the various academic policies. The bits of information provided were fairly vague, leaving us in a state of uncertainty and constant guessing and relying on hearsay, which created tension within the group as well as between us and the art school. In order to deal with policies in a creative and productive way one must know them well and fully, whereas we were always hoping, but never really knowing. While being aware of some administrators’ support, we found ourselves also affected by anxiety that “this will not be possible” as the inflexibility of the administrative apparatus will not allow it to happen. [18] Current critiques of administration refer to the administration of the body and the way bureaucracy is used to control the flows of our everyday life: "From passport control to binary gender categories on job application forms, administration gently pushes us into ideologically assigned roles and positions and then traps us there."[19] According to queer activist and legal scholar Dean Spade "policy and administrative systems are the invisible disciplinary forces that generate our experiences as subjects." [20] Andrea Francke and Ross Jardine argue in their paper "Bureaucracy's Labour" that current critiques of administration are conceived from the angle of the administered body and ask "But what of the administrator?" They argue that in order “to be deemed successful in their task the administrator must adhere to a range of standards and style guides that masks their identity with that of the institution through policies of best practice and standardisation, [...] actions become attached to roles instead to individuals [...] and therefore the administrator's position as subject is being erased." [19] But exactly because administrators are the anonymous subjects, that generate and enforce those systems, they are vital for enacting political transformation, as Francke and Jardine argue. I agree with this argument, as it was the very reason for the underlying tension of collaborating with individual administrators, being governed and governing at the same time and with regards to the mobilisation, I wished we had worked even more closely with the administrators and made them even more co-authors and allies in the process.

Collectivity: Desires and Complications

This is a quote from a collectively authored reflection on the working process of the group organising the mobilisation: "Trust, care and confidences were broken. Feelings of unworthiness surfaced and created fractions. Collective and collaborative practice involves negotiation and communication. A lot of focus was on creating a transparent structure with regards to the mobilisation economy, a clear glossary with intentions etc. However we would have benefitted from a clear audit of ourselves, our ability to commit, our expectations and our insecurities. Easier to say with hindsight." [21] The extract summarises the contestations and conflicts within the working group, once the mobilisation date came closer and the pressure had risen. We only understood after the event, that while we invested so much time and effort to define and achieve transparency, roles and care in relation to the event, we fell short of achieving this sufficiently within the group. In "Do the right thing - a manual" Johanna Gustavsson and Lisa Nyberg report how important accountability and transparency is for working collectively. They list of priorities goes like this: "(1) Talk openly about money. (2) Talk openly about commitment and time. (3) Make room for economy and time planning already from the start. Ask each other how much time you are able to, and want to invest in the joint project. This way the collaboration can function even though one person invests 10% and the others 100%. It is important to be prepared that someone might be less involved in periods, so it’s good to have those discussions early on."[22]

We learned early on from the collective reading of Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” that we need transparency on decisions we take.[23] Hence it became a guiding principle in our communication with each other to take notes in every working group meeting, which were uploaded to a shared online “black board” information box. Still our collective summary says, that "our care for the participants pre-empted the care for the working group”, and that in the hot phase approaching the event "we did not initiate moments of rest, time to check in with each other. This created problems personally and interpersonally." [21] It was the imbalance of priorities within the group and commitment to other projects, which caused imbalance and frustration overall. We had read together the experiences in the MFK manual about being clear and outspoken on priorities and availability, but we did not strictly check in on this during the process. The consequence was that those regularly attending the decision-making meetings inevitably developed more responsibility and therefore group and project power than others, who came only sporadically. That was not the flat structure we imagined and led to frustrations on all sides – with some complaining about the lack of commitment and others about being silenced. Due to immense pressure to deliver, this imbalance was not addressed properly, as we just wanted to get on. Another structural problem was, that I personally could afford focusing on planning the event and editing the workbook, because it was part of my (paid) research. Other group members faced a growing workload having to juggle teaching, their studies as well as day jobs with the organising work. Despite being aware of my privilege, I assumed similar commitment from all others. I was frustrated, when things did not move forward on project ends others had taken responsibility for.

"How to practice care throughout the process of organizing a feminist gathering: care for the investment in the ideas themselves, for the participants, for the host institution, for each other in the organizing group and self care?" [21]

Questions of economy and efficiency and unmeasurable labour

We also observed, that within the existing institutional setting our effort to do things differently and to find an alternative to the imposed order was positively acknowledged and to a certain degree enthusiastically welcomed by Valand Academy´s leadership. But it caused also friction with and drew critique by the same leadership, because of the apparent extra labour, effort and time our project created for administrators – and therefore costs.

The question of the right economical balance became obvious, when our extensive creative work of detailed organising and care turned into self-exploitation and for some even into states of burn-out.[24] The working group had not been given extra hours for this work and when we, towards the end of the process, tentatively asked to be (partially) paid the reply was blunt: We had a distinct budget and we should work with this budget, we had been told. While this argument is reasonable it results in the dilemma of people going back to a 'working to rule' practice within the established standard procedures. They do this as acts of self-care, because they cannot carry the extra work, which they are committed to that supersedes the efficiency rules of the institution. Efficiency is a measurable concept – quantitatively determined by the ratio of useful output to total input.

My argument here goes like this: These partly invisible practices of care are not related to regimes of authorship and therefore not distinctly measurable. They are invisible in the current regime of authorship and ownership. They constitute affective labour, which is sometimes valued and recognised by the direct recipients and beneficiaries, however the current systems of evaluation fall short to acknowledge them formally. They are seen as the “fuzzy extra”, which is nice to have, but not seen as fundamentally necessary to keep the machine going. They are not connected to authorship and therefore not recognised "as work". [25] [To do: Make interview with Mick Wilson, the then acting prefect, about his perspective of the topic]

[Talk about 'Invisible labour, Wages for Housework, Silvia Federici etc....']

