Design: Angela Detanico, Rafael Lain
Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisboa, 2013
Design: Angela Detanico, Rafael Lain
Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisboa, 2013
”[…] The inherent accessibility and simplicity of the EPUB format is ultimately what will give artists the opportunity to appropriate and experiment with the format. And the fact that it is the industry-standard format will give them motivation to do so. Even more than with print books (whether photocopied and bound, or done through print-on-demand) artists have the ability to create e-books that are, in structure and format, absolutely indistinguishable from those created by the major publishing conglomerates. The playing field is essentially even, and I think artists only need see the opportunity. […]” Greg Albers
”[…] Lippard made clear in her keynote that she is not happy with how many artists’ books have become so pricey, glossy, and pretty. Zooming in on the history of artists’ books as she lived it—from Xeroxed leaflets to her days at Printed Matter—Lippard described an ethos of the 60s and 70s that saw artists’ books as “cheap and mass-produced.” It was a time when bookmaking carved out a niche for artistic activity, outside the typical art market. […]” Corinna Kirsch
Cristina De Middel, The Afronauts. Self-published, 2012
”[…] I wish I could answer your question firmly, but the truth is that I still do not know how I feel about all this. On one hand I would never spend that money on a book, not even on the last copy available in the world of The Afronauts. I just cannot understand that collectors’ mentality because I don’t belong to that world. On the other hand I can’t help feeling flattered by the whole idea. It is weird, crazy, uncomfortable, scary. At this moment I cannot afford my own book, which is kind of freaky. […]”
- A Conversation with Cristina De Middel, layflat.org
"It’s great to see that Wolfgang Tillmans offer free downloads of many of his exhibition catalogues and for example his "Wako" books at his website. If you aren’t able to see his exhibitions or own the Wako books, you at least get a taste of them by looking at the PDFs. Tillmans is one of those artists I would be excited to see make a digital book or app."
"Islands in the Cloud is the first museum show to focus on Metahaven’s unique practice."
"This site, Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books, focuses on the artist’s creative process by presenting the many evolving states she made in the lead-up to her final print compositions. It also places Bourgeois’s prints and illustrated books within the context of her overall production by including sculptures and drawings that deal with the same themes and imagery. This approach is particularly meaningful for Bourgeois’s work, since she constantly reworked her compositions and investigated the same core themes throughout her career. […]
Book vs. Website
With a vast collection of prints to be documented, publishing a traditional catalogue raisonné in book format was impractical, requiring seven or eight volumes. Such an opus would have been accessible primarily to specialists, while the website catalogue is geared also to the general art public. Moreover, interactive digital media allows for features that provide an especially vivid look at the artist’s creative process. These include searches by theme, publisher and printer, and technique, as well as an “Evolving Composition Diagram,” in which viewers immediately grasp a composition’s development. This diagram is enhanced by a pioneering “Compare Works” mode, where two sheets can be placed side-by-side to compare and contrast. In addition, individual prints can be examined at close range through a ‘Zoom’ feature, which is particularly useful for studying intricate details.”
New York–based artist Sarah Crowner discusses the spreads in her recent artist book, Format, published by Primary Information.
Introducing: The People’s E-Book
Back in the fall, Eleanor Hanson and Oliver Wise of The Present Group and Greg Albers of Hol Art Books joined me in Seattle at the Museum Computer Network conference for a panel on creative thinking in museum digital strategy. A scant handful of months later, they’ve joined forces to develop The People’s E-Book, a “super simple online tool for artists and alternative publishers.” May I kindly suggest that art publishing enthusiasts sign up to receive updates on this project?
In a new short video produced by the Kadist, Jack Wendler speaks about the XEROX BOOK.
The XEROX BOOK was an exhibition in the form of a xerox book, produced in 1968 by Seth Siegelaub and Jack Wendler. It included 7 artists: Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Douglas Huebler, Robert Morris and Lawrence Weiner.
— Emily Dickinson, The Letters of Emily Dickinson (via mythologyofblue)
The persecution of Aaron Swartz: Why the US government hounded a free-information activist to his death
January 15, 2013
On Friday, January 11, 2013, 26-year-old visionary technologist and social activist Aaron Swartz hanged himself in New York City. A passionate advocate for making access to online information as widespread as possible, Swartz was grappling with the fallout from his efforts to do just that.
Two years before Swartz ended his life, he was arrested by police from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City of Cambridge, Mass., police for breaking and entering into an MIT storage closet. In the closet, Swartz had stashed an ACER laptop he had programmed to download in bulk millions of scholarly articles from JSTOR, a non-profit database that provides access to the articles for academic libraries. At the time, articles on JSTOR were locked behind a paywall for non-academics who wished to access them through their own computers. Swartz aimed to make them available, free of charge, to anyone who wanted to read them.
At the time of his arrest, an investigation of Swartz’s MIT/JSTOR action was already underway, and two days earlier, the Secret Service’s online crime division assumed control of the probe. The Secret Service routinely conducts complex computer crime investigations; its involvement signaled the treatment of this as a major crime, not a caper. Six months later, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz charged Swartz with a four-count indictment.
To those who knew Swartz’ ethic, that indictment already seemed like overkill, essentially labeling an effort to share information as wire and computer fraud. But then last year, Ortiz multiplied each of the main charges, turning the same underlying actions into a 13-count indictment that threatened Swartz with a 35-year sentence.
Swartz had long struggled with depression that may have contributed to his suicide. But his family and associates have also blamed the government’s conduct in prosecuting Swartz. A statement issued by the family the day after Swartz’s suicide charges that “the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
And therein lies the almost incomprehensible legal background to this tragedy. Both before and after his arrest, Swartz had dedicated much of his life to using the internet to making information freely accessible. His goal here — the government claims he intended to publish the journals online, but made no claim he wanted to profit off of them — would have put academic research, much of it funded by federal grants, in the hands of the people who paid for it.
The Free Exchange of Ideas
Academic inquiry is founded on the free exchange of ideas. And most of the journals’ authors do not get paid for the articles they wrote. Swartz’s “crime” here would have served to foster intellectual exchange, the entire point of publishing scholarly journals. In fact, since Swartz’s indictment, JSTOR has opened up access to its journals for individuals who register. To some extent, then, Swartz’ goal has been implemented by his alleged victim.
Moreover, as Alex Stamos, an expert witness who would have testified in Swartz’s defense, points out, both the alleged victims of this crime had built their systems to foster openness. MIT deliberately allows visitors to access their system. At the time of the alleged crimes, JSTOR permitted users at MIT an unlimited number of downloads. Both networks lacked very basic safeguards to prevent abuse.
And both alleged victims have expressed regret at what has happened. Before the federal government charged Swartz, JSTOR settled its complaint against him, though MIT did not. In response to his death, JSTOR reiterated that it “regretted being drawn into from the outset, since JSTOR’s mission is to foster widespread access to the world’s body of scholarly knowledge.” And in addition to also expressing sorrow, MIT President Rafael Reif promised an investigation into MIT’s role in his prosecution, raising questions about what alternatives MIT had to cooperating in Swartz’s prosecution.
While MIT’s remorse may be tragically belated, both the alleged victims in this case seem to recognize that the prosecution violated the ethics of openness that JSTOR and MIT claim to uphold.
In spite of all this, the government portrayed Swartz’s action as theft, painting him as a common criminal. “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away,” said Ortiz at a press conference announcing the charges.