Reflection, theorisation of projects

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Intro: Reflection, theorisation of projects

This section seeks to unpick the questions underlying the various collaborative practices and experiments I have been involved in and have chosen to constitute the research contribution of the doctoral project. The purpose of this unpicking through 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 two "Survey of the field".⟶  see section 2: Survey of the Field The artistic projects described in section three "Summary of projects and submitted material" ⟶  see section 3: Summary of projects and submitted materialhave 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 such 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.

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, as I discuss in the text "Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community" libraries also constitute disciplinary institutions determining what is validated as relevant knowledge. ⟶  see book chapter: Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community This tension between materials that are validated as relevant knowledge and those that 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 seeks to develop 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 un-acknowledged struggles, and subsequently turn a library from being a repository of knowledge (Samek 2003, Springer 2015) into a space 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? proposes a shift in the definition of publication from being an "output" to acting as as "input". Consequently, this new definition asks us to redefine the dominant understanding of "impact" based on a logic of calculation that dominates our current systems of evaluation. The project, therefore, proposes to reassess the instituted taxonomy of values within learning and teaching and research at the art academy. It asks what would happen if we valued and gave formal merit to the processes and ways of how we publish, how we share and exchange knowledge rather than evaluating solely the outcome. [2] The project inquires how open, enabling and diverse are our knowledge practices, how inclusive are our tools and protocols by practically examining the moments, formats, and temporalities when knowledge is "practised" at the art academy through learning and teaching and sharing research. This experiment scrutinises the ways in which institutional habits, such as formats of how we meet, the terminologies we use, the procurement procedures we are asked to follow, and the forms of "outcomes" that are expected enable or hinder collective and inclusive critical knowledge practices. This chapter reflects in which way the collective planning, organising and holding of the three-day event alongside the distinct dissemination of the published workbook can propose an alternative.

By revisiting the five-year collaborative work with the Piracy Project, I examine in which way the pirated, modified, emulated books in the collection transgress the normative concept of authorship. As such the project deals with the complexities of authorisation on many different levels. It challenges the concept of individual authorship, the assumed authority of the printed book, and explores the spectrum of copying by creating a platform for re-editing, translating, paraphrasing, imitating, re-organising, manipulating already existing works. In the theorisation of this project, I will show in which way the project's unauthorised interventions into "stable" and authoritative knowledge aims to reveal and undo the reciprocity between authorship, originality and intellectual property, a triangulation that, as I will demonstrate, constitutes one of the main blockages for collective knowledge practices.

The reflection on Boxing and Unboxing leads me, once again, to questions of categorisation, this time in the appearance of "boxes", that are about getting "unboxed" or "cut up" as Rhani Lee Remedes suggests in the "Manifesto for cutting up boxes". A choice had to be made which of the numerous boxes that are trapping us in our contemporary condition are to be cut up in this specific inquiry. This choice leads me to M.C. MacPherson's political theory of possessive individualism to be connected via psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger's concept of border-swerving, border-linking and border-spacing between the I and non-I, to Roberto Esposito's conceptualisation of both immunity and community. All three attempt to theorise the relationship between the "proper" individual (that who is the sole owner of oneself) to its community. Connecting these theoretical propositions to the exhilarating, troubling and demanding experiences that the boxing project produced I will reflect on the potential of sparring as a radical bodily dialogue for developing methods to compete without needing to win and to disagree with respect.

[...] 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. >>Can you say something more about what the coercive reciprocity between the three terms means ? 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. [3] 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". [4] Citing is according to Ahmed "a rather successful reproductive technology, a way of reproducing the world around certain bodies."[5] 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.[6]

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. [7]

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.[8]

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.[9] "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." [8] Published texts, according to Simon Shaffer and Steve Shapin, constituted "a virtual witness that was agreed to be reliable."[10]

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

I have mapped a range of Library projects run by artists and activists in the section [Survey of the field], where I reviewed the range of artistic and scholarly attention that has been brought to questions of organisation and curation of physical libraries (Anne Sophie Springer) and to online shadow or pirate libraries. In the following, I will think through and examine the practice-based experiment → [Library of Inclusions and Omissions] by focusing on two strands. In the section "Which narratives enter" I examine the ramifications of institutional acquisition policies and evaluate whether the Library of Inclusions and Ommissions could be a proposal for a counter-strategy. In the section "Perspectives and Framing under the disguise of neutrality" I study the history of Western library classification in order to shed light on classification's implicit dilemma presented by the need to sort and classify and by the insight that each standard and category valorises some point of view and silences another.

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.[11]

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 overtime 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.

Much thought and creative effort have been invested by many engaged librarians in order to develop local, independent or modified schemes. Some of them are discussed in the text Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community (part II 'Infinite Hospitality', p. 167). Other examples include METIS, applied by the Ethical Culture School in New York developed together with their students. 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. Another example is the Glasgow Women Library, which developed a customised thesaurus for keywords. Particularly interesting is Eastside Projects' (Birmingham, UK) attempt to organise their book collection for their art space. They came up with a list of verbs (instead of nouns) as categories of subject headings. This move in a funny way tries to put emphasis on the agency of the books. Similarly to the indexing of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions, Eastside's framing attempts to describe what the books 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? – collectivity: Who authorises whom?

Let's Mobilise, builds on the investigation of the LIO. Because LIO was initially conceived for an exhibition context, as an artistic project, it is relatively self-contained, time-based in some way symbolic. In contrast, "Let's Mobilise", situates itself right inside a higher education institution, Valand Art Academy in Gothenburg, entangled in all the tensions and energies and procedures dominating such an institutional context.

What "Let's Mobilise" has in common with the LIO is the drive to interrogate the dominant knowledge practices, their references and their respective formats. It is an attempt to establish how the formats and infrastructures of production and circulation determine the agency of these knowledges and their process of making meaning. However, while LIO is dealing with these questions in relation to published material, Let's Mobilise, in contrast, kicks in and focuses on an earlier point in the chain of knowledge practices, namely the moment of learning and teaching, a discursive, time-based moment determined by the norms, infrastructures and regulations of a state-run higher education institution, in this case, Valand Art Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden in 2016. This question forms the core of a follow-up research project "Teaching to Transgress Toolbox", an Erasmus+ funded Strategic Partnership 2019-2021, the discussion of which would exceed the limits of this thesis. [12]

The reflection on the mobilisation experiment is best structured and discussed in two aspects. A first angle is the mobilisation's experiments with non-normative teaching and conference formats by testing new roles, languages, non-normative uses of the building and classrooms, as well as experimental approaches to timing, budgeting, catering and hosting of participants. This includes the often neglected, and I would claim neglected because "un-authored", practices of organising and care for such an event. In a second step, I will reflect on the experimental approach to produce and publish the workbook, that was circulated four weeks before the event.