[Talk about unauthored admin documents: Lisa Gitelman: Paper Knowledge]

The Piracy Project

The Piracy Project (TPP), is a collaboration with artist Andrea Francke. It deals with questions of authorship, authorisation and authority in a hands-on way. By prompting people to "pirate" a book that is important to them – that is to make copies and manually reproduce books – The Piracy Project challenges a traditional understanding of books as finite resources and stable and authoritative objects. Through the unauthorised interventions and alterations of the books' textual and visual content, TPP transgresses the construction of authorship, as we commonly understand it and deals with the complexities of authorisation on many different levels, as I will explain in the following.

These conceptualisations were not clear-cut at the beginning of TPP. The project's richness, energies and complexities unfolded during the collaborative practice as well as through the interaction with contributors and institutions, which hosted TPP and the related workshops, lectures and debates over the span of five years. There was not a clear-cut question triggering TPP at the beginning. It was rather a political situation and the desire to organise against it, as well as the puzzling discovery of specific book piracy cases in Peru, where pirates had started to anonymously alter and amend the plot of some fiction books.

-- Refer to Hornsey closure and Middlesex. -- disagreement within staff whether self-govern or campaign for keeping it as institutionally run.>

The Piracy Project was initiated in 2010. Its immediate trigger was the attempt to fight the closure of the library at Byam Shaw School of Art in London. In a joint effort students and staff turned Byam Shaw’s art college library, supported by its acting principal, into a self-governed library that remained public – and thus intellectually and socially generative. As I explain in the text "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices" this was not without antagonism, because right at that time, the British Prime Minister of the day, David Cameron, launched his perfidious ‘The Big Society’ concept, which proposed that members of the community should volunteer at public institutions, such as local libraries, which were deemed to be closed due to government cuts. They were also voices saying that, rather than turning this into a project, time and energies should be invested into campaigning to keep the library as an institutional resource. [Figures of library cuts in UK?] However, shifting an institutionally run library to one organised by students and staff, opened up many possibilities to experiment and rethink what a library could be. By taking collective ownership over the art school library and its books, the space opened up from being a resource, that was controlled and validated by institutional policies – critically on the question of its offering on the shelves – to a self-steering knowledge assemblage, able to include potentially obscure, self-published, not institutionally validated materials.

Queering the authority of the printed book

The Piracy Project shares similar concerns with practices of radical online libraries such as aaaarg.fail or Memory of the World (discussed in the above chapter "Libraries as a space of dissemination – Questions of access and organisation, classification and validation"), which are setting up distribution platforms in order to fight enclosures by commercial monopolies. However TPP operates differently. It asks people to make printed copies of books, and while doing that, rethink, how they relate to the authored and already authorised material they are pirating. As such it is a material practice as well as a conceptual and political practice. The call, published internationally through an art-agenda newsletter and locally through posters states: "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.[26]

These manipulations could be described as queering of the authority of the printed book, as we know it. Since the introduction of the industrial printing press we tend to simply assume, that one copy of a book we are reading to be identical to the other copies of the same title circulating. The co-authored text "The Impermanent Book" published in Rhizome magazine [10] discusses the instability of the book, especially since the commercial availability of print-on-demand services. In the chapter "The Piracy Project" of the article "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices", I reflect on the anxieties the invention of the Xerox photocopy machine in the 60s injected into mainstream publishing. This becomes clearer, when we consider that digital print technologies such as print-on-demand and desktop publishing allow for a constant re-printing and re-editing of existing files. The advent and widespread accessibility of the photocopy machine in the late 1960s in the US, for example, allowed the reader to photocopy books and collate selected chapters, pages or images in new and customised compilations.[27] These new reproduction technologies undermine to an extent the concept of the printed book as a stable and authoritative work, which had prevailed since the mass production of books on industrial printing presses came into being some 400 years ago. History of information scholar Eva Hemmungs-Wirtén describes in what way the general availability of the photocopier has been perceived as a threat to the authority of the text and cites Marshall McLuhan’s address at the Vision 65 congress in 1965: 'Xerography is bringing a reign of terror into the world of publishing because it means that every reader can become both author and publisher. [….] Authorship and readership alike can become production-oriented under xerography. Anyone can take a book apart, insert parts of other books and other materials of his own interest, and make his own book in a relatively fast time. Any teacher can take any ten textbooks on any subject and custom-make a different one by simply xeroxing a chapter from this one and from that one.’[28]

The queering of the authorial voice

Beside these material aspects, some contributions to The Piracy Project undermine the authority of the authorial voice. See for example the case of the pirated version of "No se lo diga a nadie" (Don't tell anyone), where the pirate secretly and anonymously added two extra chapters to a famous auto-biographical novel by Peruvian journalist and TV presenter Jaime Baily. [reference to catalogue entry] Somebody had borrowed the official author’s voice and sneaked in two fictionalised extra chapters about the author’s life. (This and several other cases are in more detail discussed in the texts "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices"(Whose book is it anyway),"The Piracy Project" (Archives of the commons II) "The Impermanent Book" (Rhizome).

