5 Reflection, theorization of projects

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⟶  see chapter 04*Summary of projects and submitted materialThis chapter seeks to unpick the questions underlying the various collaborative practices and experiments that constitute the research contribution of the doctoral project. The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the social and political agency of publishing and theorize the micro-politics of making, articulating, and sharing knowledges from an intersectional feminist perspective. The artistic projects that I mapped in chapter 04*Summary of projects and submitted material are multilayered and driven by a multiplicity of questions and desires. They are rather complex tangles of issues unfolding in real-world situations and "live" fields of operation. What is at stake here is a broad spectrum of issues that need to be explored in their entanglement with each other in real-world situations.

Nonetheless, having identified this multiplicity and real-world complexity of inquiry through practice, it is possible to indicate a recurrent concern throughout this work: the seemingly coercive reciprocity between authorship, authorization, and authority. By coercive reciprocity, I mean the ways in which these three concepts are entangled and how they induce, necessitate, and command each other. To be acknowledged as author requires some kind of authorization, which in turn produces authority. The question of what is validated, who is acknowledged as an author, by whom, and for what reason, appears as a consistent theme surfacing again and again across my artistic practice. It is the core set of moves that are played out in the various practice projects, and I will show how each project raises these questions in different ways.

⟶  see book chapter: Library Underground – a reading list for a coming community The reflection on the Library of Inclusions and Omissions looks at the potentials and limitations of libraries (in both online and physical formats) 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," (Weinmayr 2016) a library also constitutes a disciplinary institution determining what is validated as relevant knowledge. This tension – between materials that are validated as relevant knowledge and those that are left out – forms the underlying question of the project Library of Inclusions and Omissions. As a practice-led inquiry into library infrastructures, including their policies of access, validation, and classification, the project explores how a community-run resource is fundamentally different from institutional libraries, with their instituted selection and validation protocols. The project intends to test dissemination, reading and cataloging practices that tackle the biases of library infrastructures. It seeks to develop curatorial concepts to give voice to hidden, suppressed, or unacknowledged materials. It asks how such a curatorial strategy could help to share unacknowledged struggles; how a library might be turned 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 build a community or connect different communities?

By revisiting the five-year collaborative work the Piracy Project, I examine the ways in which the pirated, modified, emulated books in the collection transgress normative concepts of authorship and ownership. The project deals with the complexities of authorization on many different levels. It challenges the idea of individual authorship and the assumed authority of the printed book. It explores the spectrum of copying by creating a platform for re-editing, translating, paraphrasing, imitating, re-organizing, and manipulating already existing works. In the theorization of this project, I will show how the project's unauthorized interventions into "stable" and authoritative knowledge 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.

Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? proposes a shift in the definition of publication from being an "output" to acting as "input." Consequently, this new definition asks us to redefine the dominant understanding of "impact" in current systems of evaluation, which is often merely based upon a logic of calculation. 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 credit to all the processes and knowledges involved in how we publish, and how we might share and exchange knowledge rather than solely evaluating the outcome. The project investigates how open, enabling, and diverse our knowledge practices are, and how inclusive our tools and protocols are. It does so by practically examining the moments, formats, and temporalities of how knowledge is "practiced" at the art academy – in particular, practices of learning and teaching and sharing research via publishing or conference. This experiment scrutinizes how institutional habits – 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 upon the ways in which the joint planning, organizing, and hosting of the three-day event "Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?", alongside the dissemination of the published workbook, proposes alternatives.

The reflection on Boxing and Unboxing leads me, once again, to questions of categorization, this time in the appearance of "boxes," that are about getting "unboxed" or "cut up" as Rhani Lee Remedes (2002) suggests in the "SCUB Manifesto: Society for cutting up boxes."[1] A choice had to be made as to which of the numerous boxes that trap us in our contemporary condition are to be cut up in this specific inquiry. The experiment Boxing and Unboxing is about transgressing the very boundaries we seek to protect, including the border lines we draw as "proper" individuals (an "individual" conceived as founded in the sole ownership of oneself). The section will connect Roberto Esposito's thoughts about immunity and community to the exhilarating, troubling, and demanding experiences that sparring during the boxing sessions produced. I will reflect in which way sparring as a radical bodily dialogue could be a method to learn ways to compete without needing to win, and to disagree with respect.


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

⟶  see project 02*Library of Inclusions and Omissions I have mapped a range of artist- and activist-run library projects in chapter 03*Survey of the field, where I reviewed the range of artistic and scholarly attention that has been brought to questions of organization and curation of physical, online, shadow, or pirate libraries. In what follows, I will reflect on the practice-based experiment Library of Inclusions and Omissions by focusing on two strands. First, I examine the ramifications of institutional acquisition policies and evaluate whether the Library of Inclusions and Omissions could be a proposal for a counter-strategy. Second, I study the history of Western library classification to shed light on classification's inherent dilemmas and paradoxes, produced by the need to sort and classify as well as the fact that each standard and category valorizes some points of view and silences others.

Which narratives enter?

For both public and specialist research libraries it has traditionally been the librarian's task, informed by library newsletters and other professional library sources, to determine which topics and fields are considered relevant and to decide which books appear on the shelves. This position of institutional power has been highlighted and contested by several movements inside and outside academia, which I discuss in more detail in the book chapter "Library Underground – a reading list for a coming community" (Weinmayr 2016). ⟶  see book chapter: Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community and in the conference presentation "Radical Publishing Requires Radical Librarianship."⟶  see Twitter presentation: Radical Publishing Requires Radical Librarianship As already discussed in chapter 03*Survey of the field, the Radical Librarian movement in the 70s in the US fought to reform public libraries. Critical librarians campaigned for the provision of materials that served not only a white Western middle-class readership, but paid attention to the information needs of all members of the community, including its minorities. Via alternative library newsletters, acquisition librarians were informed about marginalized knowledges and educated to acknowledge the limitations of their own positionality.

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 standardization 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, for instance, include large parts of exhibition catalogs of major international mainstream museums, such as MoMA in New York and Tate in the UK. These subscription packages tend to absorb most of the acquisitions budget, leaving only limited funds for bespoke and contextual teaching or research material. In the same vein, the formerly decentralized cataloging units at the University of the Arts in London have been moved from their respective campus libraries to a centralized data hub that, by policy, excludes any format not conforming to commercial publishing formats, as Karen Fletcher, Fine Art Librarian at Central Saint Martins explained in an interview.[2] Even when produced in-house, self-published material by students or materials resulting from teaching projects cannot enter the library – despite their contextual relevance and value within the art college. This kind of exclusion is not necessarily generated by political censorship or ignorance. Rather, it more often stems from an institutional drive for centralizing procedures and infrastructures in the name of efficiency. Once tasks and responsibilities are centralized there is much less scope for direct conversation or for personal accountability, which makes them much harder to adjust.

These institutional developments are the starting point for the Library of Inclusions and Omissions. They provide a basis to practically rethink and test what a library actually could offer when it comes to the generation, transmission, and perception of knowledges and experiences. It is important to note that we are also talking about the physical reading room that hosts the LIO – the offer of physical space to linger, study, dream, and get carried away is an important aspect. The subversive nature of a library today, according to the London-based artist collective OOMK, goes much further than simply housing a collection of subversive books. The library's most subversive characteristic, they claim, is the fact that it provides a free physical space to meet in, a space that yields no profit.[3]

⟶  see chapter 03*Survey of the field It is important to note that LIO is only one among a vast range of small-scale reading rooms, library and archive projects currently being set up by artists and activists, some of which are discussed in chapter 03*Survey of the field.

LIO-Eva Weinmayr-Utopia of Access-Venice Biennale03.jpg

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 social movements such as radical education, second-wave feminism, or anarchism. Without affiliation to an institution, these collectively run archives and libraries were catering explicitly for the informational, social, and cultural needs of their users (Atton 1999, 24–29; Atton 2003, 57–69). It is interesting to observe that a similar community library movement has recently emerged in the Anglo-American world, where neoliberal politics alongside austerity measures have resulted in widespread library closures (Flood 2019). Here, communities started to self-organize and experiment with the purpose and potential of self-governed archive and library spaces.

In line with this movement, LIO's curatorial strategy is both open and focused. It is open to anyone interested in contributing, and focused in the sense of being theme-based – asking in particular for forgotten histories, intersectional practices, and feminist and decolonial knowledges. Contributions to this resource were invited via a letter in three languages (Arabic, Swedish, English).⟶  see project LIO: Invitation letter It seemed important to reach a range of diverse contributors – in terms of age, gender, ethnic background and class – sharing similar concerns.[4] The letter was widely circulated online and printed flyers and posters were put up in public spaces, schools, universities, museums, independent cultural spaces, and community centers across Gothenburg and its suburbs.

LIO index card Jason.jpg

In contrast to the founding assumptions of many institutional libraries, LIO does not claim to provide "neutral" or institutionally authorized knowledge. On the contrary, LIO asks for materials that are left out in institutional settings and therefore explores the limitations of the criteria of institutional validation. What is legitimized to go into a library? One criterion of exclusion relates to formal material properties. Standard book formats with professional print and binding are typically constructed to withstand the demands of being handled by many readers. More experimental or non-mainstream publications often go straight to the special collections department to be handled with more care. A second criterion relates to authorization. Only publications that have succeeded in passing through a long chain of discrete validation steps – the funding body, the publisher, the distributor, marketing, commercial distribution channels and outlets such as bookshops – can enter the library. How can we know what is left out? We miss more ephemeral manifestations of knowledge that are not "recognized as legitimate, preconstituted, disciplinary forms of knowledge," such as zines, tweets, and emails. (Hall 2008, 81). And we miss forms of knowledge, experiences, desires, hopes and struggles that are not articulated in the form of discrete printed objects.

LIO index card Nicole.jpg

LIO asks contributors for a brief statement or rationale as to 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 an index catalog for the collection.

LIO index card Sylke.jpg

They are printed on yellow cards that accompany each book on the shelves and serve as an entry point and framing device for 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."

LIO index card Ram.jpg

These descriptions include some quite stunning accounts of discoveries, struggles, and hopes, based on the reader's experiences. Reading these accounts as an entry point into the book provides a touching insight into the book's impact on the reader – their discoveries, struggles, and hopes. Here, the catalog is not merely a technical act of organization. It is an act of telling; in "telling, there is a desire – a desire to speak, a desire to share, to articulate an experience to an/other."(Roysdon 2011)[5]. The addressees of this telling are other library users, and the books with their cards can be seen as a tool to connect and find support or allies, in mind or action.

What the project revealed is that cataloging and verbal representations go hand in hand with a specific position of power. This is particularly the case for "first level" cataloging, as Ann Butler, Head of Libraries and Archives at the Centre for Curatorial Studies Bard (CCS Bard) has pointed out.[6] Only a few authorized institutions are allowed to write up the first catalog entry for a newly published book in WorldCat, for example. Subsequently, these entries are merely reproduced by other librarians when the book enters their collections and catalog. The LIO's experiments with indexing and cataloging is an attempt to understand and confront the complex dilemmas of classification whose genealogy and contradictions I will trace in the following.

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, 48)

Library scholar and librarian Emily Drabinski reports from a session with her students:

During a recent information literacy session for a group of first-year students enrolled in an African-American women's history course at Sarah Lawrence College, I discussed the changing Library of Congress (LC) subject headings for this field: NEGRO WOMEN; BLACK WOMEN; AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN; etc. A student raised her hand and asked whether students specifically interested in the history of White women needed to search the catalog using the term WHITE. My colleague, a reference and instruction librarian with five years of experience, answered yes. While we might wish that LC acknowledged White as a racial category and marker for domination, it does not. LC is rooted in historical structures of White supremacy; as such, the catalog presumes White to be the normative term. The librarian got it wrong. We must get it right. (Drabinski 2008, 198)

Drabinski articulates here the need to acknowledge the implicit power structures and hidden biases of classification. Many library users take the established classifications and categories for granted, observes Hope Olson, "as though it were a natural landscape rather than a well-manicured lawn that is the product of intellectual labor." (Olson 2011, 115). Although there might be a danger that acknowledging White as a category might potentially operate as a means for elaborating new forms of white supremacy that position whiteness as a category of vulnerability, the fact that such contestations are revealed could help to increase awareness that representation (and organization) of knowledge is not as neutral as it appears. "We cannot do a classification scheme objectively," claims Drabinski, "it is the nature of subject analysis to be subjective. [...] 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."[7] While claiming a neutral and universal approach, library classifications "use the hegemonic language of the powerful. They reflect, produce, and reproduce hierarchies." (Drabinski 2008, 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 non-mainstream materials, materials crossing disciplines, or marginalized topics.

