Survey of the field

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This isn't done yet


This section provides a context for the contribution made by the research project as a whole. It does so by gathering a range of examples that are used to identify and delimit the general conditions of knowledge-practice with respect to the politics of publishing at the intersection of contemporary art, radical education and institutional analysis. The artistic examples and practices I will describe in the following operate post-representational, or in curator Nora Sternfeld's words they are "negotiating with reality".[1]

They are spread widely in terms of geography and history, and they are also drawn from a wide range of disciplinary frames. This wide field of sampling is informed by a commitment to work transversally and to not be bound by the protocols of one field alone – such as for example contemporary art or feminist organizational practices or radical education.

On closer inspection, the practices I discuss here, share two distinct features: They are discrete instances, where the dominant paradigms of publishing and the formation of knowledge have been in some way or another adjusted and they act as declared counter-political projects. In sampling these arguably disparate practices I did not start with explicit criteria, instead, through sampling, I arrived at explicit criteria – that in turn helps me to name and delimit the context into which I am making a contribution.

All the practices described in the following interfere in distinct ways with notions of authorship, editorial processes, design, production, and distribution, as well as with practices of classifying, archiving and reading. Overall this communality ties them together into a broader act of contesting power structures. These examples are discussed in a broadly chronological sequence, however, it is not suggested that there is any developmental narrative here as such. Rather, these different examples provide a genealogy of concerns that help to locate the specific contribution of the current inquiry.

Setting up alternative infrastructures: "extitutional"

Early conceptual artist books: Setting up infrastructures of production and distribution (the 60s and 70s)

While the beginning of artists and poets using the book format as an artistic medium can be traced back to Stephane Mallarme (1842 - 98), William Blake (1757–1827) [2], to Russiam Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism I am interested in the period of the 60s and 70s, when a movement of conceptual artists publishing emerged. that shifted the interest from the precious and artistically crafted "livre artiste" to more political questions of production, dissemination, and consumption of art more generally. The avoidance of the aura of preciousness and uniqueness by using mass production techniques such as commercial litho printing could be seen as a criticism of the paradigms of the art market being built on uniqueness. In contrast to traditional art objects, “a book’s text is infinitely replicable, the number of copies that can be printed is theoretically limitless.”[3]

In the United States, for example, artists' books have been described as a means to circumvent established institutions and perhaps to a certain degree an attempt to reform the art system by: “(1) the use of inexpensive printing and production methods allowed anyone to be a publisher, (2) alternative distribution networks were ‘aiding in the decentralization of the art system …’, (3) this form of art was portable and disposable and (4) these works were, or could be, ‘democratic objects’”.[4] [5]

Art theorist Lucy Lippard argues that the main reason the book has proved to be so attractive as an artistic medium has to do with the fact that artists’ books are ‘considered by many the easiest way out of the art world and into the heart of a broader audience’.[6] Lippard describes here the fundamental political potential of the artists' book as a conceptual and material means to question, intervene in and disturb existing practices and institutions.

Art-Rite Magazine #14, New York, winter 1976/77. Read the artists' responses to this call here.

The challenge was to set up production and distribution systems, that provided an alternative way to circulate the books without falling back to exclusionary market mechanisms of the art system. Investigating whether artists could set up independent systems of circulation the editors of Art-Rite magazine put out a call:

“Artists’ Books – We are investigating the possibilities of a publishing and distribution system for artists’ books. (This does not mean catalogs.) Do you have: a) already published books that we can distribute or sell on consignment? b) Completely planned, unpublished books with or without dummies? c) names of other artists who have either one? Let us know. Please send information to: PRINTED MATTER, 164 Mulberry St., NYC 10013.”[7]

Due to their perceived potential to subvert the (commercial, profit-driven) gallery system and to politicize artistic practice - artist books played an important part in the rise of independent art structures, claims Joan Lyon. She, for example, founded in 1971 the Visual Studies Workshop Press, at the Rochester based independent art school VSW, a press that published artists' books by students and staff likewise, as part of an educational process. [8] Artists started to set up their own distribution infrastructures by founding independent artists' book shops, (some of them still thriving today, such as Printed Matter, New York and Art Metropole, Toronto)[9], arguably in an attempt to counter the hegemonic art gallery market – to a certain extent. This disclaimer is necessary, as history has shown, that artists' books were always prone to be recaptured by the market and turned into a collectible. [10]

Descriptors and their discontents: artist book, artist's publishing [...]

⟶  See book chapter: Confronting authorship - constructing practices, How copyright destroys collective practice ⟶  See published interview with Jinglun Zhu: More Verb, Less Noun - Publishing as Collective Practice ⟶  See Analysis: How to demonumentalize monumental knowledge

Ulises Carrión, leaflet from "Other Books and So", Amsterdam, no date. In "Dear Reader. Don't Read", Museo Nacional Reina Sofia Madrid, 2016, page 194. Download book here.

Artists in this period have certainly helped to expand the limits of mainstream art as well and pushed the understanding of what a book can be or do, but there is a problem with the descriptor "artists' book". It reduces the multi-faceted social, critical and educational agencies of book production, circulation, and consumption to an object, that arguably comes inevitably to be subjected to notions of ownership and authorship, to monetary value and copyright.

Therefore, in this inquiry into the critical agency of publishing and knowledge practices, the term 'publishing' seems more useful. This shift in terminology puts the focus on the process rather on the finished object, a shift that will be explored from different perspectives throughout my inquiry. The interview with Jinglun Zhu "More Verb, Less Noun" for example discusses underground publishing and collectivity; the section "Analysis: How to demonumentalize monumental knowledge" examines this shift from an institutional, education and research setting; and the book chapter "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices - How copyright destroys collective practice" from a feminist legal perspective.

