Image - Exhibition


Wir publizieren

– Editing, Design, Production and Distribution of Independent Swiss Magazines since 1960


20 December 2019 – 2. February 2020

Opening 19 December 2019, 19.00


Kunsthalle Bern, Helvetiaplatz 1, 3005 Bern


Self-publishing has become a common feature of the digital age. Most online content can now be shared by a simple click on the upload button. At the same time, our control of social media and their infrastructure is much diminished, as is our control of any elements that are essential to a considered publishing practice. Against this backdrop, numerous exhibitions and the rise of new independent bookshops illustrate renewed and increased interest in short-run print media and/or underground networks. Of great importance in this context are fundamental decisions about the design, formatting and distribution of printed publications.

The exhibition, «Wir publizieren», is a joint research project of the School of Art and Design at the University of the Arts Bern (HKB) in Switzerland, and of the Art and Design Department at the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany. Focusing on independent, collective practices in publishing, reproduction and distribution, the exhibition follows on to «Unter dem Radar. Underground- und Selbstpublikationen 1965–1975». The show was presented at the Weserburg in Bremen in 2015/16, with a substantial companion publication issued by Spector Books in 2017.



The project draws on an archive of independent and mostly Swiss publications from the 1960s onwards, which has been created, curated and studied at HKB. The archive contains magazines produced and published by young people, designers, artists, and social agitators termed Bewegte, who explored ways of sharing their thoughts without applying any professional filters. Little consideration, if any, was given to target audiences or mainstream mediation and dissemination methods, leading to unconventional and idiosyncratic topics and treatments of many texts in magazines such as Hofnachrichten, Eisbrecher or Alpenzeiger.

Featured in this exhibition are the archive’s current holdings of around 500 publications that range from art and culture to politics and social movements. Magazines and distribution structures, current research and early results are presented; two questions are explored: What evidence is there for an increased interest in print media? How have topics, approaches, aesthetics and attitudes changed in independent publishing since the 1960s – and why?

Within the framework of the exhibition, regular public talks are held with designers, artists, authors and editors of the publications from the collection, who explore questions of self-organisation, role assignments, orientation, distribution, financing, cooperation and self-empowerment.



Image - Events


Conference 16–17 January 2020


Kunsthalle Bern, Helvetiaplatz 1, 3005 Bern


Thursday, 16 January 2020, 19.00

Lecture by Nicholas Thoburn


Friday, 17 January 2020, 14–19.00

Contributions by Jan-Frederik Bandel, Annette Gilbert, Urs Lehni, Olivier Lebrun, Eva Weinmayr, working group «Wir publizieren», a.o.

Image - Collection


The archive being created at Bern University of the Arts covers the fields of art, culture, politics, and social movements but is not limited to them. The focus is on projects that are commissioned by artists, in which they create social bonds, connections, and spaces that promote the collective.

The magazines are stored in the media library, digitally reproduced and preserved. However, the task of an archive is not passive but dynamic. The archive creates context. Assembling does not only mean procuring objects but also maintaining existing links and building new ones, for example between underground publications, magazines by artists, political magazines, and post-digital projects. 

You can find a preliminary list of our collection here.



«There is no place for the dissemination of knowledge associated with bookmaking and publishing in context. Art academies teach the design of books; universities of applied sciences teach booksellers how to sell books; German studies teaches how to edit texts. But where is publishing taught?»

Spector Books, Applied Publishing Studies, Sitterwerk, 10 May 2014


Other publics
Lucie Kolb

The «Wir publizieren» project is building a collection of independent publications at the HKB. It contains magazines by artists, activists which are characterized by the search for a form, by expressing something without a professional filter and by not primarily thinking of mediation, translation or a specific target group when writing content. Thus the texts in magazines such as Hofnachrichten, Eisbrecher, Art Power and others are formally idiosyncratic and the choice of the subject sometimes surprising. Often our language in the descriptions of our work, essays, applications are unconsciously oriented to professional or disciplinary conventions. These conventions are shaped by certain notions of gender, social class, and ethnic background, which always produce specific exclusions. By reading and discussing contributions in independent publications and writing our own texts, we aim to raise awareness of such conventions and encourage people to find languages that can produce a different sociality than a market-determined public. The Y-Toolbox is conceived as a preparation for an exhibition on the subject of «publishing» in December 2019 at the Kunsthalle Bern.