This controlled vocabulary appears unbiased and universally applicable, but it 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), and to Melvil Dewey's introduction of 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. A uniform language, he suggests, is easy to use for the cataloguer as well as for the user. Exceptions and inconsistencies are allowed and even necessary, if it serves "the public's habitual way of looking at things" (as cited in Olson 2001, 641).

The problem, as Hope Olson points out, is the article "the" in "the public." It envisions one community of library users that has a unified perspective. This understanding of a singular public, which defines the language of this vocabulary, inevitably excludes those who do not seem to fit into this community. A community in singular shares cultural, social, or political interests and excludes those who are different. In Cutter's time, it was the patriarchal, white, Western (and Christian) worldview that dictated ¬– and to an extent still dictates – the vocabulary of a universal language for representation of information in the US library system.

Dewey’s obsession: standardization and efficiency

Melvil Dewey advocated for a universal vocabulary in the introduction to his classification system, based on 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." (Dewey 1932, 14). That leads him to call for a universal standard in the name of 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 clasification 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 definit meaning amung all civilized nations; and also cheapest and quickest in application.[8] (emphasis added)

Besides Dewey's obsession with standardization and efficiency, his urge for universalism seems tightly connected to an understanding grounded in white supremacy – in particular when he repeatedly refers to "civilized nations", implicitly distinguishing civilized from "uncivilized" nations. It is also interesting to note that Dewey also ran a very successful library supplies business, and thus greatly benefitted from his proposals to organize and streamline knowledge. In 1886 he started The Library Bureau, a company providing standardized library equipment. Its catalog seems all-encompassing, from standardized printed index cards, book order slips, gummed labels, paper shears, penholders, stamps, label holders, and small mimeographs, to a range of library furniture including filing cabinets, bookshelves, book stands, reading room tables, and chairs. All items are illustrated and listed with prices for mail order. The copy of the catalog that I found via Internet Archive is digitized by Google at Harvard University (The Library Bureau, 1890).

Library as disciplinary institution

It seems important to acknowledge the genealogy and biases of classification systems given that the Dewey Decimal System (DDC) and the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) are today 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; and DDC is the most widespread in the rest of the world, and is also used increasingly to organize web indexing collections of Universal Resource Libraries (URL) (Olson 2001, 641).

Dewey scheme, Institut International de Bibliographie, 1914.

Both classifications systems, DDC and LCC, are arranged not by subject but by disciplines. Hope Olson discusses how the main facet of these classification schemes is based on disciplines such as Philosophy, Religion, Social Sciences, Language, Natural Sciences, Technology, The Arts, Literature & Rhetoric, and Geography & History.[9] She identifies its genealogy as deeply rooted in Western, Medieval and Renaissance philosophy, from Aristotle's to Francis Bacon's classifications 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 is it then possible that DDC is the most used classification system in libraries worldwide – bearing in mind that is so heavily contextualized in Western philosophy? Alternatives had been developed, for instance, by Indian mathematician and librarian S.R. Ranganathan and his Five Laws of Library Science.[10] Ranganathan developed an unorthodox classification system using “facets” where several topics can be linked in a series of keywords in order to describe the various subjects present in a single book. He therefore dispenses with the strict hierarchical structure of the Dewey Decimal system that I explain in the following section.

Classification – a hierarchical architecture to house the universe of knowledge

Melvil Dewey imagined a cabinet of nine pigeonholes on an office desk. Each case represents one of the nine classes and allows for nine subdivisions (pigeonholes) as a way to efficiently organize. He favored mass production over custom-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 he (the 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 1932, 21).

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 places or use the corridor to travel back and forth (relationships). Once put in one room, it mostly stays in this room (permanence, inflexibility). But it can go into one room only – and that's the problem. A decision has to be made on what this document or book is about. Or what it is "most" about. Someone needs to decide what is the most crucial aspect of the book (first facet), what is the second most important (subdivision) etc. This creates a hierarchy.

Philosopher Elizabeth Spelman describes such hierarchies as a 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 sorts according to gender, then a bank that sorts according to race, or alternatively sorts first according to race, then according to class, then according to gender, and so on". (Spelman 1988, 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, 146).

Sameness and Difference

What all efforts of classification seem to have in common is that classification gathers things according to their commonalities. Hope Olson discusses the effectiveness of the duality of sameness and difference in Western culture. She describes how we implement it from early childhood since it is a principle that helps to organize things (Olson 2001a, 115). It can be temporal (in the same, or chronological period), spatial (relating to the same region), or used (most frequently used), or organized by similar material qualities (size, color, format). On my bookshelf I organize books by size, as this saves shelf space. In the charity shop I visit from time to time, clothes are organized by color. The green rack, for example, displays a variety of garments: trousers, jumpers, hats, skirts, and dresses – what they have in common is their green color. But they could also be organized according to their type. Then all trousers would be on one rack and shirts on another. The idea of sameness is used to gather material in classifications. However, it is also used to separate what is different. With the category of sameness – say, for example, classification based on the color red – there is always difference, defined as that what is not red.

This example shows that, while organizing, decisions have to be made as to which of the "samenesses" (color vs. type) take precedence. Because sameness is not a singular factor but has the potential to represent multiple characteristics or facets Olson claims that we need to be aware of how we define the samenesses and how those definitions are culturally grounded (Olson 2001a, 119). In the same vein, she suggests that there are no universally applicable solutions available to lessen the biases of classification, therefore a variety of approaches is required – "not only can we not have a universal solution, we cannot even have a universal method for achieving solutions." (Olson 2001a, 119). In the following I discuss some recent attempts of "provisional system making" in producing local and contingent classification schemes.

Non-exhaustive taxonomies and provisional system making

The LIO and its accompanying research into the politics of cataloging produced insights into how the catalog itself forms a meaning-making structure. Since the books and the catalog in relation to each other instigate critical thinking, it is not the book (its content) alone but the protocols and ecologies that are created around it that determine how knowledges are created and shared. Therefore, to some extent, the LIO is a proposal for a non-exhaustive taxonomy alongside many other engaged libraries that have invested much thought and creative effort to develop local, independent, or modified schemes. (Weinmayr 2016, 167). Examples include METIS, applied by the Ethical Culture School in New York, developed together with their students. The librarians found out that some sections were under-used such as "Languages," which was turned into "Community," "Craft" is now labeled "Making Stuff." But the most radical step was to mix the classic categories of "fiction" and "non-fiction." This was based on the idea that it is the students, not the cataloger, making the decisions. It is the student who evaluates what is imagination and what is information, and who discovers the blurred lines in between. Here the catalog is turned into an educational tool, a starting point for thinking and discussion about the distinction between fact and fiction. Similarly, the artist-run space Eastside Projects (Birmingham, UK) attempt to organize their book collection using a list of verbs (instead of nouns) as categories or subject headings. Comparable to the LIO, this framing emphasizes what the books are doing, rather than 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) Eastside Projects Birmingham

The examples of LIO, Eastside Projects, and METIS represent experiments in “non-exhaustive taxonomies and provisional system making, [that] keeps the door open to the 'to come'". (Spivak 2003, 21). Such provisionality, as decolonial philosopher Gayatri Spivak proposes, is more broadly needed for decolonial knowledge practices. "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 2003, 17).

Working with such non-exhaustive taxonomies emphasizes the process and the methodologies of knowledge practices. Such a malleable and fluid approach is without a doubt possible in small-scale and self-organized pilot projects, such as the LIO. Large institutions, however, seem to struggle with adapting their system making, since, according to Karen Di Franco, "with every type of establishment comes the desire to create 'standards' – a sequence of operational actions or behaviors 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, 81). ⟶  see chapter 03*Survey of the field: Teaching the Radical Catalog This is why Emily Drabinski, confronted with the fixity of large library catalogs, proposed to put these contestations at the center of teaching and discourse in order to negotiate with the library user the problems of standardization and fixity's implicit shortcomings and contradictions.

LIO's attempt to connect people and communities

As described earlier, one of the starting points for this project was a curiosity about the ways such a community-based and open resource could help with building or connecting different communities.

However, my hopes that the project might act as an agent to transgress the boundaries between the institutional community at HDK-Valand Academy and diverse self-organized communities operating outside academia were only partly achieved. Reflecting on the set-up and process I can identify several reasons. First, tensions between artistic authorship/ownership and collectivity emerged. These frictions related to my role as an individual artist instigating this collaborative project in an artistic framework. The "invitation to contribute" in the form of an open call makes a structural distinction between the one who instigates and the ones who contribute. It creates a hierarchy of responsibilities, and therefore ownership and power. What I learned was that, to be sustainable, a collective project can't be framed as an individual research or art project. Instead, in order to make this a community project, the involved parties would need to develop the framework, terms and conditions together from the start.

Second, I came to understand that not only categories, but also communities are based on commonalities (Esposito 2010). For example, the call for contributions that circulated in my own community of practice, HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design, triggered significant interest and contributions. In this environment of shared interests and commonalities, people knew me or knew about me. It also might be the case that my links to the institution, such as being a doctoral researcher, gave me some degree of respect or authority, which people felt they could trust and rely on. A large number of contributions also arrived from people who already knew of my involvement with AND Publishing and The Piracy Project, which apparently gave me some sort of recognition or legitimization or just made people curious to be part of LIO. However, my hope that the project might make the boundaries between the institution and the wider communities beyond it more fluid, that it could bring different communities into one room, was not achieved. It would have required much more time to build sustainable connections and trust with other communities, to fulfill the feminist, communitarian principles of sharing, reciprocity, and relationality and not to exercise, as Linda Tuhiwai Smith reminds us, a potentially exploitative act.[11] Reflecting on the power dynamics of my invitation, I ask: What would drive a member of an immigrant community, for example, to contribute to an art exhibition in an academic context? Would they rather set up their own library – with their own topics and struggles according to their own preferences and conditions? Apparently, as it turned out, the exchange economy of such an invitation is problematic.

Wrap Up (Library of Inclusions and Omissions)

Reflecting on the methods and set up of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions, I have examined the ramifications of institutional acquisition policies and evaluated whether the Library of Inclusions and Omissions could be a proposal for a counter-strategy. I studied the genealogy of concepts of Western library classification to shed light on classification's implicit dilemma: on the one hand, the need to sort and classify; on the other, the fact that each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences others. This was followed by a discussion of the need for non-exhaustive taxonomies and provisional system making in classification as shown in a range of informal library projects. I continued with a reflection on the project’s aim to connect different communities with a theorization of what constitutes a community. Lastly, I concluded with a reflection on the limits and contradictions when a collective and collectively sustained project is located in the framework of artistic practice with its implicit (and problematic) economies of exchange.

The Piracy Project

⟶  see project 3*The Piracy Project The Piracy Project (PP), a collaboration with Peruvian artist Andrea Francke, deals with questions of authorship, authorization, and authority in a hands-on way. By prompting people to "pirate" a book that is important to them, to reproduce books by making physical copies manually, the PP challenges the perception of a printed book as a finite resource and a stable and authoritative object. Through the unauthorized interventions and alterations of the books' textual and visual content, the PP transgresses the concept of authorship – as established via the coercive relationship between originality, intellectual property and copyright – and therefore deals with the complexities of authorization on many different levels, as I will explain.

Andrea Francke's suitcase contents on her return from Lima.

These conceptualizations and questions were not clear-cut at the beginning of the PP. Its starting point was twofold. Firstly, the announcement of the proposed closure of the library at Byam Shaw School of Art in London created a political situation that triggered an urge for creative ways to resist or respond.[12] Secondly, Daniel Alarcon's essay about book piracy in Peru in Granta magazine, which mentions that pirated books sometimes alter and amend (un-authorized and anonymously) the plot of some fiction books, seemed puzzling and exciting.[13] Even more exciting were the pirated and altered books themselves, which Andrea had bought from street vendors and at pirate book markets during a visit to Lima.