Non-normative approaches and institutional habits

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

The explicit aim of the workgroup →Let's Mobilise: What is Feminist Pedagogy?#Working group 2015-2016 that formed at the university was to shed light on the complexities of the tensions arising between being a member of the institution and testing, researching the limitations of its established habits and modes of doing things. Concretely the working group embarked on an experiment how a "conference" on knowledge practices can be organised in a way that itself rethinks and tests the formats it employs and thereby directly translating the addressed theoretical concepts into action. The quotation marks around the term conference already give a hint on how the workgroup attempted to rethink the normative nomenclature and the roles, functions and hierarchies it produces. See "Glossary", published in Let's Mobilise: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook. → Download workbook That the ways in which we use descriptors are performative and political I have already discussed in the field of cataloguing and classifying in the section [→ Naming and framing under the disguise of neutrality].

In an attempt to adjust the institutionally instated terminology the Let's Mobilise workgroup replaced the term “conference” with “mobilisation”. By doing so, the emphasis of the event was shifted from delivering knowledge, for example, in the form of sharing papers, on knowledge's very agency – on that 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 lecturers' and students' public, the new terminology eventually got adopted across the organisation. [admin docs?]

This process of shifting the nomenclature within the academy community evidences our desire to organise an event, that is not detached from the daily habits and the agents working in the institution, but to mobilise, that is embedding in, addressing and rethinking the structural processes of how we work together at the academy. This desire builds on a wide range of research into institutional analyses and infrastructure studies [13] and the way institutional codes enable or impede modes of thinking and acting among individuals within this institution. (Raunig, Rassel, Gorianova) While a general review of institutional studies ( would be valid and productive here, I decided to only point to it, as an in-depth discussion would exceed the limits of this thesis. A detailed discussion of institutional practices with an emphasis on publishing will, however, be taken up in the reflection of institutional validation processes in the section [→ analysis].

Let's Mobilize starts from the assumption that institutions aren't self-contained and fixed structures but environments, [→ discuss Sarah Vanuxem concept of milieu?] formed by an "instituting movement" of its members. This approach is inspired by the conviction that if we want to reform and test the pedagogies we practice, we also need to invite the management, the technicians and the administrators into the discussion. [→Andrea Francke, Ross Jardine] Institution has been described, on the one hand, as a potential to be developed (instituting), on the other, it constitutes also an established form (institution). It is a constant negotiating between these two forces, in which alienation is produced when the “instituted” takes precedence over the “instituting.” [→ Laurence Rassel "Rethinking the art school"] This tension between the "instituted" and the "instituting" performed an ongoing tension during the one-year project. Institutional critique: instituting... (Raunig)

"The Un-authored" Practices of Organising and Caring or the administrators as co-author

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 sleepover 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, for example, the sleepover could become part of the programme as Forum 6: "When do we learn? Non-normative uses of the seminar room".[14] 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.

"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. [15] 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."[16] According to queer activist and legal scholar Dean Spade "policy and administrative systems are the invisible disciplinary forces that generate our experiences as subjects." [17] 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." [16] 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." [18] 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. The 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."[19]

We learned early on from the collective reading of Jo Freeman’s “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” that we need transparency on decisions we take.[20] 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." [18] It was the imbalance of priorities within the group and commitment to other projects, which caused imbalance and frustration overall. We had collectively read 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 horizontal 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 to focus 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 a similar commitment from all others. I was frustrated when things did not move forward on the project ends others had taken responsibility for.

Thirdly I will discuss the complexities and challenges of collectivity within in the working group that, 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.

"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?" [18]

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 investigate the institutional formats and habits 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 economic feasibility 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.[21] 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". [22]

==The Workbook: Input vs Output== This question of outputs vs inputs becomes even more obvious when we apply it to the field of publishing. The impact and value of a researcher's publishing practice are determined by a “logic of calculation”. It is measured by sheer counting: the number of articles, the number of citations, the number of downloads. The more individually authored works - the more research points - the more money for the institution. Publications and authored documents have become an asset and a currency.

In my view, this definition of “impact” is ridiculous and cynical, as it leads to gaming the system. [reference] Many academic activists have proposed to redefine our understanding of “impact” by shifting the instituted taxonomy of values. For example, if we valued and gave formal merit to the processes and ways of how we publish. If we assessed how inclusive are our tools and protocols? How open, enabling and diverse are our knowledge practices? Christopher Kelty suggests “what, if we valued not solely the content of utterances that are freely and openly circulated, but also the ways they are uttered … who is encouraged to say them and who is encouraged to remain silent.”[23]

But what exactly does "input" mean? It means I put something into something, for example, I put yeast in the dough to make it rise. Input has a concrete agency within a specific context or community. I will describe in the following using the example of the Let's Mobilize workbook how we could shift our understanding of publication from output to input by describing its specific mode of production and dissemination.

"Let’s Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy" workbook was published and circulated four weeks before the event. This timing seemed important, as the workbook's function was exceeding the task to give factual info for the event, such as conference programmes do by providing abstracts and info about the invited speakers. The workbook's function was to create a common ground, introduce the mobilisations topics and formats, and invite the wider academy community into the discussion BEFORE the event was staged.

In the field of publishing genres, the workbook has a specific function in such as it is meant to be used by others. It is defined as a book made up of a series of problems or practice examples mostly for a student to use as part of a course of study. In this sense a workbook could also be seen as a prop, in the way Fred Moten and Stefano Harney describe it: “If you pick it up you can move into some new thinking and into a new set of relations, a new way of being together, thinking together. In the end, it’s this new way of being and thinking together that’s important, not the prop.” [24]

The question "how we can be together and think together" constituted an ongoing question during the editorial process. Occupying a studio in the academy building the workgroup gathered over time printouts of texts, met with people who could potentially contribute with new or already existing work, got in touch with authors to ask for permission to be included in the book. After weeks the floor was covered with sheets of texts, drawings, charts, comics, and photographs. The editorial decision was to not consolidate the vast range of material into one overall design. The workbook pages keep all visual traces from the contexts and sites we took them, whether exported from a blog, a website or scanned from a printed book and therefore visually reference their source including many different layouts and typographic designs quasi as assembled ready-mades. This analogue editing method of testing the sequence of pages by rearranging them on the floor, adding metadata, names and references via handwriting on post-its allowed every member of the group to look together at the overall arrangement. Compared to the one person managing and making design decisions on an InDesign document this working method was fun and constructive as it gathered all bodies equally in the room. Once the pages were ready and the sequence agreed the sheets were manually scanned whereby the final scan performed as the pagination tool.