Evidently the traditional term "artist book" is still widely in use, evidenced by the biggest fair worldwide, "The New York Art Book Fair", founded in 2005 by Printed Matter, "London Art Book Fair" (Whitechapel Art Gallery, London), "Index Art Book Fair" in Mexico City (founded in 2014), MISS READ: Berlin Art Book Festival, Vancouver Art Book Fair, Tokyo Art Book Fair, etc. [11] Recent activities and scholarship, however, seem to adapt to this shift. A two-part event series at the artist-run publishing space X Marks the Bökship in London, set up by Eleanor Vonne Brown, was titled Publishing as Practice (2010 and 2014) followed by Annette Gilbert's (ed.) anthology "Publishing as Artistic Practice". These new descriptors take into account the processual practice aspect of publication. [12]

However while the term "artists’ publishing" shifts certainly the emphasis on the processual and its social and emancipatory agency it limits its applicability to makers or authors, who define themselves as artists. Richard Kostelanetz writes already in 1979: "One trouble with the current term artists’ books is that it defines a work of art by the initial profession (or education) of its author, rather than by qualities of the work itself. Since genuine critical categories are meant to define art of a particular kind, it is a false term. The art at hand is books no matter who did them; and it is differences among them, rather than in their authorship, that should comprise the stuff of critical discourse.' [3] Kostelanetz's emphasis on what books do, rather than who made them seems to be in line with Michel Foucault's critique of the author function that I will discuss and problematize from a feminist and decolonial perspective in the analysis section.

Counter-cultural alternative media - Radical Printshops (70s, 80s, UK)

⟶  see: See Red, Women's workshop, London Secondly, my inquiry into the contestations of publishing as an agent for change moves beyond the field of art and extends to the wider field of counter-cultural "alternative media". "Alternative media and social movement scholars have regularly mobilised the concept of counter-public spheres, defined by Nancy Fraser as “parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter discourses to formulate oppositional interpretations” (1992: 81). Fraser’s illustrative example was the feminist ‘counter-public’, “with its variegated array of journals, bookstores, publishing companies, film and video distribution networks, lecture series, research centers, academic programs, conferences, conventions, festivals, and local meeting places” (ibid p.123). This brings us to the question of alternative media, which very broadly had been defined by Couldry and Curran (2003:7)as “media production that challenges, at least implicitly, actual concentrations of media [symbolic] power.” Here, of course, criteria are needed to define counter-cultural practices. Drawing on (Atton 2002, Hackett & Carroll 2006, Bailey et al. 2008) Jess Baines summarizes these practices as "politically progressive and/or oppositional content; democratic organisational practices; independence from commercial and state influence; involving amateurs rather than professionals’; considering audiences as participants (potential if not actual) rather than consumers; adapting/mobilising available technologies" and notes that these criteria, generally speaking, "point in the same direction, towards a democratisation of media in terms of what is produced (different perspectives), who produces it (different bodies) and how it is produced (different practices)."

Baines' in-depth study on radical printshops in the UK provides a very useful framework and point of reference for the practice of See Red women's silkscreen collective who operated 1974 - 1990 in London. For Baines, the instigative moment of the radical printshops in London was "to extend the communicative capacities of politically, economically and socially ‘marginal’ groups and movements disputing various forms and practices of ‘dominant power’".[13]

“In the early days, the posters were mainly produced about our own personal experiences as women, about the oppression of housework, childcare and the negative image of women [in media and advertising]. An idea for a poster would be discussed in the group, a member would work on a design, bring it back for comment, someone else might make changes and so on until the collective was satisfied with the end result; no one individually took the credit. This was a concept many in the art world found hard to accept: ‘who holds the pencil? Someone must hold the pencil!’” [14] This account of collective creative practice that defeats individual authorship, and attitudes of ownership is significant for the discussion of the blockages of regimes of individual authorship in the analysis section.⟶  See Analysis: How to demonumentalize monumental knowledge

Secondly, the print shop was a site of sociality. Suzy Mackie and Pru Stevenson, founding members of the See Red Women’s Workshop stressed in a public talk (2013) how important it was to gather in person and generate ideas about how to visualize a particular issue that was important to them. [15] It was the activity of articulating experiences and collective brainstorming that politicized their practice, and it was the exchange of ideas that led to sharp slogans and imagery for the posters. [more..] As Baines's study shows the printshops were much more than "collaborations". The interviews she conducted with members of the printshops show that this practice "is about change, personal and social, not just as something cognitive, but also via physical, embodied practice." [Baines page 118].

The interviews she conducted with members of the printshops produce evidence of a "pre-existing shared radical habitus of many printshop members" and "the belief and engagement in collective and participatory democratic practice" [...] a practice that "is about change, personal and social, not just as something cognitive, but also via physical, embodied practice." [16]

The implicit collectivity was also seen as a form of resistance, as one interviewee said: “It was part of the politics that you sought an alternative route to the mainstream because it rejected you for race, gender, sexuality, anything so it was ok we’ll do it ourselves and we’ll do it in a different way that is nonhierarchical.” (Intv. Pollard 16/5/11).[16]

Baines relates the practice of the printshops, as a site for alternative media more generally to the model of the rhizome, a metaphor she borrows from Deleuze and Guattari’s (1988) critique of ‘arboreal’ thought, that is the tree as a model for knowledge. "Arboreal thought is hierarchical, centralised and linear (with roots, a trunk, and branches that subdivide in importance), whereas the rhizome is anarchic, made of points without a centre, but 'always in the middle, between things… the tree is filiation… the rhizome is alliance'" (Deleuze & Guattari 1988: 26). Since “any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other” (ibid. p. 7) the rhizome suggests heterogeneity and multiplicity, process and flows rather than structure and fixity. Therefore the figure of the rhizome, according to Bailey et al, relates to alternative media's potential to connect diverse struggles. (2008: 27) As a further characteristic of the rhizome, they propose "elusiveness and contingency" as a "defining element" of alternative media. These properties, as Baines points out, indicate the fluidity, creativity and usually sought-after independence of alternative media from state and market influence, but also its vulnerability."

Alliances: Elusive, Contingent, Precarious: Intersectional Feminist Publishing Practice (my network in London)

this will change

Rabbits Road printing press, London, ongoing

⟶  see: OOMK, London

The collaborative publishing practice OOMK (One Of My Kind), a London based collaborative publishing practice, publishes bi-annually a zine, runs Rabbits Road Press, a Risograph printing press open to the public, and an occasional cafe. What distinguishes such practices from traditional publishers is that they "make, publish and distribute books and printed works which arise from self-initiated projects." [17] Here the self-initiated practice is the starting point, the outcome of a publication is barely something that follows. The members involved stem broadly from an artistic context (artist, designer), but what brings them together is a desire to build modes and infrastructures for mutual support and care. [17] Here the main focus is not necessarily on the resulting objects but on the actual practice of running publishing activities in a way that is aligned with its content. This distinction is of course not always clearcut, but we can observe an explicit shift towards modes of collectivity, including care and mutual support.

