Azimuts 40-41 – Design Research Journals. A Panorama

September 30th, 2014

Despite the impression given by its format and density, the central dossier of the bilingual Azimuts 40-41 – Design Research Journals. A Panorama has a quite modest objective: the provision of an initial survey of journals devoted to design research. Rather than approaching design research frontally, the editorial team has investigated one of the modes of expression favoured by research: the periodical, the supposed paragon and yardstick of academic excellence. However, as could be expected, this castling alone were insufficient to avoid all danger; fundamental issues concerning research made a rapid return to the surface. What place should be given to theory in an activity in which practice predominates in fact and by rights? Why in the field of research should writing replace actual practice? Can design research be solely descriptive or meta-descriptive and thus be reduced to a more or less scholarly commentary of practice? This led to the question: why should design research adopt the paradigm of scientific discourse when design can also be considered as being an artistic, technical, political, ethical or critical project?

Journals involved: AA Files, Ark & Arc, Back Cover, Collection, Communication & langages, Design et Culture, Design Issues, The Design Journal, Design Studies, Design Philosophy Papers, Digital Creativity, Dot Dot Dot, Emigre, Graphic, International Journal of Design, Information Design Journal, Journal of Design History, Mode de recherche, Oase, Terrain, Typography Papers, Visible Language, Wildproject.

The best American book of the 20th century

September 30th, 2014

The best American book of the 20th century, a project by artist cooperative Société Réaliste, and designed by Project Projects, consists of the first sentence of the first best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the second sentence of the second best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the third sentence of the third best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the fourth sentence of the fourth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the fifth sentence of the fifth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the sixth sentence of the sixth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the seventh sentence of the seventh best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the eight sentence of the eight best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the ninth sentence of the ninth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the tenth sentence of the tenth best-selling book of 1900, as listed; the eleventh sentence of the first best-selling book of 1901, as listed; and so on up to the end of the century, to the thousandth sentence of the tenth best-selling book of 1999.
As ‘The Best American Book of the 20th Century’ travels through the textual materiality of an entire century of mass-produced literature, it suggests intertextual relationships between the narratives of American fiction. Since a multitude of changes in time and culture converse in the book, the project transverses the usual, formal standards of language, questioning power dynamics between reader and writer.

Posted in Art, Books

EAST VILLAGE EYE – SYMPOSIUM

September 18th, 2014

From May 1979 to January of 1987, the East Village Eye, a monthly magazine of popular and avant garde culture, exerted a profound influence that eventually reached across the entire world.
Coverage in the Eye resulted in development of several key “scenes” that eventually evolved into movements felt all over the planet. Some credit the Eye with creating the East Village art scene, which nurtured legendary talents such as Keith Haring and David Wojnarowicz, while the Eye’s coverage of other emerging New York artists such as Sue Coe, Barbara Kruger and Kiki Smith helped illuminate the psychosocial conflicts running through the contemporary brain. Many such artists made work specifically for publication in the Eye.
When hip hop started to emerge from the ghettoes of New York, the Eye was there with early stories on historical figures like Afrikaa Bambaataa, Fab Five Freddy, Futura 2000, Run DMC, the Rock Steady Crew and many others. How early? The East Village Eye was the first publication ever to print the words “hip hop”.

The mini-symposium entitled “How Hip Hop Came Downtown”, September 18 from 6pm at
Printed Matter in New York, will cover the process in which members of New York’s media and fine art communities brought rap music, graffiti art and breakdancing from the inner-city ghettos to a wider audience that has since spread across the world. Leading this discussion will be Eye publisher/editor Leonard Abrams, scholar Yazmin Ramirez, musician and multimedia artist Michael Holman, and the celebrated artist and media figure Fab 5 Freddy. Plus special guest appearances!

Posted in Periodicals

Roma Publications 1998 – 2014

September 17th, 2014


Installation shot Bremen, ROMA PUBLICATIONS 1998-2012, Research Centre for Artists’ Publications, Weserburg, Bremen, 2012

Roma Publications 1998 – 2014 is an exhibition that includes over 230 books and editions published by Roger Willems and Mark Manders in collaboration with a large number of artists, writers and designers.