Through the joint effort of students and staff, and supported by its acting principal, the art college library to-be-closed was turned into a self-organized and self-governed resource of knowledges. The library thus remained public, and intellectually and socially generative. This move was not without antagonism: the British Prime Minister at that time, David Cameron, had just launched his perfidious "Big Society" concept, proposing that members of the community should volunteer at public institutions, such as local libraries, which were otherwise destined to be closed due to government cuts. Some colleagues were skeptical – suggesting that, rather turning the library into "a project," more time and energy should be invested in campaigning to keep the library running as an institutionally funded resource and thus revoking the management's decision. Yet the shift from an institutionally run library to one organized by students and staff was nonetheless productive for opening 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 changed from an institutionally controlled and authorized resource to become an assemblage of knowledges that appeared in different forms and formats – many potentially obscure, self-published or going beyond the printed book altogether.[14]

The Piracy Project's richness, energy, and complexity unfolded through a range of collaborations and debates: the close thinking and acting together with Andrea Francke, as well as 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.[15] ⟶  see Piracy Project: Organizing discursive events By then, the project had grown extensively and attracted much attention; it was consequently invited for residencies, reading rooms, workshops, lectures, panel discussions and debates by a range of national and international cultural institutions.

Queering the authority of the printed book

The Piracy Project shares concerns with practices of radical shadow libraries such as Monoskop, aaaarg.fail, or Memory of the World – distribution platforms set up to fight enclosures by commercial monopolies, which I map in more detail in chapter 03*Survey of the field. ⟶  see chapter 03*Survey of the field: Shadow Libraries However, while current practices of shadow librarianship work towards the open and free circulation of books to circumvent enclosures, the PP 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-organizing, manipulating of already existing works," as the open call states. ⟶  see: Open call as Art Agenda anouncement

As such, the PP introduces a further aspect to current shadow librarianship, shifting the focus from issues of circulation and access to questions of authorship and authorization. By instigating potential contributors to make printed copies of already existing books, the PP asks us to rethink, test, and reflect on the relationship between the authorized source and the modified unauthorized pirate copy.

These manipulations could be described as queering the authority of the book in two ways: in terms of authorship (which I discuss in the following section); and in terms of the printed object, the book. [16]

The authority of the printed book 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 thousands of copies, one just tends to assume that the copy of a book we are reading is identical to all other copies of the same title circulating on the market. However, before litho-printing turned industrial the book was a less stable and authoritative object. Similarly, one can observe some moments in recent printing history that rupture such reliance on these established processes of authorization. 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 customized compilations.[17]

Johann Comenius, Orbis Sensualis Pictus, "The Bookseller" (1660) shows a book shop in which the individual sections of a book could be purchased and custom bound with materials fitting the budget of the buyer.

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 (2004) describes how the general availability of the photocopier has been perceived as a threat to the authority of the text. She cites Marshall McLuhan's (1995, 216) 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.

Via the photocopier, 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.[18] Of course, the handmade quality of feminist zines – the visibility of scissors and glue – does not pretend to have gone through the same chain of authorizations as a mass-produced hardcover or paperback book. The authority of the mass-produced book lies in its production value, such as involving a proofreader, a designer, a publisher, a printer, as well as its entering the book trade, commercial distribution networks and bookshops. These distinctions, interestingly, have become obsolete since digital printing presses allow for small print runs, down to one copy, with a material quality that is almost indistinguishable from mass-produced litho-printed books. ⟶  see essay: The Impermanent Book discussing how the mutability and instability of the book disrupts reading habits 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.

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.

This new technology of versioning has been used as a conceptual tool by many cultural workers. For example, the publication An Incomplete Reader for the Ongoing Project, 'One day, everything will be free'... is described by its editor Joseph Redwood-Martinez as "approximating software rather than a book or an exhibition catalog [...] 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." (Redwood-Martinez 2012).[19] Here the tactic 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 to be understood as a temporary stabilization within a continuous process.

Neil Chapman, Deleuze "Proust and Signs," slide from a presentation at symposium "Feminist Writing", Centre for Feminist Research Goldsmiths London, 2014. Listen to podcast.

Pirated books can also be understood as a form of versioning, particularly if the pirate copy shows some unauthorized transformations and alterations in relation to its source. But there is an important difference in that they tend not to state this fact. In contrast to openly versioned books, pirated books frequently undergo modifications – whether materially (format, paper, print) or content (change of plot, fan fiction, names, chapters, illustrations, etc.) – while pretending to be the authoritative copy.

For example, artist and writer Neil Chapman's handmade facsimile of Gilles Deleuze's "Proust and Signs"[20] explores the materiality of print and related questions around institutional protocols of authorization. Chapman produced a handmade facsimile of his personal paperback copy of Deleuze's work which included some binding mistakes (a few pages were bound upside down) by scanning and printing the book on his home inkjet printer. The pirate is close to the source's 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 expectation to access authoritative and validated knowledge on the library shelf when, instead, they encounter a book that is printed and assembled by hand?[21] Such publications circumvent the chain of institutional validation: from the author to the publisher, the book trade, and lastly the librarian purchasing and cataloging the book according to standard bibliographic practices. A similar challenge to a perceived stability of the printed book and the related hierarchy of knowledge occurred when students at Byam Shaw sought a copy of Jacques Rancière's Ignorant Schoolmaster and found three varying copies that had been modified in different ways as part of the Piracy Project. One of them, as a kind of response to Rancière's pedagogical proposal, featured deleted passages that left blank spaces for the reader to fill in and to construct meaning in place of Ranciere's text.[22]

Who has the right to be an author: Copyright and IP

Performative Debate: "A Day at the Courtroom", The Showroom London, June 15, 2013. With Lionel Bently (Professor of Intellectual Property at the University Cambridge), Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Art and Law, New York), Prodromos Tsiavos (Creative Commons, England, Wales, and Greece). Courtroom drawing by Thandiwe Stephanie Johnstone.
Performative Debate: "A Day at the Courtroom", The Showroom London, June 15, 2013.

One of the main blockages for collective knowledge practices that emerged in this inquiry is the mutual reciprocity between authorship and ownership, as defined by intellectual property and copyright law. Feminist legal scholar Carys Craig (2007, 224) argues that copyright law, and the concept of authorship it supports, fail to adequately recognize the essentially social nature of human creativity. It chooses relationships qua private property instead of recognizing the author as necessarily social situated and therefore creating within a network of social relations. According to Mark Rose "Copyright is not a transcendent moral idea but a specifically modern formation [of property rights] produced by printing technology, marketplace economics and the classical liberal culture of possessive individualism". (Rose 1993, 142). Therefore, in copyright law, the author is unequivocally postulated in terms of liberal and neoliberal values, combining the concepts of authorship, originality, and property. I have explored the problematic reciprocity of these three concepts in the book chapter "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices – how copyright destroys collective practice" (Weinmayr 2019) using the example of The Piracy Project. In that chapter, I also explore the intricacies of the ways in which the vocabulary and mindset of intellectual property – the idea that knowledge is "original" and can be owned – infiltrates collective knowledge practices, in learning and teaching environments at the university for example. The problem, it seems to me, is that intellectual property is tightly connected to an idea of individual originality and genius, which, as I have shown, is critiqued practically and theoretically through this inquiry.

The question of what is deemed to be "original", or to define authorial originality in a derivative work, has been the purpose of many court cases.[23] And since copyright is case law, the verdicts are informed by many different factors. Consequently, this legal grey zone tends to create a climate of anxiety and, consequently, 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 convincingly documented in a 2014 report commissioned by the College Art Association in the USA (Aufderheide et al. 2014), which has informed my argument greatly and forms the basis for the book chapter "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices."

To put the legal framework to the test, the PP organized a performative debate entitled "A Day at the Courtroom", hosted by the publically funded art space The Showroom in London during the PP's one-year residency there in 2013. For this debate, we invited three copyright lawyers from different cultural and legal backgrounds [24] to assess ten selected cases of the PP collection using their respective legal and cultural frameworks. We were curious about this debate, in which each lawyer argued their legal perspective. At the end of the lawyer's argument for each case, it was up to the audience to give the verdict and place the book on a sliding color scale from red (infringing) to blue (non-infringing) – replacing the "illegal"- "legal" binary on which jurisdiction is built.

This debate interestingly illustrated that, for example, one selected case would be regarded as Fair Use exception in Europe, but not in the United States.[25] Lots of effort went into the discussion of how "originality" is defined and what criteria are needed to be granted the status of an "author." In the case of "Suitcase Body is Missing Woman," one of the books assessed in this deliberation, the lawyers raised the question of whether a person untrained in the arts could claim original artistic expression for their work. Another case, which discussed a commercially motivated predatory publishing practice ¬– pulling content from a knowledge commons such as Wikipedia – was unanimously deemed legal by the lawyers (Bently et al. 2014). ⟶  For an edited transcript of this debate see book chapter: A day at the Courtroom

Such events organized by the PP serve to collectively unpack the conflicted complexities within intellectual property law, and help to grasp the extent to which these policy debates, and the concept of "intellectual property," have become omnipresent – pervading our thinking and working and, not least, our social relationships.

Unsolicited Collaborations: queering the authorial voice

Jaime Bayly "No se lo digas a nadie," right: pirated copy bought in Lima Peru (2011), left: source copy (1994).
No se lo digas a nadie, slide from presentation at symposium "Feminist Writing", Centre for Feminist Research Goldsmiths London, 2014. Listen to podcast.

Some contributions to the PP modify the content of their source, undermining 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 PP's practice.

See for example the case of the pirated version of No se lo digas 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 two more fictionalized chapters about the author's life.

None of the cases contributed to the PP asked for authorization from the author or publisher; therefore we sometimes describe them as "unsolicited collaborations." The term collaboration refers to a relational activity. It reimagines authorship not as proprietary and stable, but as a dialogical and generative process. Feminist legal scholar Carys Craig (2007, 246) 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 account (individual genius) never can."

Intellectual property law is confronted with dilemmas when it comes to acknowledging a dialogical understanding of authorship. The law tends to start from a concept of originality that subsequently is turned into property. The current legal policy debate is going in circles – on one side, critical piratical practices and free culture and copyleft activists are campaigning for an open culture that is not based on ownership; on the other side, the media industry keeps lobbying for tougher protection against cultural piracy to secure their profits.[26]

⟶  see workshop: Interfacing the law

Interestingly Femke Snelting (Constant), expresses doubt and a certain discomfort about a potential heroism in disobedient pirate cultures that tends to prevail in activist circles.

The disobedient stance of piracy can obscure the way it keeps categories of knowledge in place, either by calling upon universalist sentiments for the right to access, by relying on conventional modes of care or by avoiding the complicated subject of the law altogether. I am writing you this to show how the current landscape of intellectual property produces paradoxical positions that we all take on a daily basis: what (not) to download, share and distribute; what to consider normal, brave, necessary, or too risky.[27]

⟶  see co-edited book: Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating, AND Publishing, 2014

The Piracy Project Reading Room, Grand Union, Birmingham. Curated by Cheryl Jones. December 6, 2013 – February 8, 2014.

Comprehending and acknowledging the paradoxical positions that the reductive legal-illegal binary produces is at the center of the Piracy Project's practice. It is about learning to make decisions on what one thinks is ok or not and to put one's own moral boundaries to a test – not in secrecy, but in the open, in order to make it tangible and negotiable.

In an attempt to map the complexities of such "unsolicited collaborations", as a kind of expanded reference of practices, we put together a list of terms nuancing the vocabulary of relationships to somebody else's work. Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating – the title of a book Andrea and I edited – are verbs (active words) that show the complexities and qualities of possible relationships. Each term points to a different quality of reference and economy of exchange. [28]

The social agency of piracy

Similarly, 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." (Lobato 2014, 121–23)

To understand the actual agency of piracy, beyond its legal interpretations, it is helpful to look at the genealogy of the word pirate. Most Hellenists hold the word pirate, when it began to appear in ancient Greel texts to be "closely related to the noun 'peira' which means trial or attempt." (Heller-Roazen as cited in Hall 2016, 16). 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].[29]

This "teasing, making an attempt, contending with," and to some extent "to give trouble," is at the very core of the PP's practice. Firstly, by inviting people to make a pirate copy and to reflect on the various implications of this practice and its context (copyright regimes, knowledge enclosures, individual authorship, neo-liberal university) the project creates facts and propositions that are discussed, debated and reflected upon in order to establish new relationships and forms of sharing.

