The digital age has changed photography: images circle the globe in seconds and involve us in a conflicted present. Just as in the nineteenth century, when industrialization caused cities to grow in leaps and bounds and reportage emerged as a new form of narrative disseminated by the mass media — a transmitter of urban experience — it is imperative today to come to a renewed understanding of what photographic modalities are appropriate for conveying an image of the world. The publication produced in conjunction with the 7th f/stop Festival for Photography in Leipzig is a passionate plea for a photography that chronicles events: artistic photographs appear next to press images, private snapshots next to historical reportage. For this community of images is what constitutes photography: not one single image but all of them.

Manifestos by artists, authors, editors, publishers, designers, zinesters explore publishing as artistic practice.

Independent publishing, art publishing, publishing as artistic practice, publishing counterculture, and the zine, DIY, and POD scenes have proliferated over the last two decades. So too have art book fairs, an increasingly important venue―or even medium―for art. Art publishing experienced a similar boom in the 1960s and 1970s, in response to the culture’s “linguistic turn.” Today, art publishing confronts the internet and the avalanche of language and images that it enables. The printed book offers artists both visibility and tangibility. Publishing Manifestos gathers texts by artists, authors, editors, publishers, designers, zinesters, and activists to explore this rapidly expanding terrain for art practice.

The book begins in the last century, with texts by Gertrude Stein, El Lissitsky, Oswald de Andrade, and Jorge-Luis Borges. But the bulk of the contributions are from the twenty-first century, with an emphasis on diversity, including contributions from Tauba Auerbach, Mariana Castillo Deball, Ntone Edjabe, Girls Like Us, Karl Holmqvist, Temporary Services, and zubaan. Some contributors take on new forms of production and distribution; others examine the political potential of publishing and the power of collectivity inherent in bookmaking. They explore among other topics, artists’ books, appropriation, conceptual writing, non-Western communities, queer identities, and post-digital publishing. Many texts are reproduced in facsimile―including a handwritten “speculative, future-forward newspaper” from South Africa. Some are proclamatory mission statements, others are polemical self-positioning; some are playful, others explicitly push the boundaries. All help lay the conceptual foundations of a growing field of practice and theory.

Contributors
AND Publishing, Oswald de Andrade, Archive Books, Art-Rite, Rasheed Araeen, Tauba Auerbach, Michael Baers, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Ricardo Basbaum, Derek Beaulieu, Bernadette Corporation, Riccardo Boglione, Bombay Underground, Jorge Luis Borges, bpNichol, Kate Briggs, Broken Dimanche Press, Eleanor Vonne Brown, Urvashi Butalia, Ulises Carrión, Mariana Castillo Deball, Paul Chan, Chimurenga, Arpita Das, Anita Di Bianco, Guy Debord, Constant Dullaart, Craig Dworkin, Ntone Edjabe, Zenon Fajfer, Marina Fokidis, General Idea, Annette Gilbert, Girls Like Us, Gloria Glitzer, Marianne Groulez, Alex Hamburger, Karl Holmqvist, Lisa Holzer, Mahmood Jamal, Tom Jennings, Ray Johnson, David Jourdan, Sharon Kivland, Kione Kochi, Kwani?, Bruce LaBruce, Tan Lin, El Lissitzky, Alessandro Ludovico, Sara MacKillop, Steve McCaffery, Jonathan Monk, Simon Morris, Mosireen, León Munoz Santini, Takashi Murakami, Deke Nihilson, Aurélie Noury, Johnny Noxzema, Clive Phillpot, Michalis Pichler, Seth Price, Riot Grrrl, Carlos Soto Román, Allen Ruppersberg, Joachim Schmid, Oliver Sieber, Paul Soulellis, Matthew Stadler, Gertrude Stein, Paul Stephens, Hito Steyerl, Mladen Stilinovic, Katja Stuke, Temporary Services, Nick Thurston, TIQQUN, Elisabeth Tonnard, V. Vale, Eric Watier, Erik van der Weijde, Lawrence Weiner, Eva Weinmayr, Jan Wenzel, Stephen Willats, Gil J Wolman, zubaan

Copublished with Miss Read: The Berlin Art Book Fair

The starting point for Liner Notes is about bookmaking, Leipzig, for example, “was a series of books produced in recent years by book-makers who have studied at the Academy of Graphic Arts and Book Art. The editors Markus Dreßen, Lina Grumm, Anne Koenig and Jan Wenzel were not interested in the connection between these book-makers, not the construction of a school, but the very different approaches and attitudes that are visible in the books. What does it mean to design a book? In fictional dialogues and in conversation logs, in which bookmakers talk in detail about the development process of one of their books, “Liner Notes” investigates this question. The result is a reflection in the medium: a book made from books and whose use is to give ideas for new books.

Rewind Forward by Olaf Nicolai (*1962 in Halle) received the 2003 Golden Letter from the Stiftung Buchkunst for being the “most beautiful book in the world.” His new artist’s book was once again designed in collaboration with Markus Dressen and Jan Wenzel. Nicolai’s installation Coral Gardens and Their Magic (2007) serves as the starting point for the publication. This field of ethnological research was “invented” by anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, who published a study of the same name in 1935. Nicolai opens up to question Malinowski’s thesis that it is possible to objectively describe a society and relates it to socio-cultural developments in recent history. Over the course of a three-year research period, during which he explored associations between social utopias, modernist stylistic elements, and considerations on an “ideology of forms,” the artist developed a cross-genre installation comprising architecture, sculpture, animated films, and new contemporary-music compositions. The accompanying text is the result of the collective work of a team of authors.

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