The assumed authority of the author is for example turned inside out in the Piracy Project index catalog, which is written in collaboration with writer John Moseley, which is searchable online. Here the pirate is listed as author; the original author as source material.See online catalogue Could such re-editing practices be understood as expanded reference practice, such as quotation, citation, homage? In order to explore the different relationalities we developed over the course of the project a growing list of terms, such as borrowing, poaching, plagiarising, pirating, stealing, gleaning, referencing, leaking, copying, imitating, adapting, faking, paraphrasing, quoting, reproducing, using, counterfeiting, repeating, cloning, translating? All verbs (active words) that describe the range of relationships we build to somebody else's work. This list is also the title of a publication, the TPP edited and published in 2014 exploring each of these terms from different perspectives and fields of knowledge.[29]

Who has the right to be an author, copyright and IP

None of the cases contributed to TPP asked for authorisation from the author or publisher and we sometimes describe them as "unsolicited collaborations". The term collaboration refers to a relational activity and re-imagines authorship not as proprietary and stable, but as a dialogical and generative process – very much in the view framed by feminist legal scholar Carys Craig. She claims that ‘authorship is not originative but participative; it is not internal but interactive; it is not independent but interdependent. In short, a dialogic account of authorship is equipped to appreciate the derivative, collaborative, and communicative nature of authorial activity in a way that the Romantic (individual genius) account never can.’ [30] But there are limits to this dialogical approach, and Craig as a legal scholar refers to the complexities of intellectual property law. The law limits intertextual, relational practices , which I discuss in "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices". And the law also aims to protect against predatory practices. The debate on the complexities of this binary conducted between legal scholars, Open Culture activists is fierce and ongoing and can not be discussed here in detail.

To define authorial originality in a derivative work, for example, has been the task of many court cases. And because copyright is case law, the verdicts are informed by many different factors. So this messiness and blurriness of the legal framework can create a climate of anxiety and subsequently self-censorship. You don’t do stuff, because you don’t know whether it might be interpreted as copyright infringement. This self-limiting instinct is documented well in "Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report", commissioned by the College Art Association in USA in 2014 [31], which I discuss in detail in the text "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices".

To follow up on this really crucial point, we we organised a performative debate entitled "A Day at the Courtroom". It has been hosted by The Showroom in London during our one-year residency at the art space in 2013. For the debate we invited three critical copyright lawyers from different cultural and legal backgrounds to assess selected cases of TPP collection items in the eyes of the law. The advising scholars and lawyers were Lionel Bently (Professor of Intellectual Property at the University of Cambridge), Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Art and Law, New York), Prodromos Tsiavos (Head of Digital Development at the Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, at the time Legal Project Lead for Creative Commons, England, Wales and Greece). We were curious about this debate, in which each lawyer argued their legal perspective after which it was on the audience to speak the verdict. For the debate, we also replaced the “infringing” – “non infringing” binary with a colour scale from red (for illegal) to blue (for legal) and, again the audience was asked to pick the right spot and legal status of each discussed case.

The lawyers demonstrated, that for example one selected case would be regarded as Fair Use exception in Europe, but not in the United States. Lot’s of effort went into the discussion how “originality” is defined and what the criteria are for being granted the status of an “author”. In the case of "Suitcase Body is missing woman", one of the total of ten cases assessed in the debate, the lawyers raised the question, whether a person untrained in art could claim original artistic expression for their work. Another case, which discussed a clearly commercially motivated predatory publishing practice, by pulling content from a knowledge commons such as Wikipedia, was deemed legal. See the published debate here.[32]

Such events help us to collectively unpack the contested complexities within intellectual property law. But they also helped us to grasp the extent to which these policy debates, as well as the sheer use of the term “intellectual property”, has become so ubiquitous that it pervades our thinking and working and not least our social relationships.

The social agency of piracy

The media and communication scholar Ramon Lobato asks, whether the language of piracy used by the critical intellectual property discourse ‘should be embraced, rejected, recuperated or re-articulated’? He contends, that reducing ‘piracy’ to a mere legal category – a question of conforming or nonconforming with the law – tends to neglect the generative force of piracy practices, which ‘create (their) own economies, exemplify wider changes in social structure, and bring into being tense and unusual relationships between consumers, cultural producers and governments.’ [33]

Gary Hall discusses in his book "Pirate Philosophy, For a digital Posthumanities" the genealogy of the word pirate: "When the word pirate first appeared in ancient Greek texts, it was closely related to the noun ‘peira’ which means trial or attempt.[34] ‘The ‘pirate’ would then be the one who ‘tests’, ‘puts to proof', ‘contends with’, and ‘makes an attempt’. Further etymological research shows that from the same word root stems p i ra : experience, practice [πείρα], p i rama : experiment [πείραμα], p i ragma: teasing [πείραγμα] and pir a zo : tease, give trouble [πειράζω]. [35] This ‘contending with’, ’making an attempt’ and ‘teasing’ is at the core of The Piracy Project’s practice."

The power of framing and context

This "teasing, making an attempt contending with" happens firstly by asking people to make specific contributions to the piracy project and its context (library closure). It also happens through our own research into cases of book piracy elsewhere, and the understanding of their strategies and approaches and the (political) motivations for these acts. In so far as they fall into the category of of civil disobedience, these acts ask for careful discussion and framing, as any framing process is also a powerful meaning-making tool.

In the TPP reading rooms, which are open to the public, the books on the shelf need to be able to communicate on their own. Therefore we wrote for each book of the collection a “library card”. It functions partly as an index catalogue (which is also available online). But it foremost describes the books’ genesis. The card names the original source, the material properties of the pirate copy, what strategy has been used, who is the pirate, how it got into the collection. All in all it functions as an entry point to the book. At New York Art Book Fair, a librarian from Pratt institute stepped by our reading room every single day, because she was so fixed on the questions the books raise in respect to normative cataloguing and bibliography standards. Take Jaime Bayli’s “No se diga a nadie” for example. Who would be named as author? How can you pay justice to the complexity of the more than one “authorships” in this work?