Rabbits Road printing press, London 2018

⟶  see: X Marks the Bökship, London Similarly, X Marks the Bökship that operated for six years in London from a range of locations, shops, or galleries since 2010, was a space for independent publishing. Part bookshop, part meeting place, it hosted a multitude of book launches, workshops, conversations, lunches, and lectures. Such kind of community building is not achieved by "distributing" books about feminism or community, but through a genuine personal generosity, openness and through the support of others. [18] In these communities the qualifying marker is not being an artist but helping to drive the cause of intersectional feminist practice.

X Marks the Bökship: Andrea Francke reports from her visit of Pirate Book Markets in Peru, London, 2011

⟶  See Reflection: Queering the authority of the printed book ⟶  See essay: The Impermanent Book ⟶  see: AND Publishing, London

I will explain this incommensurability with the example of the early days of AND Publishing, a publishing activity I co-founded with Lynn Harris in 2010 at Byam Shaw School of Art in North London, as a kind of indy university press, without an official mandate, but occasionally supported by institutional research funding. There are three phases to AND's practice, the first one was to institute an approach to publishing at the art school, that published works of students, staff, and alumni likewise confounding the hierarchies that come with roles, a student, a teacher, a professor, etc. [pick me up] This activity was very much empowered by the fact that students and staff self-governed the library in order to keep it open as a socially and intellectually generative space. [see Piracy Project] Secondly, lots of energy went into researching, and testing models of print on demand in order to explore the creative and social possibilities of this (commercially) emerging production and distribution technology. Since POD does not require upfront funding since, due to digital print, the print run can be very small down to one copy. Publications can be printed when you needed them, or an order was placed. [19] Digital technology opened a multitude of possibilities and invited therefore for experiments to test the conceptual and social boundaries of the printed book. Please find a discussion of such experiments in the reflection section: Queering the authority of the printed book and in the published essay "The Impermanent Book".

AND Publishing, Variable Formats, an experimental series of sample books using 12 different commercial POD platforms. Conceived by Lynn Harris and Design Collective Åbake, London, 2012.

In 2012 AND started a production and distribution platform "AND Public". This community-based offer presented and distributed POD books via our AND Public website, via a kiosk at the ICA in London, at X Marks the Bokship and at international artist publishing fairs. AND held evening classes in collaboration with The Showroom in London, run "surgeries" sharing knowledge on available print services giving practical and conceptual advice. There were several forces at play, that pulled in different directions. Lynn in her day job, for example, was working for a design agency, versed in communicating and selling ideas and projects. In her free time, she researched emerging POD platforms and their possibilities (in term of binding, print, size and papers) and supported artists to self publish their books.

Working in the Edges, Evening School, The Showroom, London 2014

Over time, however, I developed a certain discomfort that this form of support often led to artists using publishing in a quite traditional way to showcase their work and boost their artistic value. Often, not always, they seemed to fall back to the old values of individual authorship, art with a capital A, cultural capital, etc. Since our energies, time and resources are limited in we decided to shift AND Public from an open-to-all platform to an editorial practice that builds explicitly upon feminist collective practice either by its members or by other collectives/individuals that we want to support.

As a reference, it is interesting to revisit the work of political and feminist groups in the 60s and 70s, working in a politicized climate of counter-information. In cities across Europe and the US radical print-shops operated collectively (See Red), [20], feminist magazines (Spare Rib), and a vivid feminist zine culture (Riot grrrls) developed in order to raise awareness against inequality and discrimination. Rejecting the role of the artist these activists participated in a network of campaign groups, radical publishers and distributors. One could argue, that the focus here was less on concepts of format or material qualities of a publication, instead, the posters, magazines, books were a means to an end, to agitate, to activate, to get the message out, to give voice, create solidarity and work collectively towards change.

Open Source: Feminist technologies: Constant (Brussels)

Similar to the print-based activities in London described above, Constant is a feminist, non-profit, artist-run organization. Based in Brussels, Constant is active in the fields of art, media, and technology since 1997. Current artistic director Femke Snelting describes Constant as "a collective of collectives" [...] "working with many different people but our base is in culture". [21] What brings them together is to work about feminist technology, to invent practices, to work on methods, to do research on what feminist technology could be, but also how it could be done. They start from open source and the conviction that the free software manifesto was a feminist manifesto, since "when you read it [the free software manifesto] you can really see how it connects to feminist values. So we were performing and enacting the feminist potential of free software and then seeing that there are many more things going on that keep back that potential and we needed to be much more direct, explicit, and clear about our feminist intentions."[21] To explain the relationship between feminism and free software, feminist technology activist Spideralex quotes Constant co-founder Laurence Rassel: "Operating systems in French are called système d'exploitation, and as a feminist what you don’t want to accept is your exploitation system, but to be able to change and modify it." Therefore Constant's work on feminist technology does not only relate to the front end (the devices, the software we use) but to the back end, the channels, the servers, the infrastructure. For feminist technology seems incomplete "if you don’t do all the layers".[22] This, of course, demands to take seriously the consequences of thinking technology as "being embedded in practices of maintenance, of care, of resources, shorter and longer time frames". The consequences are that "technology has to change, practices around it have to change. Going through all the layers means thinking about how they produce norms, how they make space for difference, how they work from possibilities and not probabilities, how they can keep opening up that potential."[21] Because according to Snelting feminist infrastructures is not about infrastructures to be controlled and owned, on the contrary, "to me its really important to remind ourselves that technologies are about relations with things we like to relate to, but also things we don’t like to be related to."[21]

So its about practices that make the best of those situations. And somehow insert ongoingness into those, eh, complexities. That is urgent. It’s urgent to find late Haraway’s really wise saying: "finding forms of ongoingness”. I really like that. This persistence, that is not going towards a solution, but is determined and strengthening and maybe even empowering without cutting itself away from the dependencies it is entangled with. This is urgent. We know it. Feminists have certain tools, that others don’t, that they can use to practice this and to think this.

It [the manifesto] helps as a framework to understand and the usefulness of feminist theory and thinking an activism for rethinking technologies into a direction that we want. To bring together the potential of free software (but not to believe that it ends there) and to engage the thinking power of feminist to deal with this complex world.