And secondly, through our research into cases of already existing book piracy in China, Turkey and Peru – outside the art context ¬– the project studies piratical methods and tactics, applied by individuals or collectives that, for different reasons, copied, pirated, modified, reproduced and circulated other authors’ work. It creates insights about the motivations and reasons for such acts that range from political activism and acts of civil disobedience (in order to circumvent enclosures such as censorship or market monopolies) to acts of piracy generated by commercial interests.

The limits of framing and exhibiting

Here, in its capacity of creating insights, interestingly, the project was confronted with a paradox. Exactly because the pirates' agency unfolds under the radar of authorities and in secrecy, it is problematic to expose these tactics in the framework of (artistic) research. Take the example of the pirated autobiography of Jaime Bayly. As soon as the fact of the anonymously added chapters is revealed the book loses its subversiveness; it turns into a document that shows and tells, that can be studied and serves as an "epistemic object", a shift which I will expand upon in the chapter 06*Analysis. I wonder whether the "exhibition" of the pirated Jaime Bayly book on the shelves in the Piracy Reading Rooms comes close to Suzanne Briet's metaphor of the caged antelope. Briet, a scholar in documentation practices, proposes that whereas an antelope running in the Savannah in East Africa is considered a wild animal, when it is captured and brought to Europe – to be exhibited in the zoo, caged, described, measured, and classified – it is turned into a document (Briet 1951).

Andrea and I created the Piracy Project Index Catalog because we were looking for a method to have the collection open to the public, without us needing to be there in person. We wanted to convey the story and trajectory of the books, what piratical tactic had been used and the political and cultural context for the intervention. The books are always displayed with their index cards, which describe the pirate book's genealogy and material properties, what tactics have been used, the source copy and how it got into the collection. All in all, these cards function as entry point and framing device for each book.

During The Piracy Project Reading Room at the New York Art Book Fair in 2011, a librarian from the Pratt Institute stopped by every single day because she was so fixated on the questions the books raise with respect to normative cataloging and bibliographic standards. Looking at Jaime Bayly's No se lo digas a nadie, for instance, she would ask things like: Who would be named as the author? And how would you do justice to the protracted multiple authorships in this work when filling in the categories in the catalog record?[30] ⟶  see: Piracy Project: Searchable Online Catalog

The job to name and describe each pirate book for the Piracy Project Index Catalog went in hand with the question of how to organize the books on the shelves in the reading rooms. Considering the fixity and contradictions of subject headings in libraries, discussed above in the reflection on the Library of Inclusions and Omissions, Andrea and I experimented with varying subject categories to spatially organize the books on the shelves. At the Showroom in London we organized the books according to legal categories such as "Private Use," "Public Domain," "First Sale Doctrine," "Modification/Fair Use." One year later, at Kunstverein Munich, the collection was grouped according to their modes of distribution:[31]

The White Market for books encompasses all legal and authorized distribution through traditional channels. The books in this selection have been produced through publishing houses, have ISBNs, and are produced in higher quantities that allow for commercial distribution.
The Grey Market for books includes publications produced in higher edition numbers than those 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 unauthorized 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 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 in potentially unlimited quantities that can circulate in mainstream commercial distribution channels. A book, produced through lulu.com, for example, will be a one-off until a second copy is purchased. Only then the second copy will be printed and shipped. Distribution triggers production; it defines the market dynamically. It allows books to oscillate between grey and white market zones seamlessly.
Putting The Piracy Collection on the shelf, Grand Union, Birmingham

Based on these experiments, during The Piracy Reading Room at Grand Union in Birmingham we invited archivist Karen Di Franco as well as interested participants to produce descriptive terms (a thesaurus) to categorize items in the collection according to their transitory nature. ⟶  see chapter 05*Reflection, theorization of projects: Perspectives and framing under the disguise of neutrality "It is easy to see how terms will deviate from a thesaurus of standards," di Franco writes about this workshop, since ::terms 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 catalog as equally peripatetic. Di Franco 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 catalogs and indexes that echo the interests of the persons that inhabit the library space" – highlighting the necessity of an alternative thesaurus specifically made from and for these collections.[32]

Why we decided to end the project

The PP had a strong focus on research and discourse, and over the years we grew more and more hesitant to say yes to short-term invitations to "exhibit" the project. More than once the traditional exhibition framework turned the reading room – which for us was a trigger for collaboration and exchange – into a sheer display of exhibits.Speechbubble.png

We kept trying to find ways to make the process of exhibiting fruitful for us. We wanted something to happen through it. Just re-presenting or re-sharing the books was boring and not enough. We wanted to find ways to not keep rehashing the same conversations over and over so we decided to catalog the collection in different ways each time we displayed it.

For Munich, we categorised the books according to the modes in which they were distributed. It was clear that the categorisation did impact the questions the visitors formulated to the collection. It also made clear that it was hard for us to do this in a way that allowed us to share the collection in an additive way. We didn’t find a way to enable the collection to accumulate the knowledge that emerged at every exhibition and encounter and to allow people to access it so they could catch up with us. We were still the bodies that needed to mediate the collection and that meant we were permanently stuck in the shallow aspects of the arguments. To me, we were slowly becoming the maintainers of the collection and I wasn’t comfortable with that role.

Annotated by AF

In their role as exhibits the books were at risk of being treated as curiosities, rather than developing a growing and nuanced discourse with an invested community of practice to deepen and expand the topics. Also, the "touring" of the PP to different locations and contexts in the later years meant that on each new occasion a discourse had to be built from scratch. That inevitably led us to repeat ourselves and deliver the narrative over and over again – thus remaining in the "shallow arguments", as Andrea commented in the pink annotations. Sometimes the engagement turned into a one-way conversation, into us delivering a service. Sometimes the traditional exhibition time frame was simply too short, with us too exhausted and precarious to pull off meaningful events in each new context in quick succession.[33]

On reflection, another concern emerges that is connected to the PP's research and highlighting of "real-life" cases of book piracy that are taken out of circulation and displayed on the shelf. During the Piracy Project Reading Room at "Truth is Concrete" in Graz, while looking at the pirate copy of Jaime Bayly's No se lo digas a nadie, Stephen Wright asked what it does to the practice of the pirate when we show the book as "a case" in the Piracy Project Reading Room. This question addresses the consequences of this act of "revealing" the pirate's intervention (adding secretly two chapters) that is done under the radar. By exposing and "exhibiting" such interventions in the framework of art or (artistic) research we potentially treat them like the aforementioned wild antelope in the Savannah that gets captured, caged, and exhibited in a Western zoo, and is – through this act – being turned into a document, into an epistemic object that can be studied and classified (a metaphor coined by documentalist Suzanne Briet that I first introduced in the chapter 02*Setting). I will analyze this operation in more detail, discussing stability as the key property of a book and the politics of fixing in chapter 06*Analysis.

Wrap up (Piracy Project)

The Piracy Project is a collective investigation that addresses questions of authorship and ownership by connecting artistic practice (workshops, open call) with research (existing book piracy) and discourse (debates, lectures, articles, editing of Piracy Reader). Reflecting on the range of enclosures in current Western knowledge practices – or blockages, as I call them – the PP investigates the effects of the concept of intellectual property and discusses the ways copyright posits the author in terms of liberal and neoliberal values by combining the problematic concepts of authorship, originality, and property. As such the PP is an attempt to comprehend and acknowledge the paradoxical positions that are produced by the reductive legal-illegal binary in copyright law. The etymological meaning of “pirate” clarified that the project is about, on the one hand, "teasing, making an attempt, contending with" the knowledge enclosures –studying piratical methods and tactics, applied by individuals or collectives that, for different reasons, copied, pirated, modified, reproduced and circulated other authors’ work. On the other hand, the project also considers how the disobedient stance of cultural piracy can potentially obscure the way it keeps categories of knowledge in place instead of developing new models that establish new forms of relationships and sharing. This section concluded by reflecting on the contradiction when disobedient practices that operate in secrecy get exposed and exhibited; when these practices are turned into a document by objectifying them as an epistemic object.

Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? – Institutional Pedagogy

⟶  see project 4*Let's Mobilize: What is feminist pedagogy? Let's Mobilize, in contrast to LIO and the PP, situates itself right inside a higher education institution: HDK-Valand, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg. What "Let's Mobilize" has in common with the other projects discussed here is a drive to interrogate dominant knowledge practices, references, and formats. It is an attempt to establish how the formats and infrastructures of production and circulation determine the agency of these knowledges and their processes of making meaning. LIO dealt with these questions with respect to already published material. Let's Mobilize, in contrast, enters and focuses on an earlier point in the chain of knowledge practices: namely, how the moment of learning and teaching – a discursive, time-based moment – is determined by the norms, infrastructures, and regulations of a state-run higher education institution. This question forms the core of a follow-up research project, "Teaching to Transgress Toolbox," an Erasmus+ funded Strategic Partnership (2019–21) with Ecole de Recherche Graphique (erg, Brussels) and ISBA (Institute des Beaux-Arts, Besancon).[34]

I will address the "Let's Mobilize" experiment from two perspectives. The first part of this reflection addresses the mobilization's experiments with non-normative teaching and conference formats. This included testing new roles, languages, non-normative uses of the building and its rooms, as well as experimental approaches to timing, budgeting, catering and hosting of participants. It comprises the often neglected – and, I would claim, neglected because "un-authored" – practices of organizing and care for such an event. In the second part of the reflection, I will address the experimental approach to production and dissemination seen in the Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook, published four weeks before the event.

The event: "un-authored" practices of feminist organizing and changing 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 good-enough team 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, 2007, translation slightly amended)[35]

At the beginning of the experiment, a working group formed at the university consisting of students, staff, and administrators (Kanchan Burathoki, Rose Borthwick, MC Coble, Andreas Engman, Gabo Camnitzer, Eva Weinmayr). The explicit aim of the working group was to shed light on the complex tensions arising from being a member of the institution while testing and researching the limitations of its established habits and modes of doing things. Concretely the group embarked on an experiment on how a "conference" on knowledge practices could be organized in a way that itself rethinks and tests the formats it employs and thereby directly translates the addressed theoretical concepts into action. The quotation marks around "conference" already hint at how the working group attempted to rethink normative nomenclature and the roles, functions, and hierarchies it produces – as described in the chapter "Glossary" in the Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook.

⟶  see edited book: "Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?", chapter "Glossary" I have already discussed the ways in which cataloging and classification descriptors are performative and political in the section "Perspectives and framing under the disguise of neutrality" above. In an attempt to adjust institutionally established terminology, the Let's Mobilize group replaced the term "conference" with "mobilization" – intending a practical, dynamic, activist and generative outcome, rather than, for instance, "delivering" knowledge in the form of papers. We wanted to be able to ask: Has something been mobilized? People who join a "mobilization" come with different desires, energies, mindsets – and we intended the mobilization as an invitation to work out practical ways to translate research or knowledge into practice. Getting initial traction within the working group, and then with the administration, our new terminology ("mobilization") was eventually adopted across the organization.

This process of shifting nomenclature within the academic community evidences our desire to organize an embedded event that addresses and rethinks the structural processes of how we work together at the academy.Speechbubble.png

We paid so much attention to accessibility (spaces, language, learning styles) but did not prioritize providing childcare. We had neglected to find ways to support those with children to attend. We were lucky enough to have this brought to our attention by a potential participant who shared valuable resources that reinforced our education on this topic. This led me to wonder if we neglected to recognize this need because none of us in the group were parents or if we thought this was something that individuals needed to resolve themselves? Ultimately the solution we could find, within our means, was to create both a separate space where the live-streamed event could be watched as well as a “chill out” space where anyone could go to relax.

Annotated by MC

This desire was partly informed by a range of research into institutional pedagogy and infrastructure studies[36], but the actual starting point was practical: embedded in our institutional milieu we set out to explore how our institutional codes enable or impede specific modes of thinking and acting among members of our institution.