A publication is typically the end point of a project or exhibition; this exhibition, however, takes the printed format as its point of departure. Books, newspapers, posters and other printed matter are combined with artworks and installations relating to the publisher’s identity inside an exhibition dimension. The informal way of bringing art and publications together in a carefully composed exhibition gives clear insight into the working process of Roma Publications, which is based on a collaborative relationship to the artists. Another interesting element of this hybrid approach is that it questions the sometimes thin line between an original and a reproduction, and thus between the exclusiveness of an artwork and the democratic nature of a publication.

The exhibition aims to present the form of the book as an extended media that can involve the exhibition space. Some of the invited artists will contribute to the fading of the distinction between paper and space, image and material, original and reproduction (the print run of Roma Publications’ issues varies between 2 and 150.000 copies). Many of these practitioners use the book and printed matter as a central medium in their work, underlining not only the important role of publications to diffuse artistic production, but also in the rethinking of the book medium as an artistic practice.

The independent art publisher Roma Publications, founded in 1998 by artist Mark Manders and graphic designer Roger Willems, works in collaboration with artists, designers, writers and institutions. For the exhibition at the Fondazione Giuliani, from October 11 to December 13 in Rome, the entire in-progress list of over 230 titles will be on display, in addition to a specially created reading room in which visitors can peruse each of the publications. Several new commissions and site-specific artworks will also be included in the exhibition, together with pre-existing works, all by artists who have actively collaborated with and participated in the activities of Roma Publications. With the exception of just two artists, all of these artists will be exhibiting in Rome for the first time, some for the first time in Italy.

Curated by Lorenzo Benedetti and Roger Willems. With contributions by Gwenneth Boelens, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Marlene Dumas, Geert Goiris, Kees Goudzwaard, Sara van der Heide, Arnoud Holleman, Rob Johannesma, Jan Kempenaers, Irene Kopelman, Bart Lodewijks, Mark Manders, Marc Nagtzaam, Oksana Pasaiko, Petra Stavast, Batia Suter, Raymond Taudin Chabot, Wouter van Riessen, and may others.
On Saturday 11th October, from 11am to 1pm, the Foundation will host a musical performance by Wouter van Riessen, a reading by Nickel van Duijvenboden and an informal conversation with the curators and some of the artists in the exhibition.

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2013 – catalogue

September 16th, 2014

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books on an annual basis recognizes excellence in the field of book design and production, as well drawing attention to remarkable and contemporary books by Swiss designers, printers and publishers.

For the catalogue, designers Julien Tavelli and David Keshavjee of Maximage took the idea of the test print to its extreme by subjecting various pages of the book to continuously changing parameters. The result is highly varied, for example, using CMYK and Sixplex printing, matt varnish or no varnish, etc. The various treatments and methods are intermixed with different screening criterions as well. Particularly attractive to those in the industry, such as designers, printers and lithographers, it will also appeal to students and anyone who appreciates visually strong books that are conceptually sophisticated at the same time.

The exhibition is on display until December 13, 2014, at the Centre cultural suisse in Paris, and from September 25 to October 11, 2014, at ECAL, Galerie l’elac in Renens.

Posted in Books, Graphic Design

The Library Vaccine

September 11th, 2014


View of Vigilance: An Exhibition of Artists Books Exploring Strategies for Social Concern Curated by Lucy R. Lippard and Mike Glier; Franklin Furnace, 1980; Courtesy Mike Glier.