In line with rethinking the formats of the event, it felt necessary to fundamentally re-imagine the modes of circulation for the workbook. The impact and discourse we hoped for could hardly be instigated through an act of “delivery”, i.e. the distribution of a discrete finished object. Distribution is a rather technical and controlled act of delivering an object from a central point to known targets. Dissemination might come closer to the potential I am interested to explore, it has the nuance of spreading amorphously or in an unstructured manner; it develops a life on its own with its temporalities and trajectories. Knowledge, for example, can in some way be disseminated, but hardly distributed. Dissemination’s offer and scope are to instigate. Coming from Latin "semina" it suggests the spreading of a seed, which can grow and propagate. There is not the expectation of an immediate or technical effect. It is an offer. Seeds take their time: once when they find the right conditions, they germinate.

Extending Donna Haraway’s concept of situated knowledge, we don’t only "speak" from within a situation formed by specific bodies and their social situation with its own power relations – we attempted "to speak back to it". The experiments with the specific two-step dissemination of the workbook were such an attempt. Firstly the → [Public Assembling Day] created a social moment to introduce the questions, provocations and topics within the community of our educational institution. Secondly, the act of spreading the posters across the walls of the academy building and by that turning the academy building into a → [walkable book] we situated their content right inside the field of forces and disciplinary struggles of our day-to-day work environment at the academy. Here, it is not the binding of the book with its technical function to fix the narrative of the pages in a given sequence – it is the reader’s actual body on its daily trajectory through the workplace that creates the narrative. Teachers, students, administrators, alongside visiting guests, created a range of spatial, temporal meaning-making encounters with the book. [25] To reflect on the event character of such situated reading practice it is interesting to revisit the object relationship of early Happenings in the years 1958-61. As Johanna Drucker points out "the Happening was staged within an art context but as a situation and set of conditions for the interaction of individuals subject to certain material constraints. Initiated by an artist or artists, the situation served as vehicle and medium for such interrelations to be enacted and experienced but never reified", instead "the objects were elements with dubious object status and precious little formal value" and as such, they were a means and not an end.[p.55/56]

What Drucker describes here connects back to the concept of a prop that shifts the emphasis from the object (publication) on what is mobilised (the agency), discussed earlier in this section. Two things are at stake here: Firstly Drucker describes the critical impact of the Happenings "as a refusal of product-oriented materialism, a rejection of the signature terms of mastery, originality, and authorship" that was at stake in abstract painting at the time linking the individual artist directly to his/her finished work/product.[26] [27]. I have discussed the complicated relationship between authorship, originality and intellectual property that form the constituent elements of the modernist tradition in the text →["Confronting Authorship - Constructing practices. How copyright destroys collective practice"] outlining the blockages this triumvirate create for collective intersectional knowledge practices.

Secondly, by replacing the commodity- and object-oriented character with instructions and scores, "with the "noise" of simultaneous and collective activity", the profoundly critical agency of Happenings", according to Drucker, "relied upon the techniques of an orchestrated collaboration to stage a self-conscious condition for relations among individuals to be experienced as such." Staging the posters of the book pages materially in the academy building that houses many different actors that meet in different roles and on different terms, could be seen as cues for a situated reading practice that potentially turns into social and collective readings which I discuss in more detail in the text →[Outside the page - making social realities with books].

The Piracy Project

This section, The Piracy Project will change. It has not been revised yet.

⟶  Project: The Piracy ProjectThe Piracy Project (TPP), a collaboration with artist Andrea Francke, 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, to manually reproduce books by making physical copies, TPP challenges the perception of a printed book as a finite resource and a stable and authoritative object. Through the unauthorised interventions and alterations of the books' textual and visual content, TPP transgresses the concept of authorship as it is presented by the coercive relationship between originality, intellectual property and copyright, and therefore deals with the complexities of authorisation on many different levels, as I will explain in the following.

These conceptualisations and questions were not clear-cut at the beginning of TPP. Its starting point was twofold. Firstly the announcement of the closure of the library at Byam Shaw School of Art in London created a political situation that triggered the urge to imagine creative ways to confront it. Secondly, artist Andrea Francke's discovery of specific cases of book piracy in Peru, where pirates had arguably started to alter and amend un-authorised and anonymously the plot of some fiction books seemed puzzling and exciting[28] for this specific political context we found us in. [29]

Students and staff joint efforts and, supported by its acting principal, turned the art college library to-be-closed into a self-organised and self-governed resource of knowledges that remained public – and thus intellectually and socially generative. This move 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 proposing that members of the community should volunteer at public institutions, such as local libraries, which were deemed to be closed due to government cuts. Some colleagues were sceptical suggesting that rather turning the library into "a project", more time and energy should be invested into campaigning to keep the library running as an institutionally funded resource and such revoking the management's decision. What was productive, after all, was the shift from an institutionally run library to one organised by students and staff that opened up many imaginaries and possibilities to experiment and rethink what a library could be. By taking collective ownership over the physical space and its books the library opened up from being an institutional controlled and authorised resource – to an assemblage of knowledges that appeared in different forms and formats, potentially obscure, self-published or going beyond the printed book altogether. [30]

⟶  Piracy Project Reading Rooms The Piracy Project's richness, energy and complexity unfolded through a range of collaborations and debates: the close thinking and acting together between AND Publishing and Andrea Franke, with the roughly 150 contributors who produced and submitted pirate copies and with the many institutions that hosted The Piracy Project after the Byam Shaw Library was eventually closed down in 2012. [31] ⟶  Piracy Project Discursive Events By then the project had grown extensively and attracted much attention and got consequently invited for residencies, reading rooms, workshops, lectures, panel discussions and debates by a range of national and international cultural institutions. This move from a site of collective activism (the situation at Byam Shaw School of Art) to cultural institutions and art spaces was not without implications on the project that are discussed in the presentation "We don't want this to become an exhibit" given at the international seminar "Archives of the Commons" at Reina Sofia in Madrid organised by Red Conceptualismos del Sur. ⟶  See text: We don't want this to become an exhibit