The problem discussed earlier is that standard modes of classification use a controlled vocabulary. The most widespread standard classification systems (Dewey, Library of Congress) claim to be universal and neutral, so that everything can find its place within its structure. However we know that the organisation and framing of knowledge is not neutral and informs to a large degree, whether material is been found and if and how it is being read. To cut deeper into the questions around framing cases in our collection, we organised a workshop during the two-month reading room opened at Grand Union in Birmingham (6 December 2013 – 8 February 2014). Archivist Karen Di Franco helped us to collectively develop an alternative vocabulary by thinking through how selected cases operate. A set of useful new terms came up: “Unauthorised”, “Impersonated”, “Hijacked”, “Invisible/Ghost”, “Altruistic”, “Esoteric”, “Accidental”, “Communal”. [36]

On another instance, when a TPP reading room opened at Kunstverein Munich (7 – 28 November 2014), we looked for classification criteria, how to spatially organise the books. Parallel to the reading room we ran a two-week workshop visiting independent publishers, bookshops, archives and a copy shop in Munich, which all operated off mainstream practices and found alternative ways of distribution.[37] Correspondingly we organised the books on display in the Piracy Project Reading Room according to their modes of distribution:


• White Market

• Grey Market

• Black Market

• Archive as Distribution

• Print on demand

The White Market for books encompasses all legal and authorised distribution through traditional channels. The books in this selection have been produced through publishing houses, have ISBN numbers and are produced in higher quantities that allow for commercial distribution.

The Grey Market for books includes publications produced in higher edition numbers than the one circulating through specific, non-official networks. We included fanzines and artists’ books that are sold only at specialized shops in this section.

The Black Market for books encompasses distribution through illegal and unauthorised commercial channels. The books in this section were purchased at pirate markets and copy shops.

Archive As Distribution are examples of pirated books that are produced for archival reasons. They are out of circulation and were sent to us in order to remain accessible. We also gather here books that are one–offs, produced specifically for the Piracy Collection in response to our open call.

Print On Demand points to a new type of market. It produces books with a professional finish and ISBN number in potentially unlimited quantities that can circulate in mainstream commercial distribution channels. A book, produced through lulu.com, for example, will be a one-off until a second copy is purchased. Only then the second copy will be printed and shipped. Distribution triggers production, it defines the market dynamically. It allows books to oscillate between grey and white market zones in a seamless way.

These experiments in organising the collection were interesting, because they show the power of naming and framing. Depending on organising criteria, the collection can be explored in many different ways. Because there are many questions to be asked we keep changing the classification criteria, when we display the collection in public. Each time the collection appears in a new light, holding different questions and answers depending on what aspect we focus on. Thus the catalogue itself turns into a meaning-making structure.

However over the years we got more and more hesitant towards invitations to exhibit The Piracy Project. The institutional framework of exhibitions turned the reading rooms, which were meant as a starting point for collaboration and exchange, more and more into static exhibits for demonstration purposes.

With hindsight I have to say that the most productive public iterations were long-term reading rooms, which allowed for a series of accompanying workshops, events and debates. And the most generative time the TPP experienced during the student-led occupation at the Byam Shaw library. See a detailed description of the consequences of this shift of context from the daily encounters at the Byam Shaw School of Art to “touring” the collection to different art venues, after the art college library was eventually shut down, in the published presentation held at the international seminar "Archives of the Commons II - the Anomic Archive”, organised by Red Conceptualismos del Sur and Museo Nacional Reina Sofia Madrid. Read text here.

See a full list of lectures, workshops, debates and events here. [link]

Boxing and Unboxing

AND2 Marabouparken questions poster for exhibition 2018.png

Butler-Ettinger: seeing as a child: But who are we? Are we really intact before these images? Or do they also look back at us and banish us to a realm that is prior to the speakability of the ‘I’? Do these images not imperil a certain self-recognition precisely through linking us to a psychic and cultural prehistory that we cannot think, cannot know? Does Bracha mock the philosopher? Or does she expose the philosopher to a scene of emergence at once traumatic, scattered, partial, multiple, non-unified and non-unifiable, the scene which is closed over again and again by our talk of identity and our presumption that what we most need is recognition for what we distinctly are?

Another experiment has taken place during AND's research residency at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm in 2018 that is similarly concerned with questions of authorship, classification and relationality. However it is positioned outside the field of publishing and approaches these topics – through corporeality and bodily dialogue – within the realm of boxing.

Boxing is conventionally understood as a sport based on competition between two individuals who use physical force and technique to defeat one another in a combative situation in the ring. However, in the last few years a number of boxing clubs opened that are not fitness- or business-oriented but socially and politically motivated. “United Voices of the World Union”, a self-organised, London-based, campaigning migrant and precarious workers trade union has recently started boxing classes for its members. The organisation engages in physical protests, occupations and demonstrations stating: "The working class is kicking ass in court, in the workplace and in the ring[11]

Or take as another case in point 'Solstar' (short for Solidarity Star), a left-wing inclusive gym based in North London that is run by female coaches 'with the aim to build practical solidarity' by training together[12] offer boxing classes as a tool to fight police and right-wing aggression on the street. The organisation offers boxing classes as a tool to prepare members for self-defence to fight potential police and right-wing aggression on the street. One should also mention Shadow Sistxrs, a group of women of colour affiliated to 'gal-dem', a London based magazine run by women and non-binary people of colour to get independent from the representation through mainstream media. The organisation has started 'Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club' as a 'Physical & Meta-Physical Self-Defence class for women, Non-Binary folk, and QTIPOC witches'. The immediate trigger were attacks on women during night hours on the streets surrounding Haringey’s Warehouse District. [13]

These campaigns are not primarily based on traditional models of martial arts or gyms or on making a profit by fighting for the entertainment of others. Rather they provide an opportunity to learn self-defence, boost confidence and solidarity.

