Lettrétage Berlin

2 February 2015

What does it mean to publish today? In the face of a continuously changing media landscape, institutional upheavals and discursive shifts in the legal, artistic and political fields, concepts of ownership, authorship, work, accessibility and publicity are being renegotiated. The field of publishing not only stands at the intersection of these developments but is actively introducing new ruptures.
How the traditional publishing framework of processes, practices, institutions and discourses has been cast adrift will be discussed in the workshop through the examination of recent advancements of publishing concepts emerging from the experimental literature and art scene, where publishing and publicizing are often part of an encompassing artistic practice.
The author’s practice overlaps with the publisher’s practice with increasing frequency, and vice versa: Artistic activity can hardly be differentiated from publishing activity. Not uncommonly, publishing itself is considered to be an artistic project, included in the conception of the work of art or even declared the work of art.
The number and diversity of initiatives, projects and works among the artists, writers and publishers concerned with these matters show that it is time to move the question of publishing from the margin to the center of the aesthetic and academic discourse. Four artistic-literary positions of publishing will be presented in the workshop.



Antoine Lefebvre is an artist based in Paris and New York and runs, as an artwork, La Bibliothèque Fantastique, a publishing structure for artist books. He sees himself as a minimalist publisher in the sense that all the “superfluous” has been removed. His publishing house offers virtual black-and-white artists’ books that are free and downloadable under the Free Art License. For Lefebvre, copying, reproducing and making available (existing books) are acts synonymous to producing, and therefore the act of publishing and editing is equivalent to artistic production. This artistic side of publishing is at the center of Lefebvre’s dissertation, in which he writes about his own publishing house.

Nick Thurston is a writer, artist, lecturer and publisher. Since 2006 he has been co-editor of the independent artists’ book publishing imprint Information As Material (York), with whom he was Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery (London) 2011-12. He has been an Associate and Visiting Lecturer at various art academies in the UK since 2007, and in September 2012 joined the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. His print and sculptural works are held in public and private collections around Europe including the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) and The Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris). His bookworks are collected by the V&A (London), Tate (London) and MoMA (New York) amongst other institutions. He has exhibited in shows at Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Les Halles (Porrentruy), Toulouse Museum of Contemporary Art, The Laurence Sterne Museum (Coxwold), Whitechapel Gallery (London) and Bury City Art Gallery amongst other venues. His poetic writings have been anthologized in collections including Against Expression (Northwestern UP) and The Unexpected Guest (Liverpool Biennial & A / B Publishing), and recent essays by him include book chapters, peer-reviewed articles and journalism.

In the workshop, Thurston will discuss strongly conceptualist forms of new writing — some made as art, some made as literature, some made by corporate capitalists — that seem to exemplify a kind of documentary realism for publishing itself. His talk will explore some of the contemporary problems and possibilities for self-publishing, digital mediatization, appropriation, ethics and criticism in light of these examples, which draw on his editorial work for the British-based publishing imprint Information As Material. His talk will orbit around the increasingly significant role of publishing-in-general to the (re)production of new culture, paying special attention to our shifting expectations of authorship as a form of work.

Alessandro Ludovico is an artist, media critic and chief editor of Neural magazine since 1993. He received his Ph.D. degree in English and Media from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (UK). He has published and edited several books, and has lectured worldwide. He’s one of the founders of Mag.Net (Electronic Cultural Publishers organization). He also served as an advisor for the documenta 12’s Magazine Project. He teaches at the Academy of Art in Carrara. He is one of the authors of the Hacking Monopolism trilogy of artworks (Google Will Eat Itself, Amazon Noir, Face to Facebook).

Ludovico discusses in his book Post-Digital Print. The Mutation of Publishing since 1894 the implications and impact of media changes to publishing. Under the slogan “Post-Digital Print” he bundles numerous art projects that position themselves at the intersection of publishing and digital technology and burst the usual understanding of publishing.