The Library Vaccine, from September 25 to November 9 at Artists Space in New York, is an exhibition that presents a number of discrete collections of books in order to sample art’s distinctive relationship to the book form in its singularity, and in its states of reproduction, distribution and accumulation. The exhibition addresses the book as a particular technology, and in its collective state of the private collection, reading room or library, as a social machine – registering social and personal histories, and articulating structures of knowledge and value through the relations between its parts.
Each section of the exhibition presents a collection that loosely corresponds to a decade between the 1960s and the present day, yet it does not seek to survey a recent history of books in or as art; rather it takes the tension between book-as-text and book-as-object as a starting point. The exhibition marks a movement from the egalitarian, curative aspirations of the book as distributed artwork, to these aspirations’ subsumption within broader tendencies towards collecting, archiving and the re-circulation of knowledge.
Some sections of the exhibition revolve around curatorial or editorial frameworks that highlight artists’ use of the book form, while others focus on the collection or library as a holistic entity. In these contexts the act of collation emphasizes shifts between the private and the common, the artwork and the artifact. The roles of artist, publisher and collector are seen to overlap, and the sequenced content of both the individual book and the massed collection provides sites for the production and articulation of meaning. In each instance, the mode of physical display of the books is considered as an extension of their individual or collective character.

With The Defaced Library Books of Kenneth Halliwell & Joe Orton; Edition Hansjörg Mayer; Vigilance: An Exhibition of Artists’ Books Exploring Strategies for Social Concern, after an exhibition curated by Lucy R. Lippard and Mike Glier; The Colin de Land Library; Everything is About to Happen: An ongoing archive of artists’ books selected by Gregorio Magnani; & The Library of Helen DeWitt.

Posted in Art, Books, Exhibitions

Rules of Hypergraphy

September 8th, 2014


Roland Sabatier, hypergraphic photograph, excerpt from the novel Gaffe au golf, 1964.

“Hypergraphy” is an artistic practice developed by the Lettrist avant-garde in the 1950′s. They defined it as “introducing into alphabetic writing not only the art of painting, but the graphics of all people or social categories past and present, as well as the graphics or anti-graphics of every individual imagination”.
By means of a timeline drawn by artist Roland Sabatier, the exhibition Rules of Hypergraphy – a project by Paul Gangloff, September 26 to October 5, Extrapool, Nijmegen – shows how the Lettrists situated hypergraphy within the history of writing and painting. It further assembles works by turntablist Marc Matter, (typo)graphic designer Karl Nawrot, graphic designers Our Polite Society and sound poet Jörg Piringer, each of them exemplifying uses of signs and letters that goes beyond writing.
The accompanying publication works as a subtext for the exhibition. It provides further insight into the concept of hypergraphy, but also prolongs the investigation by taking a detour into the relation between the Lettrists and the punks.

Initiales n° 04 – Initiales M.V.

September 5th, 2014

La revue Initiales esquisse les contours d’une galerie de “portraits en creux” en s’organisant autour de “figures-source”, existantes ou fictives.

Le quatrième numéro de la revue s’intéresse à l’utopie “réalisée” de Monte Verità, première colonie artistique d’Europe et communauté “contre-culturelle” avant la lettre composée d’artistes, de mystiques et d’anarchistes qui attira Mikhaïl Bakounine, D.H. Lawrence, les Dadaïstes, Hermann Hesse, James Joyce, Isadora Duncan, Suzanne Perrottet, Paul Klee, Gerhart Hauptmann, Max Weber, Ernst Bloch, etc.

Initiales M.V. pour Monte Veritá, du nom de cette colline du canton du Tessin en Suisse où s’implanta, en 1900 et jusqu’à la fin de la Première guerre mondiale, cette communauté d’artistes et anarchistes pré-hippie.
Un collectif donc, à rebours du travail de décryptage d’une figure unique, puisqu’ici, de l’écrivain Herman Hesse au pyschanalyste Otto Gross, en passant par Dalcroze et Laban, deux théoriciens de l’art chorégraphique, les danseuses Mary Wigman et Isadora Duncan ou encore l’économiste Max Weber, c’est toute une galerie de portraits qui s’offre à nous. Et autant de personnalités diverses, réunies temporairement, le temps d’un projet qui connaîtra ses heures de gloire avant une descente aux enfers parfois mal interprétée.
Autre enjeu majeur, la disparition relative de cet épisode qui échappa longtemps aux radars de l’histoire de l’art, jusqu’à sa redécouverte, à la fin des années 1970, par le commissaire d’exposition Harald Szeemann. Et donc une réflexion plus générale sur la question et la matérialité de l’archive. Installé à Tegna, à quelques kilomètres de Monte Veritá, Szeemann fondera successivement, en 1978, 1983 et 1987, trois musées documentant les vestiges de l’ancienne communauté – dont l’un d’entre eux, construit sur le site de l’ancienne Casa Anatta accueille depuis 1981 l’exposition permanente “Les Mamelles de la vérité”. Curateur et théroricien culte, Harald Szeemann sera l’une des figures à hanter ce projet éditorial. Le contexte politique, économique et idéologique de cette période, qui présente bien des similitudes avec notre époque, constituera également un angle de lecture.