Y toolbox


We publish…
now as a movie…
Asli Serbest, Tania Prill

The seminar will redefine the relationship between print and film media. It will produce different connections, stories and translations between the two media and – in space – set them in motion. The aim is to transform a series of underground publications for the Swiss exhibition into different media, i.e. to translate printed, drawn and bound paper objects into moving images. 

Translation does not only mean showing and archiving originals in video copies, but also the confrontation of both media. This confrontation can be chaotic, romantic, geometric, or (un-)symmetrical. It always maintains the visibility of both media. Translation relates publication and film; it can also bring in excluded and lost ideas, ways of thinking and perception. It can invent languages, develop hybrid constellations and experiment with unusual formations. Finally, translation will produce its own space, between magazine and film, with new and for new narrative modes. Although our seminar will focus on the concrete occasion of the Bern exhibition, it will also examine in an exemplary manner how books and printed publications could be curated and shown in exhibitions. 

University of the Arts Bremen (HfK)
Seminar BA / Ma Integrated Design
Summer semester 2019


Wir publizieren
Archive visits, guest lectures, discussions
Lucie Kolb

The focus is on the joint, self-organised publication of magazines. Whether in printed or digital form, the publication of periodicals is always a collective work because it combines different competencies such as writing, designing, distributing, and publishing. Publishing not only makes something public; it also forms groups as ties are established and friends and enemies are created. The magazine is therefore not just a place for the reproduction of images and texts but also a place for the production of social constructs. The workshop introduces the history of self-publication from this perspective. With a focus on Bern, we will look at various projects whose initiators have decided to circulate their content themselves. To this end, we will make excursions, for example visiting the archives of the Kunsthalle Bern and the Swiss National Library, where documents from the nonconformism, Fluxus, and anti-psychiatry movements can be found. We will sift through cases together, read and discuss – but also talk to people who now publish themselves – and ask about the motivations and visions associated with this practice.

Bern University of the Arts
Y Toolbox

Wir publizieren
Seminar in History of Visual Communication
Robert Lzicar

We will deal with the content, form, production, and distribution of historical publications from the collection of «Wir publizieren». Students will select one of the magazines, research historical data, facts, and connections, develop a question out of their interest, answer it in the form of a story, and present it in words and pictures as a contribution to the exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern at the end of 2019. This process will be enriched by inputs and discussions with guests from the project group, experts, and contemporary witnesses. The workshop will also contribute to critically rethinking contemporary forms of self-publication and placing them in a broader historical context, thus counteracting creative nostalgia and unconsidered appropriation of stylistic elements. 

Bern University of the Arts
Seminar in BA Visual Communication
Spring semester 2019

Image - People


Franziska Bauer

Graphic designer, artist, self-publisher and gender-queer activist. She is part of the multimedia art collective ELAF. Among others, they held a four-part exhibition at Debatterie by thealit/Bremen Nov 2018 with variations on the topic of abjection. They are part of the Dynamic Archive Project launching in Summer 2019. Franziska Bauer is also co-editor, writer and graphic designer of the annual self-published, queer-feminist maga_zine Purple Scare.

Lukas Cvitak

studies Integrated Design, at the University of the Arts Bremen. He deals with interdisciplinary projects at the interface between design areas such as Moving Image, Graphics, Product and Installation Space.

Lucie Kolb

Artist, author and editor of the magazine Brand-New-Life. In 2017, she did her doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in artistic publishing strategies since 1960. She works at the Institut für Experimentelles Design und Medienkulturen Basel in the research project «Institutions as a Way of Life» on the legacy of institutional critique, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She publishes regularly on self-publishing, education, and art criticism, most recently the monograph «Study, Not Critique» (transversal texts 2018). 