Queering the authority of the printed book

The Piracy Project shares concerns with practices of radical shadow libraries such as Monoskop,, Memory of the World that are setting up distribution platforms in order to fight enclosures by commercial monopolies, which I map in more detail in section two: Survey of the field. ⟶  see section 2: Survey of the field: Radical Librarianship: Shadow Libraries However, while current practices of shadow librarianship work towards the open and free circulation of books to circumvent enclosures, TPP does not primarily function as a dissemination platform to circulate pirated books. It gathers a collection of mainly one-off physical copies, that "explore the spectrum of copying, re-editing, translating, paraphrasing, imitating, re-organising, manipulating of already existing works", as the call states. ⟶  See Art Agenda anouncement

As such TPP introduces a further aspect to current shadow librarianship by shifting the focus from issues of circulation to questions of authorship and authorisation. By instigating potential contributors to make printed copies of already existing books, TPP asks to rethink, test and reflect on the relationship between the authorised source and the modified unauthorised pirate copy. It explores the strategies, and implications of such "unauthorised collaborations" that I describe in detail in the book chapter "Confronting Authorship - Constructing Practices".⟶  See book chapter: Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices – How copyright destroys collective practice.

These manipulations could be described as queering the authority of the printed book, an authority that existed since the 19th century when steam-powered rotary presses replaced hand-operated printing presses. Since printing on an industrial scale allowed for print-runs of many thousand copies we just tend to assume that the very copy of a book we are reading is identical to other copies of the same title circulating on the market. However, we can observe some moments in recent printing history that rupture such reliance on these established processes of authorisation. 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.[32] 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. 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.’[33]

Through photocopying, many artists and activists got access to cheap and instant reproduction technologies that shaped a range of counter-culture movements in the 80s and 90s in North America exactly because it was a cheap, ephemeral and immediate means of printed communication.[34] Of course, the handmade quality of feminist zines, the visibility of scissors and glue, does not pretend to have gone through the chain of authorisations a mass-produced printed hardcover or paperback book follows through. The authority of the mass-produced book lays in its production value that is reflected in involving a proofreader, a designer, a publisher, a printer, as well as entering the book trade, such as commercial distribution network, and bookshops. These distinctions, interestingly, have become obsolete since digital printing has evolved providing presses that allow for small print runs, down to one copy, in a material quality that is almost not distinguishable from mass-produced litho printed books. ⟶  See text: The Impermanent Book The print-on-demand model, for example, widely introduced to the book market in the early 2000s allowed for constant re-printing and re-editing of existing files. This new technology of versioning has been used as a conceptual tool by artists. For example, 'An Incomplete Reader for the Ongoing Project, "One day, everything will be free"' ... is perhaps better understood as approximating software rather than a book or an exhibition catalog' writes the editor Joseph Redwood Martinez on the back cover of a publication project that uses print-on-demand versioning as a conceptual tool. 'Just as with software releases-where version 0.0.1 is followed indefinitely with sporadic updates, bug-fixes, and complete revisions-the publication is, and will always be, necessarily incomplete and unfinished.' [35] Such disruption of the trust in the authority of the printed book has a range of effects and implications, that are discussed in more detail in the co-authored text "The Impermanent Book". Here the strategy of versioning is openly articulated as a conceptual tool. The reader is informed right away, that there is no authoritative copy of the publication, that it is a temporary stabilisation in an ongoing progressive process.

In contrast to such temporary stabilisations, the pirate books refer to one specific source which serves as a basis for the pirate copy. For example, artist and writer Neil Chapman’s handmade facsimile of Gilles Deleuze’s Proust and Signs96 explores the materiality of print and related questions about the institutional policies of authorisation. Chapman produced a handmade facsimile of his personal paperback copy of Deleuze’s work, that included some binding mistakes in which a few pages were bound upside down, by scanning and printing the book on his home inkjet printer. The book is close to the original format, cover and weight. However, it has a crafty feel to it: the ink soaks into the paper creating a blurry text image that is very different from a mass-produced offset printed text. It has been assembled in DIY style and speaks the language of amateurism and makeshift. The transformation is subtle, and it is this subtlety that makes the book subversive in an institutional library context. How do students deal with their expectations that they will access authoritative and validated knowledge on library shelves and instead encounter a book that was printed and assembled by hand?[36] Such publications circumvent the chain of institutional validation: from the author to the publisher, the book trade, and lastly the librarian purchasing and cataloguing the book according to the standard bibliographic practices. A similar challenge to the stability of the printed book and the related hierarchy of knowledge occurred when students at Byam Shaw sought a copy of Jacques Ranciere’s Ignorant Schoolmaster and found three copied and modified versions. In accordance with, or as a response to, Ranciere’s pedagogical proposal, one copy featured deleted passages that left blank spaces for the reader to fill and to construct their own meaning in lieu of Ranciere’s text.[37]

Unsolicited Collaborations: queering the authorial voice

Besides these material aspects, some contributions to TPP modify the content of their source and undermine therefore the assumed authority of the authorial voice. Authorship is no doubt a method to develop one’s voice, to communicate and to interact with others, to be responsible and accountable but it is also a legal, economic and institutional construct, and it is this function of authorship as a framing and measuring device that is critiqued by the Piracy Project's practice.

See for example the case of the pirated version of "No se lo diga a nadie" (Don't tell anyone), a copy that Andrea Francke had found while browsing 'Amazonas', one of Peru's biggest pirate book markets in Lima. Here the pirate secretly and anonymously added two extra chapters to a famous autobiographical novel by Peruvian journalist and TV presenter Jaime Baily. Somebody had borrowed the official author’s voice and sneaked in anonymously two fictionalised extra chapters about the author’s life.

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.’ [38] 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 only be touched upon here in this context. ⟶  see edited book: Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating What seems needed more are attempts to overcome the binary of legal and illegal and re-introduce the complexity of relationality. Could such re-editing practices be understood as expanded reference practice, such as quotation, citation or 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.[39]

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

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 [40], 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.[41]

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.’ [42]

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.[43] ‘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]. [44] This ‘contending with’, ’making an attempt’ and ‘teasing’ is at the core of The Piracy Project’s practice."

[more to come]

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 civil disobedience, these acts ask for careful discussion and framing, as any framing process is also a powerful meaning-making tool.