When we, AND Publishing (Rosalie Schweiker and Eva Weinmayr), were invited for a residency at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm, we were curious, in what way boxing training could be a method to learn how to relate to each other. Could learning how to box expand our previous conceptions and experiences of collaboration and negotiation? Would it help to deal with conflict, anger and transgression? Could it provide insights into practices of care and support by learning about our physical and emotional boundaries? Or to borrow from Ar Parmacek: ”How can boxing, which is so focused on an individual fighting against another individual, survival of the fittest and fastest, be used as a feminist, and/or creative tool? Where can the methods and strategies learned from boxing be critically and successfully applied to art, to writing, and to activism, and where might they rather end up doing harm?” [38]

Context: Marabouparken Konsthall Guestroom Research Residency

The Marabouparken Konsthall Guestroom programme "Acts of Self Ruin", informed by Leela Ghandi's book "The Common Cause" sets out to explore 'the struggle for collectivity and equality in an age of individualism'. The programme aims 'to support artist groups or collectives to develop new lines of inquiry over a three-month period and share these with a public through workshop and events'.[39]

Major concerns dawned on us while thinking this through. How can collectivity be made thriving by inviting for temporary residencies? By definition, residencies dislocate a contextual and locally embedded practice in order to take residence in a new community. As artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, who developed several long-term and large-scale community-embedded projects, such as 'Philadelphia Assembled', pointed out in a public talk at Valand Academy in 2017: Projects aiming at meaningfully community building need at least a three-year commitment. [40]


At Marabouparken our main questions were: how could we potentially approach a five-months residency (we were able to negotiate the duration being extended to five months), develop new strands of practice and work meaningfully with the local community – which was after all the desire clearly expressed by the Konsthall's curators? We started with (i) a set of questions, (ii) a draft document developing the terms and conditions of the collaboration with the institution and (iii) the idea to organise boxing classes for self-defining women as part of this residency.

The set of questions collated our each doubts, questions and interests on one page. It reflects our individual voices as well as our concerns with our collaborative practice within AND. Here is a glimpse at the list of points: "What does it mean to understand our work not as a noun but as a verb?" "Why do we NOT want a unified face?" "How can we subvert the social pressure to produce faces?" and "Who gives in? Who compromises? Who accommodates? Who cares? Who edits? Who organises? Who translates? Do we need a new, less tired and exclusive language to talk about all of this? And how do you document laughter?" [41]

The text specifying terms and conditions was an evolving document, informed by a dialogue between curator Jenny Richards and AND that has been revised several times throughout the residency in order to articulate and revise the expectations of the institution as well as those of the invited artists. It stated for example that the artists will be visible on their own terms. This is a stipulation that requests that the institution consults the artists as to how this project is to be made public through social media and press releases, as well as the way in which encounters with the general public are created. These agreements paid attention to the fact that institutions at times tend to co-opt and frame artistic work according to their habits and templates. The terms and conditions document provided some freedom and a sort of protection against enforced compromise potentially driven by institutional requirements for publicness and publicity.[42]

The idea of organising a boxing club emerged out of curiosity as to how boxing, when defined as physical play and not a competition, might allow us to rehearse ways to relate to each other in other areas. Central to this undertaking was the shift in the concept of competition highlighted by Janet O'Shea. She observes in her book 'Making Play Work: Competition, Spectacle, and Intersubjectivity in Hybrid Martial Arts' that martial arts entail elements of competitive pleasure and competitive spectacle. Competitive spectacle hinges on an outcome, i.e. winning or losing, she writes, whereas competitive play 'highlights the physical, contestatory, and exploratory interactions between people' a view that resists a 'societal overemphasis on winning' as too much attention to winning turns sports into work. [43]

It's interesting to connect these observations with questions on outcomes and authorship raised in other parts of this PhD inquiry - for instance in the book chapter 'Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices' - where the relationship between 'verb' (practice) and 'noun' (outcome), and the blockages produced by the demand for individually authored outcomes as well as regimes of ownership are examined. I was not initially aware of the actual affinities, overlap and connections to my overall PhD inquiry. However, on reflection, it became apparent, that the way we organised and set up the boxing training, dealt with exploring the pleasure of competitive physical play while not buying into the notion of the fixed outcome such as fighting for victory or defeat.

Still competing without aiming at a win is a contradiction. In order to explore this contradiction we needed a specific set up: In terms of timing, we scheduled a two-weeks intensive training program with boxing classes run every other day. We found two boxing instructors in Sofia Thorne and Airin Fardipour, both active in the Stockholm female boxing scene but both without much previous experience as coaches. Thus for them, this project became a new strand in their range of practices rather than being a more-of-same routine they followed anyway day to day. By involving them, from the perspective of us learners, the authority of "the instructor" had been split across two instructing minds, bodies, voices and sets of abilities and expertise. It also solved the problem of language, as Sofia and Airin ran the classes bi-lingually in Swedish and English with Airin translating Sofia´s instructions into English. The choice of location was important because we wanted to avoid the training program being framed as artwork, exhibition or performance. To reject this context, we moved the training classes to Project Playground, an after school club for youth refugees in Stockholm´s Hallonbergen district. The people behind Project Playground were interested to instigate more activities for females at their centre.