Their focus on digital technology and collaborative practice is described as: "Constant develops, investigates and experiments. Constant departs from feminisms, copyleft, Free/Libre + Open Source Software. Constant loves collective digital artistic practices. Constant organizes transdisciplinary work sessions. Constant creates installations, publications, and exchanges. Constant collaborates with artists, activists, programmers, academics, designers. Constant is active archives, poetic algorithms, body and software, books with an attitude, correlations, counter cartographies, situated publishing, e-traces, extitutional networks, interstitial work, libre graphics, performative protocols, relearning, discursive infrastructures, hackable devices." ⟶  see: webpage Constant

Different from the print-based activities based in London, who operate without public funding and therefore very precarious, Constant in Brussels receives public funding (and is nonetheless precarious). Funding models and economic sustainability are key

in the discussion of the working processes of artist-run spaces. On the one hand, they are in the position to build institutions according to their own needs, fresh, experimental and daring. On the other, these initiatives border at self-exploitation, burn-out. They can only be sustained by having another fairly secure job to be able to afford such non-institutional work. [Isabel Lorey: precarity?] To be able to sustain Constant for more than 20 years, to be able to pay the active members even a modest monthly salary, is an example of an intersectional feminist institution and community building - outside of traditional institutional structures such as the artspace, the university, the culture center - in their own words the building of "extitutional networks". Their open-source approach is not limited to software but is an underlying principle in their mode of working together. This kind of institution-building has a longterm impact on its members, on the participants of the work sessions, the readers of their publications and this impact flows both ways. It is an understanding of practice-based artistic research, that is daringly collective. Their practice is to understand and shape the underlying variables of infrastructure (servers), software, and licenses. Similarly with conceptual artists pushing the boundaries of the elements of the book.... Constant investigates the boundaries and politics of technology, property... Not in a one-off artistic gesture, that remains in the realm of the symbolic but as a sustainable model in community and institution building. Starting from software and technology they transfer these modes of operating to art, the social, the institution. Rethinking licenses... feminist servers... ongoingness... entanglement .... limits.... exhaustion.

Interventionist strategies “Insertions into Ideological Circuits”

Hacking and infiltrating into already existing infrastructures is A very different approach to radical publishing that is situated more clearly in the field of the artistic, symbolic is hacking and infiltration. In his series of works “Insertions into Ideological Circuits” (1970) the Brazilian artist Cildo Mereiles infiltrated already existing infrastructures of circulation by screen printing anti-war slogans on recyclable Coca Cola bottles, or rubber-stamped critical questions about the dictatorship on one-dollar bills to circulate them through many hands. Here the artist merely “piggy-bagged” on already existing infrastructures of circulation as a carrier for his messages. In the same vein in November 2008 activists around the US prankster collective The Yes Men “hacked” the New York Times by printing a “special edition” of 80,000 copies, which was distributed for free to passers-by on the streets of several US cities. This special edition was a perfect replica of The New York Times. The activists co-opted the authority and visual appearance of the New York Times in order to circulate a visionary “best-case scenario” with hypothetical headlines and articles, such as “Iraq War Ends”, “Minimum Wage Law Passes Congress”, USA Patriot Act Repealed”, All Public Universities to Be Free”. [23]

Radical Librarianship

⟶  see book chapter: Library Underground One of the most generative forms of distribution and circulation of published knowledge can be seen in libraries. Whether physically collecting ink on paper or archiving online digitally published knowledge Libraries are key moments 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. However, as I discuss in the text "Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community", at least institutional libraries also constitute disciplinary institutions determining what is validated as relevant knowledge.

Recent access policies requesting that any publicly (university) funded research has to be published without access restrictions, i.e. freely accessible in online archives or repositories, or via academic journals mitigate this question but also pose different predicaments and new enclosures that are brought up in the public interview "Rethinking where the thinking happens" I conducted with Sarah Kember, director of Goldsmiths Press in London. ⟶  see public interview: "Rethinking where the thinking happens", Sarah Kember

In the following, I will discuss two different, but interconnected concerns of radical librarianship. One reviews questions of access and validation, mostly at play in public and research libraries. (What is acknowledged as valid knowledge, for whom, by whom). This also includes economic enclosures produced by restrictive copyright policies and licenses established mostly by big (academic) publishing monopolies. Secondly, there is considerable artistic and activist work being done to pay attention to the politics and biases of organizing, framing, categorizing and classifying knowledge, i.e bibliographical practices.

Questions of access and validation

Setting up self-organized, non-institutional libraries has become a field of practice for a range of artists and activists as a way to rethink the infrastructure of knowledge formation. Their practices can be described as creating a knowledge commons and as a social and anarchist technique, which problematizes the enclosure and privilege of knowledge in institutional libraries. [24]

An artwork: Martha Rosler Library (2007)

Among the wide range of artists who have worked with libraries as part of their artistic practice, is, for example, Martha Rosler Library. On the invitation of Anton Vidokle (e-flux) nearly eight thousand books were temporarily removed from the artist's home to be made available to the public in e-flux organized reading room in New York, at the Liverpool Biennale and in several exhibitions across Europe. Elena Filipovic describes this as "an act of incredible generosity, one of America's most important living artists temporality dispossessed herself of the vast majority of her personal library so that it could be made available for consultation. No borrowing was possible, but the eclectic ensemble of books on economics, political theory, war, colonialism, poetry, feminism, science fiction, art history, mystery novels, children's books, dictionaries, maps and travel books, as well as photo albums, posters, postcards and newspaper clippings could be studied at will." [25] It has been suggested that the contents of the library are "both the source of Rosler's work and an installation/artwork that continues many of the concerns - with public space, access to information and engaged citizenship - that traverse her entire oeuvre."[25] Here the "making public" of her book collection seems to some extent to instrumentalize the library to "read" Rosler's oeuvre through her books, to reflect on the relationship between her work and the books and therefore to operate as some sort of a Martha Rosler portrait. She vehemently opposes this reading in an interview with Stephen Wright:

The one thing about the library I never anticipated was that people would see it as a portray of me. That is the least interesting interpretation that could possibly exist. Why see it as a symbolic creation? Why not see it as a library, with both books from diverse sources and pamphlets and other things? Because otherwise, you have abstracted it to the point where it's offering you nothing. So I am horrified by the library-as-portrait. [... That means] they didn't have to see it as an open invitation to anything, but only as ruins, like if we decipher this, we'll have the story of Martha Rosler. No, no, no, no, wrong! Look through THE artist, THIS artist, to the basis of the practice of AN artist.[26]

Even if it is "an" artist rather than "the" artist this library is framed as an artwork by an individual artist in collaboration with an initiator ("on invitation by Anton Vidokle") this personal library seems to always point back to one individual, its creator, its artist. It is therefore as I argue, certainly a generous gesture, but one that quite simply re-affirms re-affirms a conception of art with a capital A, where one artist creates a work and others are invited to interpret it. The question to ask is, how would one encounter these books had she lent or donated them to a public library without adding her name to it. Or in other words what kind of value is added by framing this collection of books as Martha Rosler's. This is one of the questions being explored in my practice project Library of Inclusions and Omissions. ⟶  see project: Library of Inclusions and Ommissions

A network of relationships: Infoshops (1990s U.K.)

