March 30, 2006

UPDATE | Two recent forums ...

In the past month, I’ve participated in two forums in which arts publishing was the focus. First, at the end of February, Artspace Mackay hosted its annual Artists Book Forum. This is the second forum I have presented at and this year’s incarnation included a number of prominent international speakers. Of those, Marshall Weber of Booklyn in New York spoke all too briefly about the practice of artist publishing projects of the DIY, ephemeral variety. Often unacknowledged, ephemeral works often hover somewhere between zines, catalogues, multiple and artists’ books. Says Marshall in an artist statement, "I describe myself as a conceptual artist who collages images, materials, found objects, myself, people, emotions, organizations, institutions, and beliefs; in the hopes of producing moments of aesthetic, spiritual, and social justice. I don't have any particular discipline or style."

The second forum I had the pleasure of attending was Hard Copy, a workshop presented by the Australian Network for Art and Technology which addressed some of the criticism and writing practices surrounding interdisciplinary art. Facilitated by Roger Malina, Hard Copy was based on the premise that “current publishing paradigms and available outlets are not adequate for the myriad forms of output generated by hybrid, interdisciplinary and collaborative practice.” The workshop was rigourous and challenging with much consideration about the place of writing and publishing in academia and the artworld - there is a demand for published work that is possibly not equalled by an audience. Asked Lizzie Muller, coordinator of the workshop, on several ocassions, "who is the audience for it?".

Both important contributions to current debates about art writing and publishing from quite particular perspectives and practice bases. They highlight the diversity of art publishing and writing approaches in the current age. I will write up my notes about these events shortly.