AND-Boxing poster 01.1.png
AND-boxing poster english.png

The training was free of charge and open to self-defining women and non-binary and trans folk of all ages above 16. People were invited to come through posters distributed in community centres, libraries in the Hallonbergen neighbourhood and across Stockholm. The announcements were published in English, Swedish, Arabic and Tigrinya to reach the various ethnicities living in the area. The number of trainees varied between twenty coming to the training unit and it levelled out over time to a group of 10-12 boxers in the subsequent sessions. The classes started with warm-ups, followed by rehearsing footwork and punches, learning defence moves, sparring with changing partners and the sessions often concluded with cardio fitness and subsequent fika in the 'girls room'[44]

We had to trust each other to stick to the rules. The rules were the basic agreement for getting into the gym room with people you have never met before and the intention to start punching each other. O'Shea points out that 'Sports are games and games are about paradox. In a game, we have a goal, but we have rules in play that make it harder to achieve that goal. We follow the rules in order to sustain the state of play because it is enjoyable.' (reference)

Sparring, for example, illuminates the many ways in which bodily interaction differentiates itself from fight and violence. Part of the experimental learning in the boxing classes was that we constantly changed sparring partners, requiring an immediate adaptation to your partner's body size, weight, ability and tactics. It meant instantaneous navigation between your partners' vulnerability and force, fierceness and speed. O'Shea describes sparring as moments where 'nobody declares a winner, no-one keeps a score, nobody is watching. In sparring, we compete without needing to win and can disagree with respect'. [45]

This is why I refer in the following to sparring partner and not to opponent. The sparring can be described as an exercise of intersubjective exchange, a process of action and reaction, adaption and anticipation. This unconditional alertness to your partner's moves, either triggering attack or defence, constructs a unique interdependent relationship. It is as you were moving together. You are working together while competing. For example, we spent lots of time rehearsing defence tactics by learning to anticipate your partner´s moves to either block or evade it. There are, to give an example, two ways to confront a quick right-hand jab: you either block it with your gloved fist or underarm or you duck under it letting it hit the void. The exhilaration I personally experienced during the sparring sessions, had to do with the necessity to act on your feet. The mantra of our boxing teacher was: 'Don't overthink. Be present. Always maintain eye contact with your opponent. Stay focussed.' Indeed the moment you were trying to make sense of what is happening you get dragged away and miss out. The intensity and immediacy of this constant adjusting and adapting, with body and mind, requires your presence at the moment.

On the mat, it did not matter who you are, who your parents are, where you were born, what colour your skin is or what you have achieved in your profession, what your identity, merits, class, profession and authority are. You left all this in the changing room and were equalised counterparts. Artist Anna Zett describes this loss of predefined identity in her film 'Theory of Everything (Circuit Training)' as "I have no name, no gender, I do not listen to anyone´s prayers, I speak no language, I have no genealogy"[14] Instead, what matters in this moment is your vulnerability and your ability to interact with your partner. [46]

'Leaving everything behind' meant for us, the artist organisers, that we did not take on the role and the related authority of the artist-curator. This liberating moment allowed us to be equal learners on the gym mat and to hand over the responsibility to the boxing teachers. Actually, it hardly occurred to anyone in the boxing class, that the training was organised and funded by an art institution. We introduced the project as part of Marabouparken Guestroom residency and were keen to keep this experiment as autonomous as possible, because – as already said -- we were wary of it becoming an "art piece" with all its complicated framing and conceptual load.

We wanted to create an opportunity of learning something new, which turned into a moment of beginning – not just for us, the organisers, but also for all participants. In their written feedback some articulated how important it was, to be invited into this safe space in order to learn something new and not easily accessible since boxing still is pretty much a male and macho dominated sport. (Female boxing was first included in the London Summer Olympics in 2012.)

It seems paradoxical, but in my experience, the boxing classes, the playful and combative contact between each other yielded an extraordinary sense of trust, communality and support without knowing each other.

"Throughout the entire period of boxing training, the exciting atmosphere of beginning affected every-thing. Even as someone who observed for the most part, I felt that I was in the middle of a beginning of something every session. In the beginning of a collective and individual learning experience, witnessing other’s beginnings; beginning to box, beginning to know each other, beginning to get to know the space, and so on.
I realise how much I miss this particular joy. How rare it is, at least in adult life, to access the joy of beginning something, be it a skill, a friendship, taking a route to a new place, seeing a new part of the city, etc. etc. This also made me think about how beginnings like these are full of joy because they are still open. Roles haven’t yet been 100% cemented. (Maybe they can’t solidify for as long as the beginning and position of beginner lasts? The cemented roles, in other words, mark the end of a beginning?) Activities haven’t yet become laden with expectations of advancing, of growing pressure. Professionalism. These things circulate, hover above our heads, for sure, but it feels like as long as the beginning state is present they can’t take over. Being a beginner in this context allowed for mistakes and for laughter, not sideways glances or reprimands."[38]

The laughter was indeed a dominating noise in the space throughout the classes. An observation that lets me revisit one of the initial questions: 'How do you document laughter?' The 'Boxing and Unboxing' calendar is an attempt to capture this experience of exhilaration and communality. It is an experiment to find 'a less tired language to talk about all this' and serves at the same time as a boxing guide to memorise the moves and punches we had learned. The collages, produced by the boxers capture the spirit of these classes. See images from AND's Boxing and Unboxing calendar.