By comparison, a fundamentally more collective approach take various small libraries and reading rooms emerging in cities in Europe and the US in recent years. Often set up by artists or connected to newly emerging maker spaces, these small community-run libraries are informally organized and cater to the needs of local residents and various community groups living in the area. They are building on the tradition of collectively run infoshops or community archives arising in the 90s in the UK and US as part of social movements.

Infoshops, described as a node of "free space within a diffuse, anti-hierarchical network" [27] are often homes not only to debate and discussion but also to alternative media and are therefore connected to the discussion of radical printshops above.

Operating independently, not council-run or organisationally affiliated they were catering explicitly for the information (and other, social and cultural) needs of its users. [28] Chris Atton claims "one of the info shop’s key functions is as a repository and distributor of alternative media (mostly, though not exclusively, anarchist media), and it appears to function as a hybrid form of information resource, acting as a library, archive, distributor, and sales outlet. It can also be a site for the production of such media, often produced by the same collective that runs the infoshop itself." [27] The infoshop as knowledge site, could be described as a two-way function, the origin, and outcome of collective action. Alberto Melucci has proposed a definition of collective action based on: "a network of active relationships between actors who interact, communicate, influence each other, negotiate, and make decisions. Forms of organisation and models of leadership, communicative channels and technologies of communication are constitutive parts of this network of relationships." [29]

"In this reading of social movements the role of the network and that of communication of media as activators of that network - assume key positions. Melucci defines the network as comprising “active relationships” at the heart of collective action. The infoshop, therefore, according to Atton offers a radical form of a community library and plays a key role in developing autonomy, solidarity and reflexivity in the creative processes of activist politics.

Shadow Libraries

“The Public Library is (i) free access to books for every member of society, (ii) a library catalog, and (iii) a librarian. With books ready to be shared [online], meticulously catalogued, everyone is a librarian. When everyone is a librarian, the library is everywhere.” Marcell Mars [30]

In the last decade, a multitude of shadow libraries emerged. Operate as peer-to-peer sharing online platforms they start from the idea “when everybody is a librarian, library is everywhere”. They are open and non-theme based online repositories for sharing mostly theory texts, which are uploaded by the platforms’ users. These pirate libraries

“Monoskop is a wiki, blog and a repository aggregating, documenting and mapping works, artists and initiatives related to the avant-gardes, media arts and theory and activism. Initially it focused on Eastern and Central Europe. Built on a Wiki that everyone can contribute to, it provides both an exhaustive, indexical overview of those fields and digital access to rare historic finds. In parallel to the wiki, Monoskop maintains a blog repository featuring daily releases of books, journals or other printed archival material, some freshly digitized by Monoskop and some contributed by the users, authors and publishers.” Dušan Barok

monoskop, libgen, etc
By comparison, comes from a slightly different angle. It is often understood solely as an open-source platform for freely sharing books but is actually born from a desire to share books with others in order to start a conversation. It developed from gatherings of the Public School, a self-organised educational project in Los Angeles, which started in 2007.[31] It was founded by Fiona Whitton and Sean Dockray. They felt that a curriculum always comes with an institutionalised agenda defining a prescribed canon of learning. In the Public School, people propose classes they want to take or want to teach and collaborate in exploring the proposed subjects together. [32] Public School has been spreading to other cities such as Buenos Aires, Berlin, San Francisco, New York, Durham, Helsinki, London, Vienna among others. has become over the years a huge repository of theory texts and therefore a vital tool for artists, theorists and academics, who have not access to academic libraries or are not able to find the material in institutional repositories.

Other practices likewise share the aim to counter institutional distribution monopolies and a wide range of online repositories have been built over the last two decades. However, these repositories differ in one crucial aspect from user-generated peer-to-peer platforms in that they are individually curated. Ubuweb, for example, is a highly controlled online archive for text, audio and video and curated by conceptual writer Kenneth Goldsmiths in New York. Monoskop, a private book collection turned into a public online archive run by Dusan Barok in Amsterdam. The Public Collectors online archive is curated and maintained by Marc Fisher in Chicago (Temporary Services).[33] In contrast to these digital libraries Antonia Hirsch’s The Surplus Library on Affect & Economic Exchange instigates the lending of individually owned hardcopy books, mediated through an online platform, which indicates the location of the book to be lent from (mostly) private book collections.[34]

While this second set of platforms operate as accessible repositories built through generous acts of critical archiving, they are not user run and are in most cases tightly connected to an individual (artist). The question and problem which has been addressed in recent activist discourse is to find ways how such infrastructures could be collectivised in order to secure the accessibility and usability of decades of content digitising and archiving for future generations.

All the above-described practices share the concern of how to provide access to material, which is not collected by institutional libraries or archives or is tucked away in private collections. Implicit in the question of access is the question of finding, and therefore of organising, indexing and cataloguing.

Questions of organization and classification

In contrast to the practices mapped so far the following examples intervene into institutional contexts. They disrupt or adjust in different ways institutionalised processes of distribution, classification and evaluation.

Classifying, indexing, summarising or key-wording is always an act of interpretation. It is a framing procedure, controlling how content will be found and interpreted. Melvil Dewey’s classification system for example, which has become a standard organizing system in many public libraries worldwide has been criticized by his biographer as being based on “a patriarchal White Western (and, of course, Christian)” worldview. (Wiegand xxx) What is left out here is a whole range of alternative perspectives on humanity’s knowledge. (see detailed discussion: Weinmayr, Library Underground, p.166).