Lancements, le 11 septembre à la Fondation d’entreprise Ricard à Paris, le 16 septembre dans le cadre de la Biennale de la danse à Lyon, et le 17 septembre au Mamco à Genève.

Posted in Art, Periodicals

The Novel That Writes Itself

September 5th, 2014

The Novel That Writes Itself is a finished whole of a novel in progress, initiated in 1978 by the Conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg.

It all begins with the end of a story, the one about the Colby Poster Printing Company that shut down in December 2012, taking with itself an emblematical graphic identity into history. A Colby poster can be easily distinguished from others and bear the stamp “from L.A.”. Multicolored posters with unexpected gradients of flashy, typically Californian colors, the Colby posters, covered with outrageously bold characters, do not respect any typographical rules. Allen Ruppersberg was one of their most faithful and regular customers.

It begins also in 1978, when Allen Ruppersberg has an idea of a work in progress which he would call The Novel That Writes Itself, and which he would make in the shape of a fictionalized autobiography where he would talk of his adventures as a young artist, which he is at the time.
In parallel to this project, he starts to produce aphorisms or enigmatic questions printed on multicolored posters. These posters, the famous Colbys, start to show up at his exhibitions around the middle of the 1980s. He realizes in 1990 that in fact “the novel had written itself” without his knowing. By then, 50 posters had been produced. The Novel That Writes Itself is thus given substance to by Colby Posters through which he shows not only how the characters of his autobiography evolve but also an array of his projects.

The pages of The Novel That Writes Itself, a work whose essentially romanesque nature requires the shape of a book, break away one by one to be put on the walls of galleries or museums. This novel by Allen Ruppersberg takes, in its provisional form, the shape of a renewed installation, enriched with each new presentation. In the footsteps of El Lissitzky who declined the traditional structure of a book by turning its pages into posters, Allen Rupersberg takes a similar approach.

The Novel That Writes Itself finishes to write itself in 2013 with the closing of the Colby Company. Time has come, perhaps, to bring back the classic format of a novel. Allen Ruppersberg, however, has chosen to compensate the constraint of a book by giving it the independence of a poster. The binder holds together a number of separate pages who can keep their original poster-like nature.

Exhibition from September 12 to October 4, 2014, mfc-michèle didier, Paris.

Posted in Art, Books, Exhibitions

Album

September 4th, 2014

Created entirely from found images, ALBUM collects the first ten issues of a zine by the same name begun by artists Eline Mugaas and Elise Storsveen in 2008. Comprised of full page photographic illustrations, advertisements, and other ubiquitous media images culled from etiquette manuals, cookbooks, travel magazines, craft books, fashion magazines, and sexual manuals, ALBUM reflects the popular imagery found in Scandinavian households from the 1960s through the 1980s.
The chosen imagery is then arranged across spreads, creating a sophisticated and humorous reading organized by a series of heavy themes such as the lonely man, femininity, architecture, family, outer space, and nature. While seemingly whimsical, ALBUM provides a sophisticated meta-narrative on the human body, sexuality, and the social lives of images that places the reader in an uncanny arena that showcases how our media likely reads us.
Launch, September 27, 8pm, with Eline Mugaas and Elise Storsveen, during NY Art Book Fair.

Posted in Art, Books