For the entries of Piracy Project searchable online catalogue and the respective printed index cards that had been written in collaboration with John Moseley we solved this question by listing the pirate as the author of the (pirate) book, followed by the source in order to describe the relationship between the two. As such these catalogue cards describe the pirate book's genesis, the material properties of the pirate copy, what strategy has been used and how it got into the collection. All in all these cards function as an entry point and framing device for the book. During The Piracy Project Reading Room at the New York Art Book Fair in 2011, a librarian from the art school Pratt Institute in New York 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 the author? How can you pay justice to the complexity of the "more than one authorships” in this work in our current systems of accreditation? [45] ⟶  searchable online catalogue

I discussed in [section xx classification] that standard modes of classification use a controlled vocabulary (Dewey, Library of Congress) that claims to be universal and neutral so that everything can find its place within its "universal" structure. As I have demonstrated in the same section, the organisation and framing of knowledge is not neutral and informs to a large degree, whether the material is been found and how it is being read. In order to experiment with these issues, we conducted two experiments. The first experiment was a workshop during the two-month Piracy Project Reading Room at Grand Union in Birmingham. Here an audience, together with archivist Karen Di Franco, embarked on an experiment to produce descriptive terms to categorise items in the collection. 'It is easy to see how terms will deviate from a thesaurus of standards,' di Franco writes in an essay since '[t]erms are needed to describe the transit, transmission and the conditions of the original as well as acknowledging the changes made to produce the pirate. These words should be a conductive medium – transmitting the modes and methods of production across space and time. [...] It is time to consider the catalogue as equally peripatetic' she claims and compares this process of finding descriptors for the books in the Piracy Project with collections such as those at the Warburg Institute 'that have been transitory, are enlivened or enriched by their re-ordering and follow a structure that is inherent to their construct, with catalogues and indexes that echo the interests of the persons that inhabit the library space' she highlights the necessity of an alternative thesaurus specifically made from and for these collections. [46]

The second experiment took place at Kunstverein Munich where the Piracy Project created a Reading Room and a two weeks workshop researching, visiting, collaborating with independent publishers, bookshops, archives located in Munich that operate off the mainstream and developed alternative ways of distribution.[47] Consequently, the displayed books in the Piracy Collection were organised pursuant to their various modes of (pirate) distribution and grouped accordingly in the gallery space. The subject headings read:

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, 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 eye-opening because they confirm the authority of naming and framing. Depending on the organising criteria, the collection could 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 and each time the collection appears in a new light, holding different questions and answers depending on what aspect we focus on. Both examples, the experiments with finding descriptive terms, as well as shelfmarks, highlight the fact that the catalogue itself operates as a meaning-making architecture.

Why we decided to end the project

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.

Boxing and Unboxing – against immunisation

the Society for Cutting Up Boxes.
S. Society: a group of people
C. Cutting: to slice away notions and boundaries
U. Up: to be positive
B. Boxes: the thing in which restricts our thoughts and actions based on the square, cardboard and rigid structure that groups and sub-groups use to suffocate and close in persons' identities and/or non-identities
SCUB is all for...
IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE: SCUB makes people walk down the street with ease and inspiration. In being liberated by SCUB, colors will look brighter, music will sound clearer and your dancing will be greater. More beer on the streets. "Children" will be able to frolick amongst their peers. When asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" they respond, "Me."
FASHION: Boring fashion will be shutdown and re-opened with whatever YOU want.
COMMUNICATION: What happens when two boxes try to talk? Nothing, right? Time to cut up the boxes, NOW.
REVOLUTION: skill building with knives, scissors, razors, box-cutters, electric knives, saws of all sizes, teeth, long sharp nails, keys, shards of glass, cheese cutters and so on...
DESTRUCTION: why put up with identities when you can destroy them? Just to let you know, SCUB does not support the destruction of "animals" and their wood tree environments. Destroy.
Rhani Lee Remedes, 'Society for cutting up boxes', The SCUB Manifesto, 2002

This fifth project forming part of my PhD submission approaches the inquiry from a different site, that of a boxing gym, a site of sweat, liveliness, bodily exhaustion, exhilaration, and smell. Situated outside the immediate material and procedural questions of publishing protocols, Boxing and Unboxing tests strategies in way boxes and related binaries could be "cut up" through transgressive bodily dialogue. "Boxing and Unboxing" unfolded during AND's research residency at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm in 2018 and brings two distinct activities, "Boxing" and "Unboxing", into oscillation. Unboxing, besides thousands of videos depicting proud receivers of just delivered parcels that get unboxed in front of bad cameras and subsequently uploaded on social media, it is commonly understood as an act of removing something from its neatly fitting packaging. It could be a container such as a box or a bag, or, as artist Rhani Lee Remedes suggests in her SCUB manifesto, the container could also be the thing that "restricts our thoughts and actions based on the square, cardboard and rigid structure that groups and sub-groups use to suffocate and close in persons' identities and/or non-identities."

The second activity, 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[8]

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[9]. 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 reach independence from the biased 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 was recurring attacks on women during night hours on the streets surrounding Haringey’s Warehouse District. [10] 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 AND Publishing was invited for a residency at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm, the question was, 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 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?” [48]

Boxing Club – Sparring

The idea of organising a boxing club emerged out of curiosity as to how boxing, when defined as physical play and not as 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 performance scholar and martial art practitioner 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. [49]

It's interesting to connect O'Shea's 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] examining the relationship between 'verb' (practice) and 'noun' (outcome), and the blockages produced by the regime of authorship of individually authored outcomes. → [see also the "propositive input: Collective Situated Authorship" at Authors of the Future, Constant Brussels, 2019]. Initially, I was not able to articulate the actual affinities, overlaps and connections to my overall PhD inquiry. However, on reflection, it becomes 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 to win is a contradiction.

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'. [50]

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 the punches or evade them. 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.

Sparring - rules, trust, enjoyment

From the beginning, we had to trust each other that everyone will be sticking 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.' [51] >> more here: Rules for inclusive meetings?

Sparring - learning as "the beginning of something"

It seems paradoxical, but in my experience, the boxing classes, the playful and combative contact between each other yielded an extraordinary sense of trust and support without knowing each other. Because participants were more or less beginners it was a common journey to all of us without much parade of already acquired expertise. The feedback of participants reflected of the importance of being invited into a safe space to learn something new.[52] Ar Parmacek, an intern at Marabouparken at the time, reflects on this aspect in more detail:

"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. At 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 last? 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."[48]

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.