Let's Mobilize started from the assumption that institutions aren't self-contained and fixed structures, but environments formed by an "instituting movement" of its members. This approach is based on 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 (Francke and Jardine 2017). The institution has been described, on the one hand, as a potential to be developed (instituting); on the other hand, it constitutes an established form (institution). The institution, according to Rassel (2018) is in a constant negotiation between these two forces, and alienation is produced when the "instituted" takes precedence over the "instituting."

The administrator as co-author

Because the working group rethought all these processes, formats, and interactions fundamentally, it had to understand and tweak the existing procedures prescribed by the university. This would not have been possible without the inventive support of the management and administration. Take, for instance, the collective sleepover in the main assembly room. Staying overnight in the academy building is officially not permitted, and it was only through negotiations and with the creative support of the acting prefect that the sleepover could become part of the program, as Forum 6: "When do we learn? Non-normative uses of the seminar room".[37] In what follows I will give selected examples of the intricate negotiations and dealings with university personnel, whose day-to-day job was to follow, interpret and execute the institution’s rules and regulations.

This variety of 'doing things differently' from standard university procedures, generated a lot of work, stress, and frustration for both the working group and for administrators. In order to deal with policies creatively and productively, one must know them well and thoroughly.[38] Current critiques of administration refer to the administration of the body and the way bureaucracy controls 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 (Francke and Jardine 2017). Therefore, in queer activist and legal scholar Dean Spade's (2015) words, "policy and administrative systems are the invisible disciplinary forces that generate our experiences as subjects."

Interestingly, current critiques of administration often focus on the body that is administered. Andrea Francke and Ross Jardine ask: "But what of the administrator?" They argue that in order "to be deemed successful in their task the administrators 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 standardization, [...] actions become attached to roles instead to individuals [...] and therefore the administrator's position as a subject is being erased." (Francke and Jardine 2017). But as Francke and Jardine claim, it is exactly because administrators are the anonymous subjects who generate and enforce these systems that they are vital for enacting political transformation.

Therefore it was crucial not to produce a "we"-"them" dichotomy, but to work as closely together as possible. Invitations to the work meetings were posted around the building to make sure anyone interested could join. The first few meetings were attended by over 20 academy members across departments, but administrators' interest was limited (apart from one, a MA Fine Art Graduate, who was on an amanuensis scheme in research administration and who was very active in the working group). At that point the focus of the work was directed more on learning and teaching experiences; it was only in the second phase that the work shifted towards questions of organizing and procurement rules. At that point, the meetings weren't publicly announced anymore, because a core group had formed and was consulting administrators on specific questions on how to follow or creatively interpret the procurement roles. These interactions were at times conflicted because the project created extra work, and not everyone prioritized the project's cause in the daily workload of the running of the institution – either for ideological reasons or because it was not possible (no hours allocated) to invest unpaid time and energy in the project and join, for example, the working group planning meetings in which ideas were developed and discussed.

Collectivity: Desires and Complications

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 mobilization 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. (Appendix 1*Revisiting Let's Mobilize, 2017)[39]

This comment, from a member of the working group, summarizes the contestations and conflicts within the group once the mobilization date was approaching and pressure increasing.Speechbubble.png

In collective processes like the one within the feminist working group the relation/balance between care and efficiency is one that is hard to negotiate. Several times during the work process we discussed the traditional feminist strategy of doing personal ”check-ins” of how we all were doing heading into a meeting for example, to take care of each other and for everyone in the group to know where each individual ”is at” so that the group can hence relate to everyones situation when working together. The tricky situation is when the pressure to perform/ to achieve/ to get the work done/ adds in the group then its hard to commit to strategies like these time wise. Committing to strategies like these means that you really have to take care of what unfolds in these check-ins and be able to commit to the personal conversations and give the personal care that is being required between individuals in the group in the situation, even if it means that most of the meeting time will be spent on personal conversations. If the group lacks that commitment then strategies like these run the risk of only becoming symbolic gestures instead of transformative actions. So the juxtaposition between Time and Care becomes explicit when pressure rises in the project and often the act of care is neglected to the benifit of production and efficiency. To find out sustainable strategies to negotiate this juxtaposition between Care and Efficiency is for me one of the hardest tasks of working collectively and an ever trickier balance in the everyday working life of our contemporary institutions per se.

Annotated by AE

We only understood after the event that, while investing so much time and effort to define roles, achieve transparency, and provide care in relation to the event, we fell short of achieving this sufficiently within the group. In Do the right thing – a manual from MFK, Johanna Gustavsson and Lisa Nyberg (2011) report how important accountability and transparency are for collective work. 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 can 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.

We learned early on from the collective reading of Jo Freeman's "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" that we needed transparency on decisions we take (Freeman 1972). Hence it became a guiding principle in our communication with each other to take notes in every meeting, which were uploaded to a shared online "blackboard" 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."[39] It was the imbalance of priorities within the group and respective commitments to other projects that caused unevenness and at times frustration. Although we had collectively read the experiences in the MFK manual about being transparent and outspoken on priorities and availability 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, more power within the group and project than others, who came only sporadically. That was not the horizontal structure we imagined and led to tensions – some complaining about the lack of commitment and others about being silenced. Due to immense pressure to deliver, this imbalance was not appropriately addressed, as we just wanted "to get on". Another structural problem was that I could afford to focus more on planning the event and editing the workbook because it was part of my (paid) research. These allocated hours created an asymmetry as other group members faced a growing workload having to juggle the organizing work with teaching, studies and day jobs. My "contract" with the institution in the form of paid hours for the project also shifted (perhaps necessarily?) my sense of responsibility for the collective project. This tension possibly also resulted in some sense of ownership, a condition that seems problematic in the light of the horizontality and collectivized authorship of the project.

Questions of efficiency and unmeasurable labor

We also observed that within the existing institutional setting, our efforts to do things differently and to investigate the institutional formats and habits were positively acknowledged, welcomed, and supported by Valand Academy's leadership. But it also caused friction with and drew critique by the same administration, because of the apparent extra labor, effort and time our project created for administrators – and therefore additional costs.

The question of economic feasibility became apparent when our extensive creative work of detailed organizing and care turned into self-exploitation and for some even into states of burnout.[40] Collective work is by definition slow (because decisions are thoroughly discussed and take time) and expensive, if everyone is equally paid. The prevailing institutional economies, therefore, find it hard to afford collectivity and consequently keep allocating tasks and roles to individuals in order to save wage costs. This results in the dilemma of people most likely returning to a "work to rule" practice as an act of self-care because it is often not affordable to invest extra energy and unpaid labor. From the perspective of the institution, one could say, collective practice poses a problem of efficiency. Efficiency is here understood as a measurable concept – quantitatively determined by the ratio of useful output to total input.

But one could also argue that these partly invisible practices of care are not related to regimes of authorship and, therefore, are not distinctly measurable in the established regime of authorship and ownership. They constitute affective labor, which is sometimes valued and recognized by the direct recipients and beneficiaries; however, the dominant systems of evaluation tend to fall short of acknowledging 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 recognized "as work."[41] In the chapter 06*Analysis: A more flexible idea of authorship altogether I analyze how we could rethink organizing and care as forms of authorship if we reformed the dominant evaluation frameworks of "impact" in current institutional environments, which measure impact based on published outputs.[42] ⟶  see chapter 06*Analysis: A more flexible idea of authorship altogether

In what follows I will describe the specific approach in the production and circulation of the Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook, which experiments with how we could shift our understanding of impact by transforming an "output" into an "input."

The Workbook: contingent, contextual publishing

The Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook was published and circulated four weeks before the event. Its purpose was to create a common ground, to introduce the event's topics and formats to the wider school community. This timing seemed important as the workbook's function was different from a conference program, which often merely give factual information for the event, with abstracts and bios of the invited speakers. Instead, the function of the workbook was to invite the wider academy community into the discussion before the event was staged.

In the field of publishing, a workbook has a specific function. It has a use-value. 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 or study. In this sense, a workbook could also be seen as a prop, in the way Fred Moten and Stefano Harney (2013, 106) 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."

The editorial process

How we could work collectively and think together during the editorial process of this publication was a crucial and ongoing question. It was very helpful that the group could work in a studio in the academy building during this period. Here the group laid out pages on the floor, invited potential contributors to meet up and brainstorm ideas for their contributions, and got in touch with authors to ask for permission to include their work in the book. In short, the editorial work was very analog and direct – based on bodies and conversations in a room.

Analog editorial, HDK-Valand, 2016.

After weeks, the floor of the studio was covered and we had to tiptoe between sheets of texts, drawings, charts, comics, and photographs. One important editorial decision was to not consolidate the vast range of material into one overall design. We treated them as ready-mades, keeping all visual traces from the contexts and sites we took them (exported from blogs, websites, or scanned from a printed book) and, therefore, visually referencing their sources, including many different layouts and typographic designs. This analog editing method (testing the sequence of pages by rearranging them on the floor, adding metadata, names, and references via handwriting on post-its) allowed all group members equally to engage with the selection and sequence of pages.

Compared to the standard process of collating and laying out a book's pages using a desktop publishing program, such as Scribus (open source) or its commercial twin InDesign, this working method was fun and messy as it gathered the bodies, laughter, opinions and tasks in one room. Once the pages were ready and the sequence agreed, the sheets were manually scanned, whereby the final scan served as a pagination tool and was exported as PDF ready to print. Several inserts, that were held together with the rubber band around the fold (the binding), referenced the integrity of some ready-mades that were printed on different paper stock and size – for instance, an excerpt from the playscript "Strike While The Iron Is Hot", tucked into the centerfold of the publication. The range of materials in the book spans from historic feminist sources like the sex questionnaire “Yes, No, Maybe – A Sexual Inventory Stocklist” from Heather Corinna and CJ Turett (scarleteen.com) written in the 70s, or Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (1989), to pieces produced in recent years or specifically produced for the publication.[43] Only a few texts were drawn from a scholarly context. The majority were borrowed from informal and activist and artistic networks that are experimental in form and direct in address.

Public Assembling Day: Distribution as social encounter

⟶  see project: Let's Mobilize Workbook: Public Assembling Day

In line with rethinking the formats, temporality, roles and spaces of the event and the editorial process, it seemed 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 and 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 in exploring. 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 is to propagate. Coming from Latin "semina," dissemination suggests the spreading of a seed through wind, insects or birds. 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. But the role of the workbook was specific: We wanted to invite the members of our art school into a discussion and created an occasion to meet for the manual task of collating and binding the book. Assisted by the working group, people gathered around the tables to familiarize themselves with the content and the topics of the mobilization while figuring out how to bind this book. This unconventional approach, to merge the moments of production and distribution, created a different sense of engagement with the object and its topics. Readers had to invest time and manual labor in producing their copy. And most importantly, it created a social occasion where people with different roles at the academy who rarely meet in day-to-day life sat around tables chatting to each other while folding, collating and binding one or two copies of the book to take away.

Walkable Book: Situated publishing

Extending Donna Haraway's concept of situated knowledge, we did not only "speak" from within a situation formed by specific bodies, social dynamics and power relations – we attempted "to speak back to it." The two-step dissemination of the workbook was 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. And in a second stage of dissemination, posters were spread across the walls of the academy building, turning the academy building into a walkable book. ⟶  see project: Let's Mobilize Workbook: Walkable Book In so doing, we situated the pages' content right inside the field of forces and disciplinary struggles of our day-to-day working environment at the academy. Working in teams, we aimed to cover as much area as possible – thinking of spaces with heavy footfall (main entrances, kitchens etc.) as well as toilets, where people would have time to sit and read the content. These large-scale printed pages plastered around the school left a physical trace around the academy long after the event had passed.

Let's Mobilize, walkable book, HDK-Valand, 2016.
Let's Mobilize, walkable book, HDK-Valand, 2016.

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, and administrators, alongside visiting guests, created a range of spatial, temporal meaning-making encounters with the book. It seems interesting to connect the event character of such situated reading practice with early Happenings (1958–61), and in particular, their relationship to objects. As Johanna Drucker (1993, 55) 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." As such, they were a means and not an end. ⟶   see book chapter: Confronting Authorship – Constructing Practices What Drucker describes here connects to the concept of a prop that shifts the emphasis from the object (publication) to what is mobilized (the agency), as discussed earlier in this section. Two things are at stake here: firstly, Drucker describes the critical impact of 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. 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 creates for collective intersectional knowledge practices.

