16-17 January 2020
Kunsthalle Bern, Helvetiaplatz 1, 3005 Bern
Conference as part of the exhibition “We publish”
“At the intersection of literature, art, design, technology, law, politics and economics there is a mixture of practices, processes and institutions in which the little-researched phenomenon of independent publishing takes place.” (Gilbert 2019) The one and a half day conference “We discuss” aims to discuss this phenomenon with the help of lectures, discussions and interventions. We ask ourselves the following questions: How can the interest in self-organised publishing as a political and social practice, and the resulting artefacts, be justified? How can these mostly complex and collective processes be archived and made accessible? What are the requirements for our behaviour today? And how can these be conveyed? The conference is taking place as part of the exhibition “We publish - editing, design, production and distribution of independent magazine formats in Switzerland since 1960” (Kunsthalle Bern, 20 December 2019 - 2 February 2020). Participation is open to the public and is free of charge. The contributions will be recorded on video and published on this website after the conference.
Thursday, 16 January 2020, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Anti-Book: Crisis and Materiality in Political Self-Publishing
Lecture by Nicholas Thoburn (Lecturer in Sociology, University of Manchester) followed by a discussion (in English).
Introduction: Andreas Vogel, moderation: Lucie Kolb
This talk presents a communism of experimental self-publishing, a communism that shifts attention from the content of publishing to publishing’s many and various material forms. These experimental forms, I will argue, are traversed by crisis, wrought as they are from a social terrain coursing with hostile relations of gender, race, and class. The talk takes a ‘post-digital’ approach to publishing, exploring experimental practice from the standpoint of a publishing landscape thoroughly transformed by digital technology and informed by the rich traditions of artists’ publishing. Developing arguments from my Anti-Book, the talk keeps examples of publishing practice at the foreground. It focuses in particular on an anonymously published book of tweets from the 2015 Baltimore uprising against racial terror.
Nicholas Thoburn is Senior Lecturer in sociology at the University of Manchester. He is author of Anti-Book: On the Art and Politics of Radical Publishing (2016) and Deleuze, Marx and Politics (2003), and co-editor of Deleuze and Politics (2008), Objects and Materials (2014), and Franco Berardi’s After the Future (2011). He has published on political theory, media aesthetics, social movements, and architecture, and is on the editorial board of the cultural studies journal New Formations (2019).
Friday, 17 January 2020, 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Irgendwie anders: Nötige Differenzierungen im Spannungsfeld von Anspruch und Wirklichkeit
Lecture by Annette Gilbert (literary scholar, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg) followed by a discussion (in German).
Introduction and moderation: Lucie Kolb
Slogans such as “The Book as Democratic Multiple”, “Publishing as Artistic Practice” or “The Page as Alternative Space” often carry the implicit conviction that independent, collective and/or artistic forms of publishing are so fundamentally different from other publishing, literary and art practices that they can have a liberating, even revolutionary effect on them. Publishing is not only designed as an alternative to the art world and literature, but also explicitly as an alternative to the common models of the book trade. The question is not only whether this promise can always be kept, but also whether this binary opposition can be opened at all.
Annette Gilbert is a literary scholar with a special interest in the mediality and materiality of literature, in phenomena in the border area between art and literature and in the changes in production, publication and distribution practices and the public in the post-digital age. Recent publications: In the blind spot of literature. Borderline cases of literary work since the 1950s (2018); Publishing as Artistic Practice (2016, ed.); Under The Radar. Underground- und Selbstpublikationen 1965–1975 (Underground and self-publications 1965–1975) (2016, ed. With Jan-Frederik Bandel and Tania Prill).
Friday, January 17, 2020, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Archive des unabhängigen Publizierens
Roundtable with Jan-Frederik Bandel (Archive of Independent Publishing Bremen), Rolf Lindner (Archive for Alternative Culture Berlin), Anja Schwanhäußer (author) and Andreas Vogel (Head of the Department of Design and Art, Bern University of the Arts) (in German).
Introduction and moderation: Tania Prill
Three archives that are interwoven in different ways: The Archive of Swiss Independent Periodical Publishing (ASIPP) emerges from the book and exhibition project Projekt Unter den Radar, the core of which is the publications of the Archive of Independent Publishing (AIP). The AIP is a collection of German and international underground and self-publications that has been housed at the Bremen University of the Arts since 2018. Stilrevolte Underground – Die Alternativkultur als Agent der Postmoderne (Alternative Culture as an Agent of Postmodernism) by Anja Schwanhäusser is the first publication in an AIP book series at Spector Books. The book starts with the Archive for Alternative Culture. This estate of the Literary Information Center Josef Wintjes at the Institute for European Ethnology at the Humboldt University in Berlin is a collection of literary, artistic and political archive material from the new social movements in Germany since the 1960s.
