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Experimental publishing and new archival initiatives

Experimental publishing and new archival initiatives

This online event is free and open to all. Please register your interest to receive the Zoom link here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/experimental-publishing-and-new-archival-initiatives-tickets-228856103767

This panel is the second in a series of events, which draw on historical as well as contemporary references to examine experimental publishing through a range of perspectives, spanning the fields of art, communication design, digital media and software development. This event looks specifically at the ways in which archival initiatives in experimental, grassroots publishing have extended relationships between social and media environments over the past decade. Looking at three specific practitioner-led case studies, the presentations and the subsequent Q&A will consider the breakdown of strict boundaries between activities of publishing and archiving, enabled through the development of new forms of networked, social interactions, and the hybridization of digital and analog contexts. In particular, these case studies will point to convergences between technical and social phenomena which have challenged the status-quo and offered new imaginaries through the availability of cheap and accessible technologies (both hardware and software) to design, produce, distribute and simultaneously archive publications; significant developments in the open source software movement; and the cross-reference to specific ideas from feminist and queer cultural theory, as well as cyberfeminism. This event will contribute to the overall aims of the Experimental Publishing series by highlighting again the importance of new, cross-disciplinary vocabularies to enter traditional discourses in order to adequately further scholarship around experimental and grassroots practices in the publishing field.

Convened by Ruth Blacksell and Lozana Rossenova with contributions from Simon Browne, Ami Clarke and Mindy Seu. The case study presentations include The Bootleg Library, the Digital Archive of Artists’ Publishing, and The Cyberfeminism Index.

Dr Ruth Blacksell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. She leads the Book Design Pathway for the Department’s MA in Communication Design. Her PhD (2013) at the University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture was supported by a concordat scholarship with the British Library and she recently established a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between the University of Reading and Tate Library. Much of her research to date has been concerned with typographic engagements and acts of publishing in post-1960s art and the emergence of a contemporary inter-disciplinary territory which, following this historical and theoretical lineage, utilises and exploits the vocabularies and contexts of both art and editorial design.

Simon Browne is an artist, researcher and self-proclaimed “contingent librarian”, convenient shorthand for an ever-expanding list of actions he performs in his practice. Simon is the initiator of the “bootleg library”, a digital/physical/social collection of texts and the readers collected around them. His work engages with the social dimension of publishing, free software and infrastructure that supports interpersonal knowledge-sharing networks. He lives and works in Rotterdam, where he is active as a member of Varia, a collective-space for everyday technology.

Ami Clarke is an artist working within the emergent behaviours that come off the complex protocols of platform capitalism in everyday assemblages, with a focus on the inter-dependencies between code and language in hyper-networked culture. She is interested in acknowledging, and thinking through, the complexities of the subject emerging in synthesis with their environment, from a critical intersectional position. She is also founder of Banner Repeater; a reading room with a public Archive of Artists’ Publishing and project space on a working train station platform at Hackney Downs station, London. She is also the initiator and artistic director of the Digital Archive of Artists’ Publishing, an online platform that seeks to connect publications and artists across collections.

Lozana Rossenova is a digital designer and researcher. She holds an MA from the Department for Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading, where she was a Sessional Lecturer in hybrid and digital publication between 2016–2021. In 2021, she completed a PhD at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image (London South Bank University) in collaboration with Rhizome, a leading international born-digital art organisation. Her research focuses on open-source and community-driven approaches to digital infrastructures, which organise, store and make knowledge, and different ways of knowing, accessible.

Mindy Seu is a designer and researcher currently writing the manuscript for the Cyberfeminism Index, to be released by Inventory Press in Fall 2022. She holds an M.Des from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a B.A. in Design Media Arts from University of California, Los Angeles. Seu is currently an Assistant Professor at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts and Critic at Yale School of Art.

Credits: The image background uses a source photo from the Banner Repeater instagram account.