Eva Weinmayr is an artist, writer and lecturer based in London. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich and lectures at Central St Martins London. Her work has been exhibited internationally at Zacheta National Art Gallery Warsaw, Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, Whitechapel Gallery London, FormContent, Matt’s Gallery and The Showroom in London. She has a long-standing engagement with digital and print media and publishing as critical art practice. Together with Andrea Francke she runs The Piracy Project, a collection of copied, appropriated and pirated books from across the world. The collection tours in form of a reading room and hosts discursive events exploring the philosophical, legal and practical implications of book piracy.

In the workshop she will discuss practices of underground production and distribution networks, which “re-occupy infrastructure by using the pre-existing spaces and technologies, budgets and support staffs, in order to do something quite different.” (Irit Rogoff)

Delphine Bedel is a researcher, publisher, and curator. Founder of Metabook, a research and media lab on Publishing as Artistic Practice – From hard Copy to Software Culture. She regularly contributes to books and magazines, and is a frequent speaker in international conferences and seminars. Centre Pompidou, Paris, Pro-Helvetia, Zurich, Chelsea College of Art and Design London, De Appel, etc. Her work is shown internationally. She co-founded the Amsterdam Art/Book Fair in 2011. Her current curatorial practice focus on publishing as artistic practice, also the topic of her PhD research. She taught at the Geneva University of Art and Design (Professor 2009-2012), Dutch Art Institute/ArTEZ (2009-2011), Studium Generale Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam among others. In 2009, she founded Monospace Press, an innovative publishing studio. The 60 award winning editions are part of museum and private collections and exhibited internationally.


Annette Gilbert is a scholar in comparative literature at the Freie Universitaet Berlin and postdoctoral research fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation. Her main areas of research are experimental and avant-garde literature and art, materiality and mediality of literature, artists’ books, and interart studies. Recent publications: Reprint. appropriation (&) literature, Wiesbaden: luxbooks 2014; nichts für schnell-betrachter und bücher-blätterer. Eugen Gomringers Gemeinschaftsarbeiten mit bildenden Künstlern, Kerber: Bielefeld 2014; Do or DIY. Zur Geschichte und Praxis des Selbstverlags, transl., augm., ed. with Craig Dworkin, Simon Morris and Nick Thurston, Salon: Köln 2013; Wiederaufgelegt. Zur Appropriation von Texten und Büchern in Büchern, Bielefeld: transcript 2012.

Kristen Mueller is an artist and publisher (& So) whose works often intervene with existing texts, pages and books. Recent publications include 3b, a series of unique artists’ books, Partially Removing the Remove of Literature and Language to Cover a Page (co-published with Motto Books). Her work has been exhibited in shows at Artists Space (New York), LUMA Foundation (Zurich) and Motto (Berlin).


-Gilbert, Annette: “Book Pirates: On a New Art of Making Books”, in: Dies. (Hg.): Re-Print. Appropriation (&) Literature, Wiesbaden 2014, 9-49.
-Goldsmith, Kenneth: Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age, New York 2011.
-Malik, Rachel: “Horizons of the Publishable: Publishing in/as Literary Studies”, in: ELH 75 (2008), 707-735.
-Lefebvre, Antoine: http://labibliothequefantas.free.fr/index.php?/about-this-site/
-Lefebvre, Antoine: Portrait of the Artist as a Publisher. Publishing as an Alternative Artistic Practice, http://labibliothequefantas.free.fr/index.php?/thesis/
-Ludovico, Alessandro: Post-Digital Print. The Mutation of Publishing Since 1894, Eindhoven 2012, online: http://monoskop.org/images/a/a6/Ludovico,_Alessandro_-_Post-Digital_Print._The_Mutation_of_Publishing_Since_1894.pdf
-Noury, Aurélie: “Enlivrés/Délivrés”, in: Pratiques 21 (2010), 80-93.
-Thurston, Nick: “Publishing as a praxis of conceptualist reading performances”, in: Journal of Writing in Creative Practice 6 (2013).
-Weinmayr, Eva: http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/apr/19/impermanent-book/
-Weinmayr, Eva: http://www.formerwest.org/DocumentsConstellationsProspects/Contributions/Infrastructure

VolksWagen Stiftung
Freie Universität Berlin