2011 - 2012 Publishing Class
Organiser: Casco. Framework : Binna Choi. Co-ordination: Yolande v.d. Heide. Tutorials: Falke Pisano, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Mattin. Guest lecturers: Sam de Groot, Mattin & Anthony Isles, Seth Siegelaub, Hilde de Bruijn. Co-ordinator at the Werkplaats Typografie: Anniek Brattinga. Advisors: Karel Martens, Armand Mevis. Commisioned by the Dutch Art Institute.
Publishing Class is a two year programme designed for the Dutch Art Institute by Casco Office for Art, Design and Theory, delving into the act of publishing through and within artistic practice in close examination of shifting artistic practice and its forms. Towards recognizing the trajectory of this programme we ask:
Who, in the process of publishing, are the agents, and what stakes are involved? Given the typical (small) scale of artistic publication and considering that a radical effect of publication is the production of the public, what can we consider as publishing's social and political role? At the root of these questions, it is proposed here to interrogate the question of who publishes and for what? Where do these questions position artists and their motives? In light of such questions, perhaps it is useful to consider that there is such a thing as a publishing class (related to the so-called creative class). If the banner (a banner being a form of publication, a sign) of the creative/publishing class is taken up as a position by artistic practitioners, what and/or who is this for/against? After all, signs are born out of conflict—the need to identify and distinguish. Through the act of artistic publishing is it possible to get a sense of this position, and where might we situate an antagonism?
This class proposes to investigate production and distribution as the sites of this inquiry. Every Monday of the DAI week for the first year of the programme is dedicated to publishing the monthly – impromptu – journal produced within the context of Publishing Class and edited by the group of first year DAI students as a collaborative endeavour. This journal will feature an article on the monthly guests for the programme, a report on the DAI Week, a review of new book acquisitions for the DAI library and a section that reflects on the students’ practice in light of the notion of praxis. Every issue of the journal will take different forms and approaches to the sections with different editorial approaches in which the students interchange their roles over the seven different issues, including editor in chief, designer, copy-editor, authors per four sections, producers and so on.
Also, on each Monday evening of DAI week, different artists along with their partners & co-actors in publishing—including designers, publishers, bookshop owners, distributors, printers—will give talks and presentations to share their takes on these questions. In the daytime, prior to the public evening lecture, a workshop for DAI-students with the featured guests will be held.
Observations from this year's New York Art Book Fair offer that artistic publishing is seeing an upsurge in activity and interest in spite of the impending dematerialization of publishing, and in spite of symptoms of the crisis of dematerialized capital. Could it be then that the claim that “print is dead” is exposed as merely the fading whisper of a class of mass-publishers/mass-public? What space then remains in the wake of the modern publication? What resources and relations can be mobilized to fill that space? Is the evident interest in alternative forms of exchange displayed at the NYABF a response? Is it adequate? Besides, what are we referring to when we say 'artistic publishing?' Does it have something to do with the scale of production and publicity? Or is this a qualitative differentiation? Perhaps these questions are more inter-related than we might assume.
Furthermore, if art intends to engage with the public realm and the formation of discourse, how does the act of publishing differ in its effectiveness from other forms of public activity such as exhibiting, performing and presenting? What are the conditions for the publicness and visibility of our times? In such an environment, what medium, shapes and strategies are often taken up for artistic publishing, and why?
This side of the investigation will include the following questions: In what ways have the conventional roles in publishing been vertically integrated as a result of the production possibilities of digital technology (i.e. several roles being collapsed into a single actor), and what effect has(could) this had(have) on notions of disciplinary categories and the cultural economy? What kind of discourse or affect does the making public of artistic practices through publications generate? What are other forms of publishing available besides publications? In what way might these actors around art publishing deal with a market logic without a capitulation of its ‘practice’ to it?