Web-AND-calendar-01.jpg












Notes section [5] Reflection, theorisation of projects
  1. The American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights", developed in 1939, with several amendments until today, states: 1. As a responsibility of library service, books and other library materials selected should be chosen for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the community. In no case should any library materials be excluded because of the race or nationality or the social, political, or religious views of the authors.
    2. Libraries should provide books and other materials presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times; no library materials should be proscribed or removed from libraries because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
    3. Censorship should be challenged by libraries in the maintenance of their responsibility to provide public information and enlightenment.
    4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas.
    5. The rights of an individual to the use of a library should not be denied or abridged because of his age, race, religion, national origins or social or political views.
    6. As an institution of education for democratic living, the library should welcome the use of its meeting rooms for socially useful and cultural activities and discussion of current public questions. Such meeting places should be available on equal terms to all groups in the community regardless of the beliefs and affiliations of their members, provided that the meetings be open to the public.
  2. During the Critical Practice conference, for example, held at Valand Academy to mark the 150 years anniversary of art education in Gothenburg - the keynote speaker happened to reference in his contribution exclusively well-known and acknowledged white Western male authors, artists and theorists.
  3. "Women too, people of colour too, might cite white men: to be you have to be in relation to white men (to twist a Fanonian point). Not to cite white men is not to exist; or at least not to exist within this or that field" Sara Ahmed, "White Men" [2]11.April 2014
  4. Sara Ahmed, "Making Feminist points", [3], 13 September 2013
  5. To use this anecdote from my immediate context in order to prove a claim might seem problematic. It serves as a marker. It might not be the one I use at the end, but I leave it for now.
  6. For example one of the ideas during the planning period of the press was to introduce a female citation policy, that is a certain percentage of writings published references female authors, an idea which could legally not implemented as a policy, but is an underlying topic within the editorial board. Read the interview
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wellmon, Chad and Piper, Andrew "Publication, Power, Patronage: On Inequality and Academic Publishing" in Critical Inquiry, 21 July 2017,[accessed 30 July 2017].
  8. As Wellmon and Piper point out "universities were often closely associated with high-status families that used their contacts with kings, princes, and government officials to exercise influence over appointments and advancements. Universities in Gießen, Marburg, and Tübingen remained under the influence of such familial networks well into the nineteenth century", passing on faculty chairs within familial or other personal networks.
  9. Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, "Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life"Princeton, N.J., 2011,p.60 (pp. 23–79)
  10. It is interesting to observe that the printed posters and their online versions that circulated in my own immediate environment at Valand Academy triggered much interest and therefore contributions. Apparently the community of practice at the art academy as an environment of shared interests was critical as a vehicle for bonding trust. People who already knew me personally or knew about my work felt appealed to contribute. (My position within the institution, as a doctoral researcher, also provided some degree of respect or even authority, which people felt they could trust and rely on.) In addition, a large number of contributions arrived from people who worked with me previously or knew of my involvement with AND Publishing and The Piracy Project in London. It seems that both characteristics, my position as a doctoral researcher employed at the art academy as well as my previous work provided some context and legitimisation.
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named workgroup
  12. The events marking the 150 include 'Critical Practices: Education from Arts and Artists Conference' convened by Mick Wilson at Valand Academy (October 2015) and the 'Meaning Making Meaning' exhibition curated by Gabo Camnitzer at A-venue (March 2016) in Gothenburg.
  13. At this point, working towards a defined goal – the mobilisation was conceived to mark the closing of Valand Academy's 150th anniversary events – the group had shrunk to only six people, consisting of students, teachers and one administrator: Andreas Engman, Eva Weinmayr, Gabo Camnitzer, Kanchan Burathoki, Mary Coble and Rose Borthwick.
  14. Download glossary here.
  15. Mary Douglas, How Institutions Think, Syracus University Press, 1986. See also How Institutions Think, edited by Paul O'Neill, Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2017. The book takes its title from Mary Douglas book and reflects on 'how institutions inform art, curatorial, educational, and research practices as much as they shape the world around us'. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-institutions-think.
  16. We also discussed in a meeting with the prefect possible precedences, such as Serpentine Gallery Marathon in London in order to have arguments in the case the superordinate university procurement would ask questions.
  17. Read interview with Hajar Alsaidan, one of Hoppet’s founding sisters, about how Hoppet started, the foundations of the organisation and food, feminism, precarity and women’s liberation in Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy workbook [4]
  18. For example just three days before the event we received an email from an administrator stating that preparing food for 120 people in the academy building (iii) would breach Health and Safety regulations of the university. Two days later another administrator brought us – as a acknowledging and supportive gesture – a monstrous squash vegetable home-grown in her own garden to cook for the communal dinner.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Andrea Francke, Ross Jardine in "Bureaucracy’s Labour: The Administrator as Subject in 'Management', Parse issue 5
  20. Dean Spade, "Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law", 2nd edition. Durham: Duke University Press Books. 2015.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 In this text, written one year after the event, the working group reflected on the process, hopes, and results of the mobilisation by revisiting and commenting on the original text "Mapping the concepts and ways of working for Let's Mobilize." published in September 2016 in 'Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy workbook'. Download draft text.
  22. "MFK Manual", Johanna Gustavsson, Lisa Nyberg, Malmö Free University for Women, 2011