Secondly, Drucker (1993, 54) proposes that by replacing commodity- and object-oriented approaches with instructions and scores, "with the 'noise' of simultaneous and collective activity," the profoundly critical agency of Happenings relied "upon the techniques of an orchestrated collaboration to stage a self-conscious condition for relations among individuals to be experienced as such." (57). ⟶  see essay: Outside the Page - Making Social Realities with Books

Staging the posters of the book pages materially in the academy building, which houses many different actors that meet in various roles and on different terms, could be seen as a cue for a situated reading practice – something that I discuss in more detail in the text "Outside the Page – making social realities with books." The posters' materiality and sizes claim space and presence among the daily forces of encounters, discoveries, creations, articulations, anxieties, and disciplinary struggles and potentially turn into a transformative current, as one colleague wrote as feedback to the working group:

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 these were texts "donated" or re-distributed by others, and then donated to me by you. But also because by 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 and understanding. This placement can turn into a transformative current in itself because the content of the texts interrupts the thoughts of and thereby intertextualizes the everyday. (Kerstin Bergendahl, cited in Appendix 1*Revisiting Let's Mobilize, 2017). Speechbubble.png
That this potentially transformative current is merely temporal was topic in a recent conversation with a group of Valand students (Publishing, Art Feminism) who shared their impression that for them the posters turned into mere decoration over time and apparently lost their initial ignition.

Annotated by EW

If these pages mobilized, the mobilization happened right in the center of the institution, or in Nora Sternfeld's words "in the in-between spaces that emerge between representation and presence, theory and practice, and above all between the current state of affairs and the possibility of changing it." (Sternfeld 2017, 166).

Workbook and event: an "institutional object"

The physicality of the workbook, I felt, was one of the most successful aspects of the mobilization. Constructing the book became a social activity and introduced a different way of doing things in the Academy. (Appendix 1*Revisiting Let's Mobilize).

In addition to the reflections locating the project in art, media theory and institutional analysis, it is helpful to theorize it from the perspective of Institutional Pedagogy, as developed and conceptualized by Célestine Freinet, Fernand Oury, psychoanalyst Aïda Vasquez, and Felix Guattari.[44] Institutional Pedagogy takes as its starting point a sociological analysis of institutions, including the official rules of the school and the power relations that exist between official and unofficial roles in the institution. Freinet's institutional pedagogy, and later Fernand Oury's, Aïda Vasquez's, and Guattari's institutional psychotherapy both stress the importance of subject groups, any group of individuals who form around a common goal, and who work together to achieve it. Institutional Pedagogy and Institutional Psychotherapy both claim that subject groups can only form around or engaging with an "institutional object" that has also been described as a "mediating, third object". The concept of the mediating third object, that Gary Genosko (2002, 9) describes as one that "exists outside of face-to­face relations and upon which work is done cooperatively, and for which responsibility is collectively assumed, through a series of obligatory exchanges” helped me to conceptualize the significance of the collaborative work in relation to the book, and the book's capacity to mediate, to clarify thoughts, articulate concerns, and share these with our institutional environment.

In Freinet's pedagogy, the mediating object was a hand-operated offset printing press that he acquired for the classroom of a small primary school in the South of France in the 1920s. On this press, the pupils printed their writings, drawings, and field reports, which then served as teaching material that subsequently replaced the textbooks that were previously used in the school. In this way, as Edward Thornton (2019, 8,9) notes, "students can transform their group subjectivity into something active and self-managing, rather than something passive and subjugate." (In contrast to pupils at school who only constitute a group because they are collectively subjugated to a school system.) By using the pupils' field research, that was collectively edited, printed and used as materials for teaching, Freinet favored the pupils' analysis of their particular context over textbooks with supposedly objective truths. (Thornton 2019, 15) I have discussed the pedagogical effects of Freinet's use of a printing press in the classroom and the school's initiative to publish a regular student-led school journal that got distributed in an exchange network of French schools in the text P.R.I.N.T. for the artist initiative "Fahrender Raum" in Munich (in German). (Weinmayr 2015).

This reference to Freinet's use of the printing press as mediating third object is helpful here to conceptualize the function of the workbook as an "institutional object". Through the collective editing, the conversations and brainstorms with contributors, and the writing of the glossary, for instance, the working group's thoughts materialized and as such acquired a social existence. The publication, first as a material site and an occasion (reason), enabled the interactions within the group – and, in a second step, it connected to students and colleagues in our institutional environment.

The concept of the mediating third object is also helpful to conceptualize the function of the extensive collective organizing work of the event. Far more than pulling this event off, the organizing collective connected different subjects beyond their allocated roles (and related power dynamics) in the institution. Because we reached out to ask for help from the outset, people began to offer their support on many different matters, regardless of their function in the university. Offering a spare bed for international guests, translating texts, helping to fold and staple a pamphlet, sourcing dusty storage rooms for cushions to sit on, making props for the play reading, welcoming participants on arrival, tidying up after one forum and preparing for the next, etc., etc. These tasks, taken on voluntarily, resulted in the spreading of responsibility and, therefore, in collectivized authorship of the event.

Here, I would claim, it should not be the event itself that should be deemed successful (because it had famous guest speakers, or went smoothly, or had interesting discussions, or many attendees). It is everything that happened in the run-up – the conflicts, the moments of encounter and learning, the laughter – in its function to connect, to bring people in our institution in relation to each other in unprecedented capacities and roles and, as such, transform the established hierarchies and power dynamics of allocated roles (student, teacher, researcher, administrator, care-taker, technician). The pictures show the collective effort that extended to large parts of the academy community.

Wrap Up (Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?)

Reflecting on the project Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy, I have discussed potential methods for how publishing can be seen as a social, pedagogical, and thus political process. Situated in the institutional context of an art school I have showed how such experimental and collective ways of publishing can create spaces, in the figurative and physical sense, for better mutual understanding – by rethinking established roles and relations, and thereby adjusting established structures and hierarchies. Relating the experiments of collective editorial work and the situated circulation of the workbook to concepts of institutional pedagogy, I came to understand that the value of this publication is equally to be found in these emancipatory and social processes (collective practice) as in the resulting object (book). The reflection made me recognize the need to shift the taxonomies of value from solely evaluating the finished outcomes to assessing how inclusive our tools and methods are to get there.

Similar questions emerged during the organizing of the three-day international event (mobilization) that, as I propose, can be equally seen as a form of publishing (creating, sharing knowledge) – one that is less concerned with "delivery" but with possible emancipatory ways and formats to do so (roles, payments, temporalities, and how we inhabit the spaces when knowledge is "practiced"). Testing existing formats and alternative institutional ecologies, I have discussed the working group’s collective efforts, contradictions, and limits to rethink how we meet, create and share knowledges at the art school.

Boxing and Unboxing – against immunization

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 frolic amongst their peers. When asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" they respond, "Me."
FASHION: Boring fashion will be shut down 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, "SCUB Manifesto: Society for cutting up boxes" (2002)

Boxing and Unboxing, the most recent of the discussed practice projects, approaches the inquiry from a different location. It is a boxing gym, a site of liveliness, bodily exhaustion, exhilaration, smell and sweat. Situated outside the immediate material and procedural protocols of publishing, Boxing and Unboxing tests strategies for how 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 correlates two distinct activities: "Boxing" and "Unboxing." Judging from thousands of YouTube videos uploaded by proud owners of newly purchased goods, unboxing is commonly understood as an act of taking something out of its container or box. It could be the thing, as artist Rhani Lee Remedes suggests in her SCUB manifesto, "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-organized, London-based, campaigning trade union for migrant and precarious workers, has recently started boxing classes for its members. The organization engages in physical protests, occupations, and demonstrations stating: "The working class is kicking ass in court, in the workplace and in the ring." [45]

Another case in point is "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.[46] The organization offers boxing classes as a tool to prepare members for self-defense, to fight potential police and right-wing aggression on the street. One should also mention Shadow Sistxrs, a group of women of color affiliated to gal-dem, a London-based magazine run by women and non-binary people of color, independent from the biased representation of mainstream media. "Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club" was established as a "physical & meta-physical self-defense class for women, QTIBIPOC & LGBTQIA2S+ witches" (Xu 2017). The immediate trigger was recurring attacks on women during night hours on the streets surrounding Haringey's Warehouse District in North London. 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. Instead, they provide an opportunity to learn self-defense and boost confidence and solidarity.

When AND Publishing was invited for a residency at Marabouparken konsthall in Stockholm in 2018, the question was: In what ways could boxing training be a method to learn how to relate to each other? Could boxing training 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 discovering 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?" (Parmacek 2018, 71)

Boxing Club – Sparring

⟶  see project: Boxing and UnboxingThe idea of organizing 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, whereas competitive play "highlights the physical, contestatory, and exploratory interactions between people" resisting a "societal overemphasis on winning", as too much attention on winning turns sports into work, as she argues. (O'Shea 2018)

⟶  see book chapter: Confronting Authorship – Constructing PracticesIt's interesting to connect O'Shea's distinction between play and work with questions of authorship and outputs raised earlier in this PhD inquiry, for instance in the book chapter "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices" that examines the relationship between verb (practice) and noun (outcome). ⟶  see input: Collective Situated Authorship at Authors of the Future study day, 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 is apparent that the way Rosalie and I conceived 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, it seems, competing without aiming to win presents a contradiction.

Sparring is an example of bodily interaction that differentiates itself from fighting and violence. The experimental learning in the boxing classes that we organized involved a constant changing of the sparring partner, requiring an immediate adaptation to your partner's body size, weight, ability, and tactics. It requested an instantaneous navigation between your partner's vulnerability and her 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".[47]

This is why one refers to "sparring partner" and not "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 defense, constructs a unique interdependent relationship. It is as you were moving together. You are working together while you compete. For example, we spent lots of time rehearsing defense tactics by learning to anticipate your partner's moves to either block the punches or evade them. To give an example, there are two ways to confront a quick right-hand jab: you either block it with your gloved fist, or you duck under it, letting it hit the void.

Part of the exhilaration I experienced during the sparring sessions had to do with the necessity to act on my feet. "Don't overthink. Be present. Always maintain eye contact with your opponent. Stay focused." This was the mantra of our boxing teacher. Indeed, the moment you were trying to make sense of what is happening you got dragged away and missed out.

Sparring: Transgressing identity categories

During sparring it did not matter who you are, who your parents are, where you were born, what color your skin is, what you have achieved in your profession or merits or authority gained. These predefined identity categories were left behind in the changing room. On the mat, in artist Anna Zett's words "I have no name, no gender, I do not listen to anyone's prayers, I speak no language, I have no genealogy." (Zett 2016). The only thing that matters is your vulnerability and your ability to interact with your partner. This liberating experience was possible during our self-organized and informal sparring classes, of course ¬– for professional boxing and the marketable spectacles of international prize-fighting the set-up is very different. With the rise of international championships in the early 20th century, for example, the boxing ring had become an important arena for transnational debates over the political and social divisions between white citizens and nonwhite, colonial subjects. "Since boxing involved unscripted, man-on-man confrontations between symbolic representatives of the races" (Runstedtler 2011, 662) and the British Empire had to confront a symbolic defeat of its white supremacy in the boxing ring, an act of racial segregation was issued by the British Home Office banning interracial fights via a "colour-bar" lasting from 1911 to 1947.[48]

"Leaving everything behind" meant for us, the artist organizers, 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 organized 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.

Sparring: learning as "the beginning of something"

It seems paradoxical, but in my experience the playful and combative contact of the boxing sessions yielded an extraordinary sense of trust and support, whether or not we knew each other beforehand. From the beginning, we had to trust each other that everyone would stick to the rules. The rules were the basic agreement for getting on the mat with people you have never met before, with the intention to punch each other. Because participants were more or less beginners it was a common journey without many displays of already acquired expertise. The feedback of participants reflected on the importance of being invited into a safe and non-competitive space to be able to learn something new.[49] 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 everything. Even as someone who observed, for the most part, I felt that I was in the middle of the 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." (Parmacek 2018, 71)

Boxing and Unboxing – community, immunity and the figure of the "proper"

On reflection, I wondered why my sparring exercises on the boxing mat were such a liberating and exhilarating experience. I think it has crucially something to do with me giving up my immunity. Fitted with boxing gloves I get into sparring, and I expose my physical integrity and allow myself to be vulnerable. Could landing punches and receiving them be a method for or an essence of community?

The Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito has worked a lot on the subject of immunitas and its relationship to communitas. “Although immunity is necessary to the preservation of our life, when driven beyond a certain threshold it forces life into a sort of cage where not only our freedom gets lost but also the very meaning of our existence – that opening of existence outside itself that takes the name of communitas.” (Esposito 2013, 85)

But what does immunity really mean? It has to do with “the figure of the proper” (Esposito) and possessive individualism (Macpherson). With his analysis of possessive individualism formulated in the early 1960s, Canadian political theorist C.B. Macpherson critiques modern liberal-democratic theory (Hobbes, Locke) claiming that it fails to understand its possessive quality. This possessive quality

is found in its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his 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. (Macpherson 1962, 3)

This possessive individual is defined by property, "that what belongs to me: my identity, my ethnicity, my land." Each of these spheres turn into "a form of property that must be immunized, often in contradictory ways, from external appropriation" by producing boundaries and exclusionary mechanisms." (Bird and Short 2013, 7).

In order to be immunized, the modern individual surrounds itself with boundaries, it protects itself, it isolates itself. The mechanism of immunization, therefore, tries to minimize contagion and to reach invulnerability by erecting exclusive mechanisms against any foreign element that appears to threaten from outside.[50]

But this immunity only works if the individual frees itself from the obligations it has towards others. These obligations and moral debts to be in relationships with others present a kind of contamination, claims Esposito.

Boxing and Unboxing calendar, 2018

This is where “boxes” come into play, as boxing is not only a martial art but also an activity of putting things into a container to protect them from humidity, from dirt and dust, from outside influences. By doing so, immunization takes place which protects the inside from the outside. The possessive individual (inside the box) must protect itself from everything outside of the box and must not enter into any connection to the outside (the other) in order to achieve immunity.

Roberto Esposito has made an interesting discovery. He explains how the word “munus”, which is contained in both immunitas as well as in communitas, combines these two concepts. The Latin word munus has two meanings, firstly obligation and secondly protection. The verb “munio” means to fortify, to protect, and secure. But munus means also “duty” and Esposito emphasizes that a community based entirely on protection misses out on the most significant aspect of a community. For him, as Isabel Lorey explains, the meaning of community "lies in the fact of sharing certain dues and precisely not in erecting walls for the protection of one’s own. [...] Munus is here understood as a gift that one must not refuse, as an obligation, a compulsory mutual debt, as a duty that connects." (Lorey 2013, 261)

The particularity of this understanding of community is that the giving and sharing create a dependency on others, a mutual debt, and consequently, as Esposito argues, dispossession.

Community, he proposes, is exactly "what is not one's own". Community can only be experienced as a "loss, removal, or expropriation". (Esposito 2013, 48–49). Therefore such understanding of community rather voids one's identity rather than fulfills it. The common, according to Esposito, is not characterized

by what is proper, but by what is improper, or even more drastically, by the other, by a voiding, be it partial or whole, of property into its negative; by removing what is properly one's own that invests and de-centers the proprietary subject, forcing him to take leave of himself, to alter himself. (Esposito 2010, 7).[51]

Now it becomes clear how the activity of boxing (the wrapping, protecting) and boxing as a martial art (a bodily dialog) and unboxing (an activity to cut up protective boundaries) relate to concepts of community, immunity, and the figure of the proper. While Esposito's ideas sound rather theoretical with regard to a bunch of self-defining women throwing boxing punches at each other, they help to understand and articulate the sport's transgressive nature: to expose oneself to hitting 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 psychoanalytical perspective.[52] 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.

Wrap-Up (Boxing and Unboxing)

In this reflection on the performative project Boxing and Unboxing I showed how sparring could be a method to learn bodily negotiation, which is not aiming for victory or defeat. I described how the liberating experience to be in the moment on the mat created an almost utopian space of an identity-suspended physical encounter (undoing boxes). I detailed the effects of making myself vulnerable and suspending my immunity, creating an extraordinary sense of community. Theorizing these discoveries with Esposito's thinking around the relationship between immunity and community, I see potential in the Boxing and Unboxing experiment to serve as a technique for unlearning the building blocks of possessive individualism and for making more porous the borders of our "proper" self that we elsewhere seek to protect.

What's next

The purpose of this chapter 05*Reflection and theorization of projects is to unpack the complexities and contradictions of each of the practice projects through a process of reflection. This is to establish what the practice experiments did and how they potentially contribute to a critical understanding of the micro-politics at play when we create and share knowledges under institutional conditions. This chapter reflects on the tactics developed within the practices/experiments by attempting to “do things differently”. It assesses what I hoped to achieve, what was possible to achieve. It lays out the blockages and contradictions that emerged while wrestling with systems of validation, authorship and ownership, the concept of the "finite" discrete object, and the authority these discrete objects produce.

The following chapter 06*Analysis will revisit the initial research questions and distil a range of topics, struggles, and double-binds that emerge from the five practice projects. It also analyzes the fact that this PhD submission is a form of publication in its own right, and the experiment with using a wiki as publishing method that to some extent challenges the dominant assumption that a PhD is an individually authored, original contribution to knowledge.

Notes (Reflection, theorization of projects)