The roundtable will discuss the thesis of the book Stilrevolte Underground, which is based on a complicity between subculture and postmodern capitalism. The focus is on the one hand on the publications that played an important role in the constitution of the underground scene, on the other hand on the infrastructures and social places on which independent publishing relies. How have the collaborative and collective work and the public generated by it changed today? And why are there still references to the historical underground these days?
Jan-Frederik Bandel, born in 1977, lives in Leipzig as a lecturer, literary scholar and translator. He studied German language and literature, history and philosophy in Hamburg and Baltimore, doctorate in Berlin. Since 2012, he has been a lecturer at the HfK Bremen. Various book publications, most recently Unter dem Radar. Underground and self-publications 1965–1975 (2017, ed. with Annette Gilbert and Tania Prill).
Rolf Lindner, Prof. i.R. for European Ethnology, Humboldt University Berlin. He was a fellow at the Cultural Studies Institute (KUWI) Essen, at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies Institute (IFK) Vienna and at the Popular Cultures Laboratory at the Institute for Social Anthropology and Empirical Cultural Studies (ISEK) at the University of Zurich. Monographs since 2000: The Hour of Cultural Studies (2000); Walks on the Wild Side. Eine Geschichte der Stadtforschung (2004); Die Entdeckung der Stadtkultur (2007, Neuauflage Campus Bibliothek Klassiker); Berlin, absolute Stadt (2016). (A history of urban research (2004); The discovery of urban culture (2007, new edition of the Campus Library classic); Berlin, absolute city (2016)).
Anja Schwanhäußer is a research assistant at the Institute for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at the University of Göttingen. She publishes on the topics of urban ethnology, underground and field research. She was artistically active at off-theaters and initiated the “HorseArt” group. She is currently researching the “little world” of pony farms in the Berlin suburbs. Current publication: Stilrevolte Underground: Applied Publishing Studies (2019).
Friday, 17 January 2020, 3:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Radical Publishing Practices Demand Radical Librarianship: Perspectives and Framing Under the Disguise of Neutrality
Lecture by Eva Weinmayr (artist, researcher and lecturer) followed by a discussion (in English).
Introduction and moderation: Lucie Kolb
The concept of the library seems to have gained much attention recently. On the one hand, we keep hearing about public library closures across the continent, on the other, we witness much energy and activism in the development and sustenance of shadow libraries, whether physical or online. After all, libraries are spaces that turn marketable goods into public goods. They provide free access to knowledge that would otherwise have to be purchased. However, libraries arguably are also disciplinary institutions. They determine what is validated and legitimised as relevant knowledge and secondly how this material is framed and represented in the catalogue, which as I will claim, constitutes itself a meaning-making structure. As library scholar Emily Drabinski points out, classification schemes «are socially produced and embedded structures, they are products of human labour that carry traces of all the intentional and unintentional racism, sexism, and classism of the workers who create them. It is not possible to do classification objectively. It is the nature of subject analysis to be subjective». Using the Library of Inclusions and Omissions as a starting point I will discuss the political nature of cataloguing and indexing and its implicit dilemma since each standard and category valorises some point of view and silences another.
Eva Weinmayr is an artist researcher and educator investigating the border crossings between contemporary art, radical education and institutional analysis by experimenting with modes of queer knowledge formation. She is co-founder of AND Publishing, a feminist publishing platform and collaborative practice based in London and conducts currently a PhD in Artistic Practice on the Micropolitics of Publishing at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg.
Friday, 17 January 2020, 5:00 - 5:30 pm
Lecture by Tine Melzer (lecturer, Bern University of the Arts) followed by a discussion (in German).
Introduction and moderation: Andreas Vogel
Tine Melzer talks about her practice as an author of autonomous book publications. “Being an artist means being a publicist,” said the Dutch book artist Jan Voss recently. She thinks he’s right. For her, self-empowerment and publication practice are part of artistic expression. Questions of control, audience and translation are of central importance. She uses the conventional form of the physical, printed book to materialize transitions between text and image, saying and showing, thinking and meaning. In teaching, too, she encourages students to work out printed versions of works, even if they are transdisciplinary, ephemeral, fragmentary or unfinished. That is why Melzer bundles each university seminar into final print publications, of which she shows a few examples.
Tine Melzer studied visual arts and philosophy in Amsterdam and received her doctorate in England. Her work combines language philosophy with visual means and autonomous publication formats. She is a lecturer at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern and researches aspects of image, text and transdisciplinary vocabulary.