Problem 1: Universal Language The radical library movement in the 70 and 80s was looking at such biases. In particular Sanford Berman’s study “Prejudices and Antipathies-A Tract on the Library of Congress Subject Heads Concerning People” (Berman 1971) revealed that Library of Congress subject headings, particularly those that are used to identify groups of people, perpetuate “the exclusionary cultural supremacy of the mainstream patriarchal, Euro-settler culture” (Olson 2000). In a word, many subject headings exhibit “bias”: that is, they use language that shows prejudice in favor of particular points of view, and against others. Berman’s study and critique actually resulted in changes in the LC catalog: 64% of Berman’s suggested “remedies” have been implemented since the publication of his critique, but the 80 items, which remain unchanged show some patterns of thought pertaining to the Christian religion. [35] (Please watch the video Library Underground for a detailed discussion.)

However cataloging is not only controlling how specific content is framed, but it also determines whether content will be found at all. Internet search engines, for example, are the front door to the www. Google’s search algorithm can be easily adjusted, and search results manipulated according to specific interests.

KvinnSam, the National Resource Library for Gender Studies at Gothenburg University

developed a response to biased cataloging. In 1958 three librarians at Gothenburg University library started collecting and cataloging women literature, material about women struggle for suffrage and got aware that within the existing holdings was plenty of material relevant to women and gender struggle, but it was not cataloged as such. The relevant keywords were missing and therefore hard to find. The librarian started to establish a parallel keyword catalog, analog at the time, by indexing the already existing holdings of Gothenburg University library in order to make aspects of gender manifest and therefore searchable. Today, Kvinnsam is a digital keyword search catalog that operates parallel to the standard search catalog. It can be browsed in order to find specific material, that would not show up in the standard catalog.

Feminist Search Tool

Similar activism to question the architecture and implicit biases in the organization of knowledge drives a group of contemporary artists, who are affiliated with the Read-in collective in Utrecht. Collaborating with the librarians at Utrecht University library they developed a Feminist Search Tool, which starts from the question: “Why are the authors of the books I read so white, so male, so Eurocentric?” [36] To answer this question they developed a digital interface, based on the library’s Marc21** fields, an international digital cataloging standard (Machine-Readable Cataloguing), which aims to map the existing library records (from 2006-2016) applying different categories, such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, class. The digital interface invites the users to apply different categories to their search and maps the existing library records from 2006 – 2016 according to selected filters, such as the language of publication, place of publication, type of publisher, the gender of the author. The search results then map how many female non-Western authors and female authors of color are represented and therefore reveal inclusion and exclusion mechanisms of our knowledge institutes. In contrast to KvinnSam search engine developed in Gothenburg, it is not a search engine for known-item search, delivery search, that is a search for a specific item for which either the authors or the title is known. Instead, the Feminist search tool operates as an “awareness-raising tool to stir conversations about the inclusion and exclusion mechanisms that are inherent to our current Western knowledge economy and our own complicities in (re)producing what is considered as ‘knowledge’ (and what is not).” As such this intervention is not be seen as a replacement for the UU library catalog, “but a supplementary tool for any inquiring person to approach one’s own biases and taken for granted truths that one is reproducing whilst studying and researching”.[36]

Infrastructural Manoevres, Rietveld Library Amsterdam

Radical Librarianship / Teaching The Radical Catalog

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 marginalised topics. This controlled vocabulary appears unbiased and universally applicable - but it actually hides its exclusions under the guise of neutrality. According to library scholar and teacher, Emily Drabinski “classification schemes 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. [...] We cannot do a classification scheme objectively; it is the nature of subject analysis to be subjective.” [37]

Problem 2: Hierarchical Structure, Fixity

Library activists such as Berman, whose suggested remedies to the LC subject headings, such as the elimination of the conspicuous racist “Yellow Peril” in 1989, has called attention to the hegemonic nature of classification. However, as Drabinski argues, while he is struggling to change the thesaurus he leaves the structural problems untouched. And according to Drabinski Berman’s approach actually presupposes, that there is some “right” language, that could be universally understood and applied.” But the politics of language is virtually always contested. “And the struggle for a universal “correct” language does not account for the ways in which language is inherently political and contextual.” Language and descriptors are also in motion when it comes to shifting identities….

[indigenous classifications…]

Therefore critical feminist libraries developed contextual, local classifications, which are user-centred for particular collections, or put effort, funds and energy in developing a user-centred classification for particular collections, such as the Glasgow Women Library and The Feminist Library in London. It is the critical engagement with the catalogue and its architecture, which is at stake. Not uncritically taking the classification for granted “as though it were a natural landscape rather than a well-manicured lawn that is the product of intellectual labor”. [38]

[Drabinski 'Teaching the Radical Catalog': Alongside revising the library catalogue: a method would be to teach its implicit contestations and biases... more]

These contestations around subject classification relate mainly to physical libraries. In online repositories, the introduction of full-text search and keywords help to a certain extent to overcome the problem. To a certain extent, because the interfaces provide a limited structure for Metadata, as we will see further below.

Performative Propositions: Policy Document at ERG

In early 2018, a group of students and staff at École de Récherche Graphique in Brussels circulated a policy document "Proposals for amendment to be made regarding the study rules".[39] Article 2 in this document refers to library policies:

"When the author identifies himself as the cis-type, heterosexual and white man, the books will be moved within the archives to recall, on the one hand, that this is one point of view among others. On the other hand, that the latter is hegemonic. A warning page will have to be included in each book when the readers will wish to consult the said works. Strict quotas will be put in place regarding the selection of the books represented. Attention will be paid to both subjects, the writing context and the authors." The topics under quota to be represented list: gender issues, queer issues, feminism, afro-feminism, trans-feminism, xeno-feminism, intersectional feminism, ecofeminism, eco-sexualite, LGBT, LGBTQQ I2SPAA+."

This policy document, sounding radical and almost utopian in its dramatic propositions, makes us pay attention to the fact, that authors who became part of the published canon speak from particular vantage points. The differences of authorial perspective need to be acknowledged and not swept under the carpet of universality and neutrality.

In an even bolder step article 3 in the same document proposes, therefore, to relate the payment of tuition fees to privilege. For this, a catalogue of ten criteria is drawn up: male, heterosexual, cis-gender, white, standard body, valid (valide), well-read, middle-class and bourgeois, carnivorous, human. If a student's profile, for instance, ticks three out of ten boxes (3/10), this coefficient will be applied in two ways: The percentage - in the example 30 per cent - is added to tuition fees and other expenses, such as prices at the coffee machine, for photocopies and other materials. But the percentage will also be deducted as "penalty" from achieved points in the academic evaluation and jury assessments. Apparently the policies described are so far only proposed, as its implementation, in reality, would amount to negative discrimination which is illegal in most European countries.

