– 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.