  23. Jo Freeman, „The Tyranny of Structurelessness, Why organisations need some structure to ensure they are democratic", 1972, http://struggle.ws/hist_texts/structurelessness.html.
  24. “I do always wonder how as hosts, undertaking so much care work and logistical preparations, we are able to engage with everyone and the discussions without burning out?” Frances Stacey, Collective Gallery Edinburgh, email 1.5.2017
  25. "First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude and joy for the Femped mobilization. Thank you for arranging this fantastic event! It was inviting, relaxed, intelligent, critical, playful, generous. It was also wonderful to meet all these people in this setting - I think it made everyone go off-guard. Even though the atmosphere was friendly and allowing, there was also room for criticality - especially during the Thursday session before lunch. That was very valuable! [...] If femped is to serve as a role model for the Academy - and in many regards it should - I cannot stress enough that the work required to arrange an event needs to be acknowledged by the institution as work. Anything else is unsustainable, unethical and excluding. To define what work is and how it is valued has occupied feminism for decades." Ann-Charlotte Glasberg Blomquist, Lecturer Valand Academy, email 15.11.2016
  26. https://www.art-agenda.com/shows/and-publishing-announces-the-piracy-lectures/
  27. It might be no coincidence that Roland Barthes’ seminal short essay 'Death of the Author’ is published in Aspen Magazine in 1967, the same time, when the Xerox photocopy machine have become widely used in libraries and offices. See Eva Hemmungs Wirtén "The Death of the Author and the Killing of Books: Assault by Machine", in "No Trespassing, Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights and the Boundaries of Globalization", pp.57-75, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004
  28. Hemmungs-Wirten, Eva. "No Trespassing, Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights and the Boundaries of Globalization", Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004 and Marshall McLuhan, ‘Address at Vision 65, New Challenges for Human Communications’, Southern Illinois University, 21-23 October 1965, in McLuhan, E. and Zingrone, F. (eds) 'Essential McLuhan', New York: BasicBooks, pp. 216, 1995.
  29. In an open-ended reader, published by AND publishing in 2014, each of these terms will be explored from different perspectives and fields of knowledge. "Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating" [5] is an open ended book, that develops as people buy shares in selected chapters exploring one of these terms. [Explain funding, production model]
  30. , p.246) Carys J. Craig, "Symposium: Reconstructing the Author-Self: Some Feminist Lessons for Copyright Law", American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law . 15, no. 2, 2007.
  31. Aufderheide, Patricia, Jaszi, Peter, Bello, Bryan. Milosevic, Tijana, Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report (New York: College Art Association, 2014).
  32. See "A Day at the Courtroom", the published transcript of this debate in the reader "Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating", ed Andrea Francke & Eva Weinmayr, London: AND Publishing, pp.91-133, 2014. Download book
  33. Ramon Lobato, ‘The Paradoxes of Piracy’, in Lars Eckstein, Anja Schwarz (eds) Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South (London, New York: Bloomsbury, 2014) p.121,123.
  34. Daniel Heller-Roazen, The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations, (New York: Zone Books, 2009) p.35.
  35. ‘Etymology of Pirate’, in English Words of (Unexpected) Greek Origin , 2 March 2012, <http://ewonago.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/etymology-of-pirate> [accessed 14 February 2018].
  36. Karen Di Franco, 'Putting the Piracy Collection on the shelf' published in "Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating", ed Andrea Francke & Eva Weinmayr, London: AND Publishing, pp 77-90, 2014.
  37. See publication documenting this local archive research here.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Ar Parmacek, 'Boxing and Unboxing Calendar', London: AND Publishing, 2018
  39. Marabouparken’s Research Theme (2017-2019) was describes as: "Acts of Self Ruin is a two year research programme at Marabouparken, exploring the struggle for collectivity and equality in an age of individualism. Through a range of activities including exhibitions, residencies and a public programme, we will explore acts in which communities and individuals have put themselves at risk or ruin in the pursuit of other ways of living, or in pursuit of equality and solidarity. Acts that might produce shame or embarrassment in their deviation from existing hierarchies: acts of communal inefficiency of professional disloyalty, of solidarity with a persecuted colleague or the rejection of national identity. The research investigates not only overtly public political acts but also personal acts of self ruin. In what ways do we unlearn the encouraged subconscious individualistic ideology and its inherent classist, racist and sexist perpetuations? Acts of Self Ruin is a concept explored by Leela Gandhi in her book The Common Cause (2014) and informs this inquiry. The book proposes different forms of solidarity and community developed through acts of self-ruination. Acts aimed at making common the cause between individuals across cultural, political and class divides." [6]
  40. Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local.” Her long-scale community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to enable communities to take control of their own futures.[7]
  41. published on the website and exhibited as A0 poster in the space
  42. One of the main conversations was how the "development of a new strand of practice" can be framed or made visible before the actual experiment unfolds. The problem addressed here is that often the framing prior to the experiment shapes what is possible in the experiment. We were keen to leave this as open as possible. facebook, announcements, work in progress, images.... Had a say in the facebook posts, all announcements and the way information about the project was shared. This is not common within art institutions. The Barbican in London for example....
  43. Janet o'Shea 'Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals about Martial Arts Training', Oxford University Press, 2018 
  44. Ibid. See Ar Parmacek's reflection on the gendered interior design of the youth club.
  45. Janet o'Shea refers in this TED talk at UCLA California to sparring as technique to learn to compete and collaborate at the same time. [8]
  46. This does not apply to the history of professional championship boxing. In the UK Winston Churchill in his role as home secretary called of the interracial fight between black British boxer Jack Johnson and his white British contender Billy Wells, due to anxieties over the fitness of the White race playing into imperial concerns about the consequences of a black fighter defeating a white one. This resulted in a colour bar 1911-1948, where Black British boxer were allowed to fight for the British Empire title, but not for the British Championship title, even when they were born in Britain.

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