Sparring – transgressing identity categories

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 levelled 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"[11] Instead, what matters in this moment is your vulnerability and your ability to interact with your partner. While this account describes the experiences made in our informal self-organised boxing classes, the systems of professional boxing and their marketisation are loaded with identity politics carrying out fights between religions, values and races. [53]

"Leaving everything behind" meant for us, the artist organisers, that we did not take on the role and 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 explained - we were wary of it becoming an "art piece" with all its complicated framing and conceptual load.

Boxing – against immunisation and the figure of the "proper"

As I described above, the Boxing and Unboxing experiment conceived boxing not as as a concept of masculinity and violence or the survival of the fittest, but as a moment of intense negotiation of border space, contagion, and border linking. In the following, I will reflect in which way this practice-based enquiry might serve as a technique to unlearn the building blocks of possessive individualism and the figure of the “proper”. Possessive individualism is a critique of modern liberal-democratic theory formulated by Canadian political theorist M.B. MacPherson in his book "The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke" published by Oxford University Press in 1962. Revisiting political theories of the seventeenth century (Hobbes and Locke) MacPherson suggests "that the difficulties of modern liberal-democratic theory lie deeper than had been thought, that the original seventeenth-century individualism contained the central difficulty, which lay in its possessive quality. Its possessive quality is found in its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them. The individual was seen neither as a moral whole, nor as a part of a larger social whole, but as an owner of himself."[54] But exactly because the concept of the proper arguably is in crisis in our contemporary moment it is paradoxically stronger and stronger enforced by individuals, communities and the state as political theorists Bird and Greg claim. They observe that "in our hyper-globalized world the epistemologies, institutions, and practices underwriting it have reached a state of profound crisis." Because "everything is inevitably brought into proximity and correlation, be it wars, natural disasters, climatic upheaval, or political and economic turmoil.[...] There is, accordingly, nothing that can be effectively isolated, insulated, instituted, even immunized, as something apart, something that might be considered proper only to itself." They herewith identify a crisis of the proper on which the Western Modern project is being built. As a consequence, they state that today "we are witnessing ever more drastic assertions of the essentiality of propriety (in the form of religious or socially conservative resurgence), property (in the form of highly concentrated but unstable regimes of capitalist accumulation), and/or authenticity (in the form of competing claims of idiomatic identity or questions of autonomous decision-making powers).[55]

Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito has provided challenging concepts on the figure of the "proper" and the related processes of immunisation in his writings about communitas. [list them in refs] I will discuss Esposito's inquiry of communitas and immunitas later on in the analysis section. Here, I will very summarily explain his critique of the "proper subject" in order to think through in which way Esposito's category of immunisation –– that as he claims "is so important that it can be taken as explicative key of the entire modern paradigm" –– can be used as a hook to reflect on the transgressive, exhilarating and troubling experience of the boxing experiments.

"Modern individuals truly become that, the perfect individual, the “absolute” individual, bordered in such a way that they are isolated and protected, but only if they are freed in advance from the debt that binds them one to the other; if they are released from, exonerated, or relieved of that contact, which threatens their identity, exposing them to possible conflict with their neighbor, exposing them to the contagion of the relation with others." [ ref] This "perfect individual", the figure of the "proper", is defined by property, that what belongs to me: my identity, my ethnicity, my land. Each of these spheres turns into "a form of property that must be immunised, often in contradictory ways, from external appropriation" by producing boundaries and exclusionary mechanisms. [55]

In a similar vein, Esposito relates the category of the proper in order to critique notions of the commons and community as exercised by communitarians and the recently very active revival of the commons. He observes the just described processes of immunisation against alterity in models of community whose membership is staked exclusively on each owner’s claim over their commonality. "What each has in common is “proper” only to those who belong to community." (“Community, Immunity, Biopolitics”). In contrast to this widespread understanding of community, Esposito argues, community is “what is not one’s own, or what is unable to be appropriated by someone” (49). Community can only be experienced as a “loss, removal, or expropriation” because it voids one’s identity rather than fulfils it. This is a very abbreviated pitch of Esposito's conception of a common, that is not characterised "by what is proper, but by what is improper, or even more drastically, by the other, by a voiding […] of property into its negative; by removing what is properly one’s own that inverts and decenters the proprietary subject, forcing [her/] him to take leave of himself, to alter himself […] The community isn’t a mode of being, much less a “making” of the individual subject. It is not the subject’s expansion or multiplication but its exposure to what interrupts the closing and turns it inside out: a dizziness, a syncope, a spasm in the continuity of the subject." [56]

While Esposito's enquiry into community sounds rather theoretical in connection to a bunch of self-defining women throwing first boxing punches at each other, it is helpful to understand and articulate boxing's transgressive nature: to expose oneself to hit and being hit. It can be described as a moment of “border-swerving, border-linking and border-spacing” between the I and non-I, that Bracha L. Ettinger elaborates from a psycho-analytical perspective. [57] The boxing renders permeable the borderlines of our "proper" subjects. As a nonverbal bodily dialogue, it transgresses the very boundaries that we elsewhere seek to protect. During sparring I deliberately forgo this established immunity – my contours become vulnerable through the mutuality of the touch: My fist touches and is being touched at the same time.