Friday, 17 January 2020, 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Lecture by Urs Lehni (graphic designer, editor and head of BA Visual Communication, Bern University of the Arts) and Olivier Lebrun (graphic designer and head of BA Graphic Design, ENSBA Lyon) followed by a discussion (in English).
Introduction and moderation: Robert Lzicar
Olivier Lebrun and Urs Lehni are both graphic designers, publishers and involved in art schools as head of a study course. So it stands to reason that they try to link these fields in their teaching in order to test different strategies for the mediation of publishing and to establish alternative models of the production and diffusion of content. In their input they will present some examples from their teaching, such as the magazine Revue Initiales (ENSBA Lyon), the book Bernard Chadebec: Intrus Sympatiques (HfG Karlsruhe) or the publication platform BookBoY (HfG Karlsruhe).
Olivier Lebrun produces editorial projects which focus on the links between content and container. He is the author of Stolen Works of Art (2010), the Pocket Companion to Books from The Simpsons serie (Rollo Press, 2012, 2013, Yellow Pages, 2018) and Bernard Chadebec, Intrus Sympathiques with Urs Lehni and students of the HfG Karlsruhe (Rollo Press, 2016). He’s coordinating the BA Graphic Design at ENSBA Lyon (FR).
Urs Lehni works as a graphic designer in Zurich and has headed the BA Visual Communication at HKB Bern since summer 2019. With his publishing project Rollo Press he has published around 60 titles since 2008 and in 2015 received the renowned Jan Tschichold Prize from the Federal Office of Culture.
Friday, 17 January 2020, 6:15 - 7:00 pm
Learning from Publishing
Roundtable with Lucie Kolb (artist and author), Tania Prill (graphic designer and professor of typography, Hochschule der Künste Bremen) and Robert Lzicar (designer, and head of MA Design, Hochschule der Künste Bern) (in German).
Introduction and moderation: Andreas Vogel
As part of “We publish”, various courses were held at the Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB and at the Hochschule der Künste Bremen, where students worked with the archive in various ways: Under the title “We publish: visits to the archive, guest lectures, discussions”, Lucie Kolb introduced the history of self-publishing; In the Y-Toolbox “Andere Öffentlichkeiten (Other Public Spheres)” she and the students examined how our language is often unconsciously based on professional or disciplinary conventions. In the seminar “We publish… now as a film…”, the students, led by Asli Serbest and Tania Prill, negotiated the relationship between the media of print and film, produced different connections, stories and translations between the two media and put them - in motion - in the room. In Robert Lzicar’s seminar on the history of visual communication, the students developed questions about the content, form, production and distribution of historical publications from the “We publish” collection, researched historical data, facts and relationships and answered them in the form of a story.
Based on the experiences from these courses, the roundtable will discuss how and what can be learned from dealing with publishing and those that have been published. What potential do publication projects have for the education and development of students? How can self-publications be researched? The roundtable would also like to contribute to the discussion about the nature of art schools, in which not only learning content but also questions about the organisation and the institutional framework are up for discussion.
Lucie Kolb is an artist, author and editor of Brand-New-Life magazine. In 2017 she completed her doctorate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna on artistic publishing strategies since 1960 and researches at the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures Basel in the “Institutions as a Way of Life” project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) on the legacy of institutional criticism. In addition, she publishes regularly on self-publishing, training and art criticism, most recently the monograph “Studium, nicht Kritik” (2017).
Tania Prill is a graphic designer (Studio Tania Prill, Zurich) and heads the HfK master studio “School of Visual Combinations”. Recent publications: Unter dem Radar – Underground- und Selbstpublikationen 1965–1975 (Under the Radar - underground and self-publications 1965–1975) (2016, ed. With Annette Gilbert and Jan-Frederik Bandel), Typografie als künstlerisches Ereignis(Typography as an Artistic Event) (2016, ed. with Michael Glasmeier), MONEY (2015, with Alberto Vieceli and Sebastian Cremers). Tania Prill was a professor of communication design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (HfG) and has been a professor of typography at the Hochschule der Künste Bremen (HfK) since 2010, where she coordinates the AIP archive of independent publishing.
Robert Lzicar is a designer, professor and researcher. He teaches design history at the HKB, heads the MA design and coordinates the design history research field. He organised the Mapping Graphic Design History symposium in Switzerland (2014), published a publication of the same name (2016, edited by Davide Fornari) and coordinates the research project Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited, funded by the Sinergia program of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) (since October 2016).
Friday, 17 January 2020, 7:00 pm