Publishing Class I

1 October–6 July 2011 / Casco HQ

Publishing Class is a two year programme ­designed for the Dutch Art Institute / MFA ArtEZ 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? 

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? 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? 

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 endeavor. This journal features 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 – give talks and presentations to share their takes on these questions.  

The programme is primarily for DAI students but open to an interested public. Email Chris Lee for more information. In the daytime, prior to the evening lecture, a workshop with the featured guests will be held. 

Programme 2010/2011 

Nov. 8, 2010 

Zachary Formwalt 
Report from the New York Art Book Fair 

Dec. 6, 2010 

Cohabitation Strategies 
Wendelien van Oldenborgh 
Public Preparation 
(Rael Artel, Jaan Evart and Eva Fotiadi) 

Jan. 12, 2011 

Mounira Al Solh 
98 Weeks (Beirut) 

Jan. 19–22, 2011 

Seeing Studies workshop w/ Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Ashkan Sepahvand in Utrecht (organized in partnership with Casco and Extra City) 

Feb. 14, 2011 

AA Bronson (Printed Matter) 
Day programme 

Mar. 21, 2011 

Chto Delat? (Dmitry Vilensky) 
Melanie Gilligan 

Apr. 18, 2011 

Pro QM (Berlin) 
Section 7 (Paris) 
Luca Frei 

May. 16, 2011 

Zak Kyes (Architectural Association) 
Can Altay 

Jul. 4, 2011 

Curated by Binna Choi and Chris Lee 

Please note that the programme is subject to change!  

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