  1. "SCUB Manifesto" invokes Valerie Solanas' "SCUM Manifesto", known as the "Society for Cutting Up Men". Remedes published the manifesto in the inaugural issue of LTTR (Lesbians to the Rescue), an annual publication by the feminist genderqueer artist collective consisting (in different constellations) of Ginger Brooks Takahashi, K8 Hardy, Emily Roysdon, Ulrike Müller, and Lanka Tattersal. (Remedes 2002).
  2. This conversation took place on July 8, 2015 at Chelsea College of Art and Design during Study Day – Why Publish?, the University Gallery and Archives, a joint research by Joyce Cronin (Afterall), Karen Di Franco (Chelsea Space) and Eva Weinmayr (AND Publishing). Funded by Curriculum Development, Student Enterprise and Employability (SEE), University of the Arts, London.
  3. OOMK (One Of My Kind) is an art collective and biannual publication run by Heiba Lamara, Sofia Niazi, and Rose Nordin. OOMK ZINE explores themes surrounding women, art and activism engaging particularly with the work of women of color and faith. See The Library Was (OOMK 2017).
  4. It is interesting to observe that the printed posters and their online versions that circulated in my immediate environment at HDK-Valand triggered much interest and, therefore, contributions. The shared interests of the community of practice at the art academy were critical as a vehicle for bonding and creating trust. People who already knew me personally or knew about my work felt invited 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.) Besides, a large number of contributions arrived from people who had 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 legitimization.
  5. See also Emily Roysdon and Katie Geha, "Interview with Emily Roysdon." Glasstire, November 11, 2012. https://glasstire.com/2012/11/11/interview-with-emily-roysdon/.
  6. The interview with Ann Butler, Head of Libraries and Archives at the Centre for Curatorial Studies Bard (CCS Bard) was conducted during my visit to the CCS Bard library on September 6, 2017.
  7. Drabinski points here to the contingency of any classification scheme, but her emphasis on the subjective agency of the worker should be treated with some caution, because the subjectivities in question are themselves produced in the same processes. (Drabinski 2008, 198).
  8. Melvil Dewey, Decimal Clasification and Relative Index, page 43. Dewey applied his urge for efficiency also to a proposed spelling reform, as the unusual spelling of this paragraph indicates. He explains in length that as president of the Efficiency Socyety and of the National Institute of Efficiency, and as chairman of the committee of each on "Efficiency in English writn and spokn" there was an "almost unanimous agreement as to imperativ need for radical improvement [...] and a urjent need of speling reform." He identifies that English language has 40 sounds, but over 500 symbols or combinations to represent these 40 sounds, a fact that according to Dewey, cries out for simplification. Likewise Dewey complains that the Webster Dictionary identifies 30 different spellings of the name "Shakespeare". To tackle this "criminal waste of money and skool time" he came up with a long list of rules to simplify the use of vowels and consonants. Dewey also demonstrates clear colonialist tendencies, when he lays out that "English is betr fitted than any other languaj for universal use." Due to its simple grammar, it has all the properties to become the "world languaj." (Dewey 1932, 49–63).
  9. The ten main groups are: 000–099, general works; 100–199, philosophy and psychology; 200–299, religion; 300–399, social sciences; 400–499, language; 500–599, natural sciences and mathematics; 600–699, technology; 700–799, the arts; 800–899, literature and rhetoric; and 900–999, history, biography, and geography. These ten main groups are, in turn, subdivided again and again to provide more specific subject groups. Within each main group, the principal subseries are divided by 10; e.g., the history of Europe is placed in the 940s. Further subdivisions eventually extend into decimal numbers; e.g., the history of England is placed under 942, the history of the Stuart period at 942.06, and the history of the English Commonwealth at 942.063. Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/science/Dewey-Decimal-Classification.
  10. Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan outlines the "Five Laws of Library Science."
    1. Books are for use.
    2. Every reader his [or her] book.
    3. Every book its reader. 4. Save the time of the user.
    5. The library is a growing organism.” (Ranganathan 1931).
    See also David Senior (2008), "Infinite Hospitality"; and Eva Weinmayr (2016) "Library Underground – a reading list for a coming community".
  11. Situated in a different context, one of indigenous knowledge practices, Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2008, xi) provides a crucial critique of potentially exploitative exchange economies of research. Being Maori herself, a people that had been extensively researched by (Western) social scientists, she argues that in the indigenous community tends to prevail a perception that research is "something that is done to people by outsiders and from which there is no apparent positive outcome" for the indigenous community itself. This is to an extent applicable to some instances of artistic practice where the "participation" serves the artist's project rather than the participants, a distinction that is not always clear-cut.
  12. As a historical note, it is interesting that 40 years earlier, not far from the site of the Byam Shaw School of Art in North London, students and staff of Hornsey College of Arts occupied their school in spring 1968 demanding a radical rethinking and reorganization of art education. During this six-day sit-in, students and associated staff took control of 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 May 28, 1968, the Student Action Committee (SAC) called for an all-night meeting over the freezing of Union funds by the school's Bursar. Unlike earlier protests such as against the planned merger with Middlesex University that eventually petered out, this particular call to action resulted in a lengthy sit-in that had could only be ended by police intervention. A multiplicity of papers, declarations, proposals, and requests that were circulated through independent channels and the press originated from these 24-hour meetings ranging from concrete changes on how to run the courses, to the demand for representation in boards and selection committees, to the conceptualization of new learning outcomes. It was a profound and fundamental rethinking of what art education should be, as 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.
    (Students and staff of Hornsey College of Art 1969, 35).
  13. 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 up to three times as many copies of a book as the authorized publishers.
    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, 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. (Alarcón 2010)
    As Alarcón mentions, some texts get abbreviated, a few chapters arbitrarily taken out to save printing costs – without any notice for the reader. The possibility of such unacknowledged modifications triggered our imagination. But Alarcón also describes an interesting tension: On one level, there is a romantic idea of "a poor, developing country with a robust informal publishing industry, the pirate as a 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 hand, there are the pirates' ruthless capitalist operations. Alarcón recounts how the state infiltrated the pirate book markets to control what is being printed. As a cultural artifact, the book has undeniable power, which 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 País – a characterization 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 – making it difficult for Vargas Llosa's publishers to survive economically. As Alarcón states, "over the next few years, book piracy became a project of the state." (Alarcón 2010).
  14. The library space was used for a range of activities – some directly related to printed books, and others not at all – including an artist residency, yoga classes in between the bookshelves, as an assembly room, a chill-out space, for book launches, self-organized lectures, and workshops. Students and staff signed up to work inside the library to avoid that the books be lost and managed a simple book lending scheme.
  15. The Showroom, a publicly funded art space in London, offered to host the PP right after the books had to leave the art school library space. Funded by an Arts Council grant, the PP organized a series of workshops and debates at the Showroom in spring 2013, next to an accessible Piracy Project Reading Room during Showroom opening hours.[1].
  16. I use the term "queer" (from German "quer", meaning "cross") here in its old meaning of something being strange, odd or unusual, something that does not fit into a category and therefore destabilizes the category itself. The verb queering stands here for interfering with, dismantling, destabilizing. This is distinct from the more recent use of the term queer referring to identity categories falling outside the of the gender binary or the heterosexual mainstream.
  17. It might be no coincidence that Roland Barthes’ seminal short essay "Death of the Author" was published in Aspen Magazine in 1967, around the same time when the Xerox photocopy machine has become widely used in libraries and offices. See Eva Hemmungs Wirtén (2004, 57–75).
  18. 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." (Eichhorn 2013, 9).
  19. 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 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, Eva Weinmayr, and an artist project by Burak Delier.
  20. See the Piracy Project catalog: Neil Chapman, Deleuze, Proust and Signs, http://andpublishing.org/PublicCatalogue/PCat_record.php?cat_index=69.
  21. Of course, unconventional publications can and are collected, but these are often more arty objects, flimsy, oversized, undersized, etc., and frequently end up in the Special Collections section, framed and categorized "as different" from the main stack of the collections.
  22. Camille Bondon, Jacques Rancière: le mâitre ignorant, Piracy Project catalog. http://andpublishing.org/PublicCatalogue/PCat_record.php?cat_index=19. Rancière’s pedagogical proposal suggests, that "the most important quality of a schoolmaster is the virtue of ignorance." (Rancière, 2010, 1). In his book The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, Jacques Rancière uses the historical 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, and allowed 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 from the center of the classroom, as the one who knows. This teaching method arguably destabilizes the hierarchical relationship of knowledge (between student and teacher) and, therefore, "establishes equality as the center of the educational process." (Krauss 2017, 113).
  23. One of the more notorious cases includes the litigation between photographer Patrick Cariou and Richard Prince that began in 2009 and took several years – and had an unexpected outcome – that I analyze in the submitted book chapter "Confronting Authorship – Constructing Practices" (Weinmayr 2019).
  24. 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).
  25. The legal concept of fair use has been introduced to allow for copyright exceptions in order to balance the interests of exclusive right holders with the interests of users and the public, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. "In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include – (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." US Copyright Act of 1976, amended 2016, https://www.copyright.gov/title17/.
  26. See Karaganis (2011); and "The Piracy Years", American Assembly, http://piracy.americanassembly.org/.
  27. Femke Snelting (Constant) circulated a letter to the participants of the research project "Interfacing the Law," (Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, 2019) as a response to the Custodians Online letter "In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub" (2015) and Letter "Alexandra Elbakyan to Mr. Robert W. Sweet" (2015). See letters here: http://constantvzw.org/w/?u=https://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Interfacing_the_law.
  28. In an open-ended reader, published in 2014 by AND Publishing, each of the terms was be explored over time 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 [2] is an open-ended book, that develops over time. The first version included a range of essays, while other chapters were still to be written and terms to be explored. It was an attempt to use the publication to initiate thinking and have the thinking feed back into the book. This approach was supported by an inventive funding model. People bought shares in the essay (exploring one of the terms) they wanted to be written and thus financed the prospective author fee. In the end, however, we never managed to publish a further version of this book. We were excited about the idea of ongoingness, but practicalities, the shift of interests, as well as precarity directed our energies to new projects and occupations.
  29. See Hall (2016, 16); and "Etymology of Pirate", English Words of (Unexpected) Greek Origin, March 2, 2012, http://ewonago.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/etymology-of-pirate.
  30. It is important to note that the Piracy Project catalog lists the pirate as the author of the (pirate) book, followed by the source, and the strategy, in order to describe the relationship between the three. Based on the questions the framing and cataloging raised, we organized a cataloging workshop "Putting the Piracy Collection on the shelf" at Grand Union gallery in Birmingham, where we experimented with the help of archivist Karen DiFranco, with new cataloging terms for selected cases in the collection. See https://grand-union.org.uk/gallery/putting-the-piracy-collection-on-the-shelves/.
  31. The choice to group the pirate books according to their modes of distribution was informed by the one-month workshop we organized as part of the Piracy Reading at Kunstverein Munich – researching, visiting, collaborating with independent publishers, bookshops, archives located in Munich that operate off the mainstream and developed alternative ways of distribution. See pamphlet produced by participants of the workshop "One Publishes to Find Comrades", Kunstverein Munich, Nov 2014. See publication documenting this local archive research, http://wiki.evaweinmayr.com/images/7/71/Piracy_Project_Kunstverein_Munich_One_publisheds_to_find_comrades%E2%80%93publication%E2%80%93lres.pdf.
  32. Di Franco (2014, 80) refers to Aby 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 standardization with material that moves across art historical boundaries."
  33. During its first two years the project was embedded into the daily practice of an art college community. It drew inspiration from people regularly popping in, joining the workshops or coming to the lectures. Many incidental chats and encounters took place in the corridors, in the yard or café, which contributed immensely – indirectly and socially – to the project, through daily presence alone. When the library was eventually closed (and converted to offices) we moved the pirated books to The Showroom in London, a publicly funded art space, which is invested in stretching the boundaries of traditional gallery work by focusing on collaborative and process-driven approaches as well as building relationships with local groups in its neighborhood. This one-year residency at the Showroom allowed us to conceptualize a new set of events, apply for funding and get to know the new situation. AND publishing also ran evening self-publishing courses, Working in the Edges, over a couple of months, which helped to connect to and develop publishing practices and discourse in the Showroom community. After the end of the residency, when we were invited by several art institutions to set up temporary reading rooms (mostly for a one-month period), our work tended to become more of a deliverable, a service.
  34. Teaching to Transgress Toolbox (TTTT) is a collaboration between HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design, 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 in which tendencies towards polarization and discrimination in wider society have a perceptible influence on attitudes and behaviors within education more broadly, and in our classrooms in particular. In an attempt to meet these contemporary threats to diversity, questions about pedagogical inclusivity rose to the forefront. Intersectionality asserts that oppressions (based on racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. Critical intersectional feminist pedagogies have, by now, been proven to provide valuable conceptual and practical tools with which to focus on inclusivity. 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 program 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 decolonial approaches can activate and spread embodied and theoretical knowledges. http://www.ttttoolbox.net/.
  35. I borrow this quote by Philippe Kinoo, with a slightly amended translation, from Laurence Rassel's talk at a public seminar at Goldsmiths, London in 2018.
  36. Some recent examples of institutional analysis for contemporary institutions include for the techno-sociological aspects of infrastructure "Affective Infrastructures", Transmediale, Berlin, 2019, https://transmediale.de/content/study-circle-affective-infrastructures. For an analysis of educational institutions via institutional psychotherapy see Laurence Rassel, "Rethinking the art school," a conversation between Laurence Rassel (director, erg, Brussels) and Cornelia Sollfrank (Creating Commons), ZHdK Zürich, 2018, http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/rethinking-the-art-school/. For the broader field of institutional politics from the perspective of art, curatorial, educational, and research practices see How Institutions Think (O'Neill et al. 2017) (building on sociologist Mary Douglas' lecture (1986) with the same title). For "unlearning institutional habits" see Annette Krauss (2017). For the field of small-scale independent (feminist) institutions see Johanna Gustavsson and Lisa Nyberg (2011).
  37. In a meeting with the prefect possible precedents, such as the Serpentine Galleries Marathon in London, were discussed, in case questions were asked by the superordinate university procurement.
  38. While being aware of some administrators' support, it was difficult to receive consistent information on what could and could not be done within the remit of the various academic procurement policies. The information provided was fairly vague. This left us sometimes in a state of uncertainty, constantly guessing, and relying on hearsay. We were always hoping, without really knowing – this created tension within the group as well as with the administration. We found ourselves also affected by anxieties that "this will not be possible" as the inflexibility of the administrative apparatus might not allow it to happen. 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 would breach the Health and Safety regulations of the university. Two days later another administrator brought us – as a gesture of acknowledgment and support – a monstrous squash vegetable grown in her garden to cook for the communal dinner.
  39. 39.0 39.1 In the text "Let's Mobilize Revisited" (Appendix 1) written one year after the event, members of the working group (Rose Borthwick, MC Coble, Andreas Engman, Eva Weinmayr) reflected on process, hopes, and results of the mobilization by commenting on the original text "Mapping the concepts and ways of working for Let's Mobilize" in the Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook (Feminist Pedagogy Working Group 2016, 1–4).
  40. "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 May 1, 2017.
  41. "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 Hdk-Valand, email November 15, 2016.
  42. Impact evaluation, as I will discuss in chapter 06*Analysis, is a complicated and contested matter, as the ongoing controversies around the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK evidence. The problem with impact measurement, whether qualitative (narratives and accounts describing how it benefits the public outside academia) or quantitative (publication metrics or impact factor counting the publication "outputs" of a researcher) is that in both cases evaluation focusses on the published outputs and not on the ways research is being done. Another problem of judging impact in the UK Research Excellence Framework has to do with timing. First, the expectation to be operational or impactful within a short timespan potentially discourages research that might have value in the long term. And second, full-time employees can submit up to four outputs every four years. This time schedule might lead researchers to shy away from riskier research that could take longer or not lead to publication at all.
  43. The activation of historical sources has been important in an attempt to not reinvent the wheel in every new generation, but to build upon what previous generations have already established.
  44. See Aïda Vasquez & Fernand Oury, "Vers une pédagogie institutionnelle" (Paris: Maspero, 1968). Aïda Vasquez & Fernand Oury, "De la classe coopérative à la pédagogie institutionnelle" (Paris: Maspero, 1971). Aïda Vasquez & Fernand Oury, "The educational techniques of Freinet" in Prospects in Education: A Quarterly Bulletin Vol. 1 (Unesco, 1969).
  45. Quoted from a What's App Message Group in 2018, set up for the boxing training United Voices of the World organized, https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/.
  46. See Solstar: https://solstarsports.org/.
  47. Janet O'Shea (2016) goes on to describe sparring as a technique to learn to compete and collaborate at the same time.
  48. See Therese Runstedtler's (2010) in-depth study of the controversies around the canceled fight between African-American world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson and English champion "Bombardier" Billy Wells scheduled at the Earls Court Empress Theatre in London in 1911 that resulted in racial segregation in early twentieth-century British prizefighting. The prospect that Johnson might defeat Wells, the "White Hope", a former soldier in the British Indian Army representing the British Colonial Empire, triggered two kinds of anxieties. "The possibility of a black man shaming white British honor in the heart of the empire" (665) was seen as a potential threat to racial logics of imperialism. Secondly one was cautious to fuel the antagonism between the two races and to encourage colonized peoples to insurrect. A reporter at The Cleveland Gazette declared, "the plain fact was … that the spectacle of a Negro whipping a white man would give too much encouragement to the blacks of the English provinces [colonies], in several of which that country was and is having more or less trouble to keep them subjugated." (The Cleveland Gazette 1911, as cited by Runstedtler) Several national and international campaigns against this fight made Winston Churchill, British Home Office secretary at the time, call the fight off and institute a ban of interracial British Championship fighting until 1947.
  49. From the written feedback we received at the end of the program we understood the importance of providing a safe and accessible space for female boxing since boxing still appears to be a much a male-dominated sport – female boxing was first included in the Summer Olympics in London 2012. Feedback from a participant: "My friend told me about the boxing training and I have always been a little bit interested in boxing since my dad boxes and it just seems really cool to learn how to hit people in a sportsmanlike way (and maybe a little for self-protection and stuff). I have never actually done any boxing since it seems so intense and quite competitive, but from reading the information for Box Me In it seemed laid back and a place where I and other women could spend time learning in a safe space not having to worry about the competitiveness that often comes with men doing sports."
  50. This is true for medical immunity, juridical immunity and, as Isabel Lorey (2013) suggests, for a "constitutive immunity."
  51. Isabell Lorey (2013, 261) summarizes Esposito's notion of Communitas as being "based on a lack, a loss and a “subtraction”: munus always also means minus."
  52. I am borrowing these three terms from artist, psychoanalyst, and feminist theorist, Bracha L. Ettinger (2006, 63–64) 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 unrecognized 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 unrecognized: 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."