However such propositions can be performative: When I travelled to Brussels, visiting ERG in summer 2018, to talk to the document's authors, they explained – not without blurting out a giggle – how much this proposition already had stirred up day-to-day assumptions on privileges and social background at their art school. The document was posted on the walls of the art school, as well as emailed to staff members and students. Taking in the suggested rules appealed to any staff member to consider, name, acknowledge and eventually unlearn their own privileges, I was told.

Dissemination: Digital Turn / Open Access

Can current academic publishing ecosystem learn from experimental artistic and feminist publishing practices? How can these experimental interventions potentially reform inequalities, streamlining and metrication of academic publishing? The call for publicly funded research at universities to be published open access shifts the major part of research outputs into the digital realm.

  • radical open access as potential to transform the structures of institutional authority and legitimacy?.

  • building of commons-based open access publishing infrastructures for promoting a more diverse, not-for-profit eco-system of scholarly communication
  • values that underpin many of the radical open access community’s experiments in open publishing
  • Problem: OA complicit with neoliberalism’s audit culture of evaluation, measurement, impact and accountability. Open Access arguably has become a “mandate”, a top-down requirement rather than a bottom-up scholar-led movement for change.
  • experiments reclaiming open access from corporate take over (APC - Gold Model, Elsevier & co)
  • exploring how an ethics of care can help to counter the calculative logic (metrification) that permeates academic publishing. (Mattering Press)

  • alt metrics - gaming the system (Marina Frantzen & Punctum Press)

  • “Higher education has a culture problem that is at once historical, structural, and interpersonal”– To confront the toxic culture of higher education HuMetricsHSS Initiative propose a value-based “metric” framework around values such as equity, openness, collegiality, quality, and community, which not only functions as a checkpoint for self-reflection, but also as a starting point for better academic practices and outputs. (Christopher Long, HuMetricsHSS Initiative Michigan State University)
  • Making publishing more diverse and equitable – geographically, but also with respect to issues of class, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality
  • Nurturing new and historically under-represented cultures of knowledge – those associated with early career, precariously employed and para-academics, or located outside the global North and West?
  • ethical academic publishing: how to ensure everyone is able to have a voice – particularly those writing on niche or avant-garde topics or who are conducting hybrid, multimodal, post-literary forms of research, and who are currently underserved by our profit-focused commercial publishing system.

  • understanding publishing very much as a complex, multi-agential, relational practice

  • What is the potential of new forms of “open cooperativism” in which organisations commit themselves “structurally and legally to the production of common goods (the common good, the commons)”? (Bauwens 2016)

  • Coventry University’s Centre for Disruptive Media (CDM) and the Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL): How is media practice disruptive of and re-performing the way we do scholarly communication and education? How can the Journal of Media Practice reconfigure (the politics of) its own practice? What should a disruptive ‘journal’ of media practice look / sound / feel like?
  • Can open access and open source transform the institution of the university itself?

[Here to be inserted: Closing section paragraph that distills the main concerns from the examples and lead to the next section,ie my experiments.]