Lara Kothe

She studied graphic design with a focus on editorial design and typography in Hamburg. In 2016 she published the award-winning book «das Lethe-Kompendium», which has been exhibited several times worldwide. In this book, she acted as editor, author, artist, curator, and graphic artist and devoted herself to publishing as an artistic practice. After stays in Amsterdam and Berlin, she now works in the studio of Bern University of the Arts in Switzerland. Since 2017, she has also been studying for her master’s in Design Research at Bern University of the Arts, where she is an associate researcher in the research project «Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited» and researcher in the field of Design History.

Robert Lzicar

Designer, professor, and researcher. He is based at Bern University of the Arts, where he teaches design history, directs the MA Design course, and coordinates the Research Field Design History. He organised the symposium «Mapping Graphic Design History in Switzerland» (2014), edited a publication of the same name with Davide Fornari (Triest, 2016), and is co-coordinating the research project «Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited», funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Sinergia programme (since October 2016).

Tine Melzer

She studied Fine Arts and Philosophy in Amsterdam, received a studio scholarship at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, and earned her doctorate in England. She combines the philosophy of language with visual means and publishes books. From 2004 to 2009 she was a lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam and did regular exhibitions and publications at home and abroad. Since 2014 she has been a lecturer at Bern University of the Arts (Y Institute, Design, and Art: Fine Arts).

Daniela Mirabella

She works as a freelance graphic designer at the Atelier Mirabella-Morganti in Zurich, mainly for clients from the cultural and educational sectors. She teaches in the Department of Design at Zurich University of the Arts and works there in the Graphic Design Collection of the Museum für Gestaltung. She has been studying for her master’s in Design Research at Bern University of the Arts since 2017.

Tania Prill

is a graphic designer (Studio Tania Prill, Zurich) and heads the HfK Master Studio «School of Visual Combinations». Recent publications: «Under the Radar – Underground- and Selfpublications 1965–1975« (2016, ed. with Annette Gilbert and Jan-Frederik Bandel), «Typografie als künstlerisches Ereignis» (2016, ed. with Michael Glasmeier), «MONEY» (2015, with Alberto Vieceli and Sebastian Cremers). Tania Prill was Professor of Communication Design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (HfG) and has been Professor of Typography at the Hochschule der Künste Bremen (HfK) since 2010, where she coordinates the AIP Archive of Independent Publishing.

Rejane Salzmann

Studies at the School of Visual Combinations, MA Studio Integrated Design, University of the Arts Bremen.

Studio Harris Blondman

The award-winning graphic design studio of Harry Bloch and Joris Landman. The Swiss-Dutch studio combines classic editorial and design knowledge with new media expertise and creative coding and works at the cutting edge of graphic tradition and digital experimentation.

Saskia van der Meer

studied integrated design at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen with a focus on graphics and moving images. Since 2019 she has worked as a freelance graphic designer and teaches integrated design at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen.

Andreas Vogel

An art historian with a doctorate in late-absolutist urban planning, curator, critic, text and cultural worker. Activities at various museums, including 1999/2000 as curator of the Kunstverein in Konstanz. From 2001–2015 he worked in different management positions at the F+F School for Art and Media Design in Zurich, from 2011 as its rector. Since 2015 he has been Head of the Department of Design and Art at Bern University of the Arts. Vogel was a member of the Art Commission of the City of Zurich from 2006 to 2014, a member of the jury of the Guggenheim Foundation from 2013 to 2018 and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bern Design Foundation since 2016.




Image - Call


This call aims to open the archive of independent publishing which is being set up at Hochschule der Künste Bern to those who wish to contribute to the history of independent publishing in Switzerland through personal, political, social, or artistic publications. 

What do we seek?

Independent serial publication projects since the 1960s with a focus on Switzerland (all printing techniques, websites, mailing lists).

What will happen to them?

As many publications as possible will be digitally reproduced and made publicly accessible and searchable.

The physical publications can be included in the multimedia library at any time or returned at the end of the project.

The Department of Conservation and Restoration of Bern University of the Arts can ensure the preservation of fragile and valuable publications.

How to submit

The publications can be delivered to Bern University of the Arts, sent to us by e-mail or by post (any high shipping costs incurred can be paid after prior agreement).


Bern University of the Arts
Mediothek / Wir publizieren
Fellerstrasse 11
CH-3027 Bern