Notes: 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. Cultural anthropologist and media studies scholar Christopher Kelty for example asks what would happen "if we valued not solely the content of utterances that are freely and openly circulated, but also the ways they are uttered" and "who is encouraged to say them and who is encouraged to remain silent?" in “Recursive Publics and Open Access” in Guerrilla Open Access, edited by memory of the world, Coventry University: Post Office Press, Rope Press and Memory of the World, 2018. Download open access pamphlet: conferences/ROA2
  3. 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.
  4. "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" [1]11.April 2014
  5. Sara Ahmed, "Making Feminist points", [2], 13 September 2013
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wellmon, Chad and Piper, Andrew "Publication, Power, Patronage: On Inequality and Academic Publishing" in Critical Inquiry, 21 July 2017,[accessed 30 July 2017].
  9. 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.
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. The programme is a collaboration with École de Récherche Graphique (erg) in Brussels and Institut Superieure des Beaux Arts (ISBA) in Besancon to collectively 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 programme seeks to foster inclusive pedagogies, and question 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..
  13. , For example, Transmediale 2019 theme "Affective Infrastructures", "New Institutionalism", "Organisational Aesthetics” (Olga Gorianova, 2018). See also How Institutions Think, edited by Paul O'Neill, Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2017. The book builds on Mary Douglas' book and explores 'how institutions inform art, curatorial, educational, and research practices as much as they shape the world around us'.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 an acknowledging and supportive gesture – a monstrous squash vegetable home-grown in her own garden to cook for the communal dinner.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Andrea Francke, Ross Jardine in "Bureaucracy’s Labour: The Administrator as Subject in 'Management', Parse issue 5
  17. Dean Spade, "Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law", 2nd edition. Durham: Duke University Press Books. 2015.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 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.
  19. "MFK Manual", Johanna Gustavsson, Lisa Nyberg, Malmö Free University for Women, 2011
  20. Jo Freeman, „The Tyranny of Structurelessness, Why organisations need some structure to ensure they are democratic", 1972,
  21. “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
  22. "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
  23. Christopher Kelty, “Recursive Publics and Open Access” in Guerrilla Open Access, edited by Memory of the World, Coventry: Post Office Press, Rope Press and Memory of the World, 2018. Download open access pamphlet: conferences/ROA2
  24. Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, "The Undercommons, Fugitive Planning and Black Study", Wivenhoe / New York / Port Watson: Minor Compositions, 2013
  25. “I loved the way you / the posters insisted upon me / the recipient to meet / contemplate its content before and in particular after the event. For one because it was about texts "donated" or re-distributed by others, and then donated to me by you. But also because by precisely hanging them in a room where I give myself a couple of minutes break from the everyday haze you are creating the possibility not only for a first reading but then for a re-re-rediscovery / understanding. This placement can apparently turn into a transformative current in itself because the content of the texts precisely interrupts the thoughts of and thereby intertextualises the everyday”. Kerstin Bergendahl, Senior Lecturer, Valand Academy, email to the organisers of Let’s Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?, quoted in Andreas Engman, Eva Weinmayr, Mary Coble, Rose Borthwick "Revisiting Let’s Mobilize, in ”Decolonialism after the educational turn”.
  26. But there is an important transition between The Street of 1960 and The Store of a year later. In the former, which served as set for the Snapshots from the City Happening at Judson Gallery in 1960, the objects serve as props, in a found-object assemblage, and their relation to the scene is metonymic; they help to integrate the action and the fantasy through the staged events. In The Store, a year later, the objects are displayed, reified, and circulated in terms of commodification and exchange value without any equivocation whatsoever.
  27. Joanna Drucker, "Collaboration without Object(s) in the Early Happenings", Art Journal, Winter 1993, pp. 51-58
  28. In his essay "Life amongst the pirates" Daniel Alarcón reports from his visits to Peru's notorious pirate book markets in Lima that according to the author can sell three times as many copies of a book as the authorized publishers can. 'Oscar Colchado Lucio, one of a handful of Peruvian writers who actually make their living from book sales, told me of the time he’d gone to the town of Huancayo to do a reading at a very poor school. He signed some 300 books without coming across a single original. The authorized version simply wasn’t available – there were no bookstores in Huancayo.' In some cases, Alarcón explains, 'pirates have rescued work by writers the formal industry has forgotten. For example the story of Luis Hernández, 'a little- known avant-garde poet with a cult following among university students. Photocopied versions of his out-of-print collections have been passed around for years, but no publisher had bothered to reissue his work – until a vendor from downtown Lima recognized the need, partnered with a press and came out with his own, unauthorized edition.' As Alarcón mentions, some texts get abbreviated, a few chapters arbitrarily taken out to save printing costs - without saying. The possibility of such unacknowledged modifications really triggered our imagination. But Alarcón also describes an interesting tension: On one level there is a somehow romantic idea of 'a poor, developing country with a robust informal publishing industry, the pirate as cultural entrepreneur, a Robin Hood figure, stealing from elitist multinational publishers and taking books to the people. The myth is seductive and repeated often: book piracy in Peru, the story goes, responds to a hunger for knowledge in a country that throughout its history has been violently divided between a literate upper class and the poor, unlettered masses.' And on the other level the pirates' ruthless capitalist operations. Alarcón recounts how the state infiltrated the pirate book markets in order to control what is being printed. As a cultural artefact, the book has undeniable power that was used by the Fujimori government to fight its critics - most prominently novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who had run for president but lost by a slight margin. After the Fujimori administration dissolved the congress and announced to rewrite the constitution in 1992, Llosa declared him a dictator in his weekly column in El Pais - a characterisation that instigated Fujimori to silence Vargas Llosa. The government invested in large scale into pirate presses and swamped the markets with state friendly, uncritical literature - giving Vargas Llosa's publishers a hard time to survive. As Alarcón states 'over the next few years, book piracy became a project of state'. Daniel AlarGranta 109: Work, 14th January 2010 [3]
  29. As a historical note it is interesting that 40 years earlier, not far from the Byam Shaw School of Art site in North London, students and staff of Hornsey College of Arts occupied their school in spring 1968 demanding a radical rethinking and reorganisation of art education. During this six-day sit-in students and associated staff took control over the entire building - including its kitchen and switch-board - and produced a range of demands and manifestos that have been described as the starting point for an entire student protest movement across the UK. On 28 May 1968, the Student Action Committee (S.A.C.) called for an all-night meeting over the freezing of the Union funds by the school's Bursar. Unlike earlier protests such as against the planned merger with Middlesex University that petered eventually out, this particular call to action resulted in a six-day sit-in that had been forcibly ended by police intervention. A multiplicity of papers, declarations, proposals and requests that were circulated through independent channels and the press originated from these 24hrs meetings ranging from concrete changes how to run the courses to the demand of representation in boards and selection committees to the conceptualisations of new learning outcomes. It's profound and fundamental rethinking of what art education should be is highlighted in one of the published manifestos:
    1. A person who designs, should be a person who is capable of having meaningful relationships; a person with imagination; a person with insight into and an understanding of the world around him and an ability to communicate.
    2. This individual should have these qualities first, and be a designer (or anything else) second.
    3. The fact that he may direct himself and his capabilities within a particular limited context (i.e. design) should be purely incidental.
    4. However, if this "designer" does not have these qualities, he will not be able to relate what he produces to his social environment, and hence to himself.