Notes: Survey of the field

  1. Sternfeld describes the post-representational as curatorial and artistic strategies of knowledge practices that rather than "representing valuable objects" intervene in "the space between representation and presence" and therefore "challenge what can be seen, done, and said" in form of "a negotiation with reality". See: "Negotiating Reality: Artistic and Curatorial Research" presentation at Sonic Acts Academy, Amsterdam, 23.2.2018,
  2. Joanna Drucker, " The Century of Artists' Books", New York: Granary Books, 2004, page 21.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kostelanetz, originally published in “Exhaustive Parallel Intervals”, Future Press, 1979, reprinted in Joan s (ed), Artists’ Books: a Critical Anthology and Sourcebook, Rochester, New York, Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1993, page 13.
  4. John Perrault, Some Thoughts on Books as Art, in Artists Books (1973: 15–21) quoted by Tony White in Book 2.0 in Volume 3 Number 2, 2013, page 168. doi: 10.1386/btwo.3.2.163_1
  5. John Baldessari for example writes in 1975: “I enjoy giving books I have made to others. Art seems pure for a moment and disconnected from money. And since a lot of people can own the book, nobody owns it. Every artist should have a cheap line. It keeps art ordinary and away from being overblown.” in Art-Rite (Anon. 1976/1977: 6)
  6. Lucy R. Lippard, ‘The Artist’s Book Goes Public’, in Joan s (ed), Artists’ Books: a Critical Anthology and Sourcebook, Rochester, New York, Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1993, page 45.
  7. ART RITE Magazine 11/12, winter/spring 1975/1976, page 3.
  8. Joan Lyons (ed), “Artists’ Books: a Critical Anthology and Sourcebook”, Rochester, New York, Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1993, page 8.
  9. Printed Matter was founded in 1976 by a group of individuals working in the arts (among them artist Sol LeWitt and critic Lucy Lippard) in Tribecca, New York. In the same year just a few blocks away, Franklin Furnace opened and set up an artists' book archive. Art Metropole was founded in 1974 in Toronto by the artist collective General Idea as an artist-run center. Mexican artist Ulisses Carrión started in 1975 "Other Books and So" in a small, basement-level storefront in Amsterdam. Other books and So run for five years and could be, with hindsight, described as an artists project bound to an individual artist, whereas the other mentioned initiatives still operate today as non-profit organizations.
  10. This is interestingly evidenced in a letter by Ed Ruscha to John Wilcock, the founder of Village Voice in New York, in which Ruscha reflects: “I made a terrible mistake by numbering my “26 Gasoline Stations” books because then the books became a limited edition rather than just another book, which is what I am after”. (Ed Ruscha letter to John Wilcock, 25 February 1966, The Piracy Collection, London; The Archives of Giorno Poetry Systems.) Ed Ruscha’s 26 Gasoline Stations book is traded in March 2020 on the second-hand online book store Abebooks for £14,062.83. [accessed: 13 March 2020].
  11. According to Printed Matter The New York Art Book Fair attracts yearly over 39,000 visitors and features over 370 exhibitors from 30 countries. In addition PM founded in 2014 the Los Angeles Art Book Fair that "features over 300 exhibitors from the west coast and some 20 countries, and is attended by more than 35,000." See Index Art Book Fair in Mexico City with satellites in Madrid, Chicago, Toronto was founded in 2014 by Frances Horn, Kit Hammonds, Jorge de la Garza, Maxime Dossin, Chantal Garduño, Tania Isabel Garduño Israde and Rafael Prieto. Today it is run by Jorge de la Garza, Maxime Dossin and Chantal Garduño Israde. The website states: "IABF brings together leading independent art publishers from Europe, Asia and the Americas, with special emphasis on artist books and printed matter resulting from experimental approaches to editing, writing, and printing." The London Art Book Fair is organized by the Whitechapel Art Gallery since 2009. Less international and less experimental in scope it attracts more established art publishers and galleries. Whether or not artists' book fairs attract artists as publishers as artists hinges to a major part on the costs. The London Art Book Fair charges £850 for publishing houses and distributors. £650.00 for museums and galleries. £450.00 for non-profit and small press. £250.00 for artists, individual publishers. See: You have to sell many books to be able to cover the costs for participation, travel and accommodation. consequently one could say the more expensive the participation the less experimental the fair.
  12. See Publishing as Artistic Practic, Annette Gilbert (ed), Berlin, New York, Sternberg Press, 2016. Or Publishing as Practice, X-Marks the Bökship, London, 2010 and 2014, convened by Eleanor Vonne Brown. Recto / Verso: Art Publishing in Practice, New York, Michaela Unterdorfer, Paige Landesberg, Kristen Mueller (eds) Hauser and Wirth Publishers, 2018. Publishing Manifestos, Michalis Pichler (ed), Cambridge MA, The MIT Press, 2019.
  13. Jess Baines, "Democratising Print", Doctoral thesis at LCC, 2016, page 12.
  14. Suzy Mackie and Pru Stevenson, founding members of See Red in a blog post
  15. Suzy Mackie and Pru Stevenson presented the work of See Red in a public event at The Showroom in London, 16 November 2013.
  16. 16.0 16.1 One interviewee states: "There was a belief and engagement in collective and participatory democratic practices: [...] We were always trying to work out how things might change, having intense arguments but I think the main thing we all adhered to was lifestyle. We were very much of the belief that if you lived it, that was part of the way to make it happen. So you lived and worked communally, in collectives” (Intv. Holland 10/11/11), in Baines, Democratising Print, page 118.
  17. 17.0 17.1 OOMK describes it self as: "One of My Kind (OOMK) is a collaborative publishing practice led by Rose Nordin, Sofia Niazi and Heiba Lamara. Working together since 2014, we make, publish and distribute books and printed works which arise from self-initiated projects. We also commission new works by women artists and co-curate DIY Cultures, one of the UK’s largest annual independent publishing fairs."
  18. Eleannor Brown started X Marks the Bokship in xxxx as event program at Donlon's, a bookstore for radical books in East London. Over time Donlon moved to a new space and the Bokship turned into a space of its own on Cambridge Heath Road. After 4(?) years of rent increase in 2014 the running of this shop was not affordable anymore and Matt's Gallery hosted the Bokship for two years at the foyer of their gallery in Tower Hamlets. In 2016 Matt's who had been residing on these premises had to move out due to Arts Council funding cuts. This was the moment when the Bokship decided to stop. See a record of activities here:
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named POD
  20. See Jess Baines’ text “Free Radicals” about radical Print shops emerging in London in 1968, as DiY sites of political and community activism. Afterall, 28.1.2010
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Forms of Ongoingness, Interview with Femke Snelting and spideralex, conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 16 September 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel). In the context of Creating Commons, Research Project by Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder, Shusha Niederberger, at ZhDK Zürich, 2016 - 2019. [podcast]
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named spideralex
  23. New York Times Special Edition. See documentation New York Times Hoax - The Yes Men Fix The World Interview with Steve Lambert in Fillip Magazine winter 2009:, and Steve Lambert website
  24. See also Eva Weinmayr, Library Underground - A reading list for a coming community, in Publishing as Artistic Practice, ed by Annette Gilbert, Sternberg Press 2016.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Elena Filipovic, "If You Read Here... Martha Rosler's Library", in Afterall 15, Spring/Summer 2007.
  26. Martha Rosler Library, edited by Paul Domela and John Byrne, published by Liverpool Biennal of Contemporary Art, 2008, page 11.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Chris Atton, "Infoshops in the Shadow of the State", in N. Couldry & J. Curran (eds.) Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2003, pp. 57–69, page 58.
  28. Chris Atton, "The infoshop: the alternative information centre of the 1990s", in New Library World Volume 100, No 1146, Bingley: MCB University Press (Emerald), 1999, pp. 24–29.
  29. Alberto Melucci, Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age, Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1996, page 75.
  30. Marcell Mars, Manar Zarroug, and Tomislav Medak, End-to-End Catalog: Memory of the World, November 26, 2012, https:// end-to-end-catalog/.
  31. “The Public School was initiated in 2007 in Los Angeles in the basement of Telic Arts Exchange. The Public School is a school with no curriculum. It is not accredited, it does not give out degrees, and it has no affiliation with the public school system. It is a framework that supports autodidactic activities, operating under the assumption that everything is in everything.” See
  32. See interview conducted by German artist Cornelia Sollfrank with Sean Dockray and Marcell Mars as part of her research project “Giving what you don’t have”, Postmedialab, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, 2012.
  33. Self-description: “Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums, and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public. Public Collectors feature informal agreements where collectors allow the contents of their collection to be published or exhibited and permit those who are curious to directly experience the objects in person. Collectors can be based in any geographic location.”
  34. Self-description: “In redefining the concept of a physical library, the Surplus Library on Affect & Economic Exchange operates on the basic assumption that its specific collection of books already exists in the material world: in the homes and private collections of countless individuals. Some of the holdings of this vast and distributed library can become known and accessible through The Surplus Library site. The site develops as the library’s holdings and locations are registered by users.” [1].
  35. Steven A. Knowlton, 'Three Decades since Prejudices and Antipathies: A Study of Changes in the Library of Congress Subject Headings', in Cataloguing and Classification Quarterly 40.2, 2005,,
  36. 36.0 36.1
  37. Emily Drabinski, 'Teaching the Radical Catalog' in Radical Cataloging: Essays at the Front, K.R. Roberto, Jefferson, N.C., McFarland, 2008, p.195.
  38. Hope A. Olson, 'Sameness and Difference – A Cultural Foundation of Classification', in Library Resources & Technical Services, Vol 45, No 3, Jul 2001, pp. 115-22, 115.
  39. See proposed study rules [here]. École de Recherche Graphique, Brussles

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