    in: "The Hornsey Affair", by students and staff of Hornsey College of Art, London: Penguin Education Special, 1969
  30. The library space was used for a range of activities that go beyond printed books, such as for an artist residency, for yoga classes in between the bookshelves, as an assembly room, a chill-out space, for book launches, self-organised lectures and workshops. Students and staff signed up to work inside the library to avoid that the books walk away and managed a simple book lending scheme.
  31. The Showroom, a publicly funded art space in London offered to host TPP right after the books had to leave the art school library space. Funded by an Arts Council grant TPP organised a series of workshops and debates at the Showroom in spring 2013, next to an accessible Piracy Project Reading Room during Showroom opening hours.[4].
  32. 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 has 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
  33. 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.
  34. Think of Riot Grrrl, in Kate Eichorn's words "a movement defined by an explosive repertoire of gestures, styles, performances, rallying cries, and anonymous confessions reproduced on copy machines. Kate Eichhorn, "Archival turn in Feminism", Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2013, p.9
  35. "An Incomplete Reader for the Ongoing Project, “One day, everything will be free… v 0.1.8"" is edited by Joseph Redwood-Martinez, Istanbul: SALT Research & AND Public London, 2012. The early releases include interviews with Regine Basha, Celine Condorelli, Katya Sander, and Carey Young, as well as texts by Michel Bauwens, İsmail Ertürk, David Graeber, Lawrence Liang, Matteo Pasquinelli, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Dieter Roelstraete, Joshua Simon and Slavoj Žižek—but this is always already subject to change. The update to version 0.1.7 of the reader includes the addition of interviews with artists Carey Young and Annika Eriksson, texts by Alexandru Balasescu, Federica Bueti and Eva Weinmayr, and an artist project by Burak Delier.Download book
  36. Of course unconventional publications can and are being collected, but these are often more arty objects, flimsy or oversized, undersized etc. and frequently end up in the special collections, framed and categorised ‘as different’ from the main stack of the collections.
  37. See Piracy Project catalogue: Camille Bondon, Jacques Rancière: le mâitre ignorant, Rancière’s pedagogical proposal suggests that ‘the most important quality of a schoolmaster is the virtue of ignorance’. (Rancière, 2010, p. 1). In his book The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation Jacques Rancière uses the historic case of the French teacher Joseph Jacotot, who was exiled in Belgium and taught French classes to Flemish students whose language he did not know and vice versa. Reportedly he gave his students a French text to read alongside its translation and, without mediation or explanation, let the students figure out the relationship between the two texts themselves. By intentionally using his ignorance as a teaching method, Rancière claims, Jacotot removed himself as the centre of the classroom, as the one who knows. This teaching method arguably destabilises the hierarchical relationship of knowledge (between student and teacher) and therefore ‘establishes equality as the centre of the educational process’. Annette Krauss, ‘Sites for Unlearning: On the Material, Artistic and Political Dimensions of Processes of Unlearning’, PhD, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, 2017, p. 113. Jacques Rancière, Education, Truth and Emancipation (London: Continuum, 2010). Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation (Stanford: University Press California, 1987).
  38. , 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.
  39. 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]
  40. 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).
  41. 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
  42. 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.
  43. Daniel Heller-Roazen, The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations, (New York: Zone Books, 2009) p.35.
  44. ‘Etymology of Pirate’, in English Words of (Unexpected) Greek Origin , 2 March 2012, <> [accessed 14 February 2018].
  45. When The Piracy Project was invited to create a reading room at the New York Art Book Fair in 2012, a librarian from the Pratt Institute dropped by every single day, because she was so fixed on the questions, the pirate books and their complex strategies of queering the category of authorship posed to standardised bibliographic practices. Based on this question we organised a cataloguing workshop ‘Putting the Piracy Collection on the shelf’ at Grand Union in Birmingham, where we developed a new cataloguing vocabulary for cases in the collection. See
  46. Di Franco refers to Abi Warburg’s (1866–1929) unfinished 'Mnemosyne Project' and Marion Mitchell Stancioff (1903–1994) 'Lost Language' index card project, claiming that the 'Warburg Institute looks not to follow standards but to set them, testing the fixed nature of standardisation with material that moves across art historical boundaries.'(p.80) See Karen Di Franco, 'The Library Medium' published in "Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating", ed. by Andrea Francke & Eva Weinmayr, London: AND Publishing, pp 77-90, 2014. Download pdf
  47. See publication documenting this local archive research here.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Ar Parmacek, 'Boxing and Unboxing Calendar', London: AND Publishing, Stockholm: Marabouparken Konsthall, 2018, p. 71
  49. Janet o'Shea 'Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals about Martial Arts Training', Oxford University Press, 2018 
  50. Janet o'Shea refers in this TED talk at UCLA California to sparring as a technique to learn to compete and collaborate at the same time. [6]
  51. Janet O'Shea "Beyond Winning", TedXUCLA, organized by UCLA Extension Visual Arts and UCLA Residential Life, 20xx. [7]
  52. It might be worth to emphasise the importance of creating accessible and safe spaces for demale boxing since boxing appears still to be a much a male-dominated sport. Female boxing was first included in the London Summer Olympics in 2012.
  53. One example would be Cashius Clay turned Muhammed Ali vocally turning his fights into symbolic battles between races as well as Islamism and Western values. Another example relates to systems of authorisation in professional championship boxing in the UK: Winston Churchill in his role as UK 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.
  54. M.B. Mac Pherson, "The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke", Oxford University Press, 1962, p.3.
  55. 55.0 55.1 Greg Bird, Jonathan Short, "Community, Immunity, and the Proper - an introduction to the political theory of Roberto Esposito", in Angelaki, Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, volume 18, number 3 September 2013, London: Routledge, p.7.
  56. Roberto Esposito, "Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community", translated by Timothy C. Campbell, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010, p. 7.
  57. I am borrowing these three terms from artist, psychoanalyst, and feminist theorist, Bracha L. Ettinger who defines (in contrast to Lacan and Levinas) the matrixial space of the feminine uterus as “not a symbol for an invisible, unintelligible, originally, passive receptacle onto which traces are engraved by the originally and primary processes, rather, it is a concept for a transforming  border space of encounter of the co-emerging I and the neither fused nor rejected unrecognised non-I. She takes “the feminine/prenatal meeting as a model for relations and processes of change and exchange in which the non-I is unknown to the I (or rather unrecognised: known by a non-cognitive process), but not an intruder. Rather the non-I is a partner-in-difference of the I. [...] It can serve as a model for a sharable dimension of subjectivity in which elements that discern one another as non-I, without knowing each other, co-emerge and coinhabit a joint space, without fusion and without rejection." Bracha L. Ettinger, "The Matrixial Borderspace", 2006 Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, series "Theory Out Of Bounds" (Book 28), 2006, p.74.