April 25, 2006

LIBRARY | Martha Rosler Library

Source: e-flux

e-flux is pleased to announce the launch of Martha Rosler Library's website. Comprised of approximately 7,700 titles from the artist's personal collection, the Library was opened to the public by e-flux in November 2005 as a storefront reading room. The contents range from political theory, art history and poetry to science fiction, mystery and children's books; they include periodicals, dictionaries, maps and travel books, as well as photo albums, posters, postcards and newspaper clippings. The bibliography, currently in process, can now be accessed online at http://www.e-flux.com/projects/library

A reading group has been assembled to use the library as the basis for a series of informal discussions around texts chosen by Martha Rosler and members of the group. The meetings were initiated in New York, and will continue at all future locations of the library. To broaden the scope of participation, we are pleased to offer an online forum and pdf files of the selected texts we are reading. Please join us in the discussion at http://www.e-flux.com/projects/library/forum.php

Martha Rosler Library will be traveling to Frankfurt Am Main, where it will open at the Frankfurter Kunstverein in June 2006 and remain available through August. A publication on this project, produced in collaboration with Revolver (Archiv fur Actuelle Kunst), will be available at the end of the summer.

Martha Rosler is Brooklyn-based artist who works in video, photo-text, installation, sculpture, and performance, and writes on aspects of culture, with particular focus on everyday life and the public sphere. She is a renowned teacher who has lectured widely, nationally and internationally, and has published ten books of photography, art, and writing. Rosler was awarded the Spectrum International Prize in Photography for 2005 and the Oskar Kokoschka Prize in 2006.

ARTICLE | Altered Books

Wear This Book (but Bring It Back Friday)
By Amy Sutherland
Source: New York Times

TO make room for shiny new books, librarians cull the texts that have been loved literally to pieces, as well as volumes that haven't been stamped with a due date in years. The rejected books are given away, tossed in Dumpsters, melted in acid, even burned — visions that could stop any author's pen in midsentence. It is, as the librarian Michael Whittaker puts it, the book-lending world's dirty little secret.

Mr. Whittaker works for the Portland Public Library in Maine, where a small portion of such ill-fated books are given a new life as art. And this art can now be checked out at public libraries across the country.

Read the entire article online at:

April 24, 2006

PUBLISHER | Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design was established in 1972 as a vehicle to publish books by and about leading contemporary artists. Between 1972 and 1987, twenty six titles by such artists as Michael Snow, Steve Reich, Gerhard Richter and Yvonne Rainer were published. Re-launched in 2002, the NSCAD Press will once again establish a source for the publishing of primary documents and scholarly works in the fields of contemporary art, craft and design.

Current publication - a cased limited edition of 90, including a signed and numbered copy of Raw Notes (554 pages, 53 bw plates) and an original signed and numbered lithograph by Claes Oldenburg entitled The Office. A Typewriter Print. Ghost Version. (A six-coloured print on 33” x 27.5" Arches Book Text, signed and numbered by Claes Oldenburg.)


LINK | 50 ways to take notes

Links to a range of free online tools for notetaking, web publishing, databasing and sound recording.

Online at:

BLOG | creativity/machine

A personal research blog by Jean Burgess, PhD student in cultural studies & new media, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Online at:

April 21, 2006

READING | Papers from Artists Books Forum III

Papers presented by Marshall Weber and Nola Farman at the 3rd Australian Artists' Books Forum are now available at the Artspace Mackay website.

An article by visiting UK artist Sarah Bodman on her trip to the 3rd Australian Artists' Books Forum and her two week residency at Southern Cross University in Lismore is also available at the Centre for Fine Print Research website at http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/focus3.htm

More papers will be put online soon.

EVENT | A little bit indy, a little bit DIY

Sat 26 August
The Zoo, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

The After Dark Zine Fair is coming! Get out your scissors and your glue stick, the After Dark Zine Fair as part of the Poetry After Dark spectacular. If you're in old brisvegas reserve your place, if not we will be selling zines on consignment so get in contact!

If you have a ZINE that you would like to sell or give away send us an email to show your interest email Jo Coltman at littlezine@hotmail.com


Works by Jane Dyer
Dyer19 April – 14 May
Uber Gallery
52 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Melbourne

Dyer's works are grounded in a text-based language - primarily books and her sculptural objects and installations explore and challenge our investment in language and what happens when we dislocate it from its traditional reception. In Stutter, Dyer literally uses texts - books, magazines, newspapers are her material, only to erase it, paint it, fold it, superimpose it, stitch it shut and disguise it - all of which is designed to encourage the viewer to speculate and create new narratives - indeed to 'read' the works from a different perspective.


ARTICLE | Explaining Art

Why Must We Always "Explain" Art?
by Grayson Perry
Source: The Times (UK)

We all have a part of ourselves that cries out for certainty and meaning. If we encounter a contemporary artwork one of the first things we ask is: “What does it mean?” We can be uncomfortable with not knowing, not being sure, not having the safe ground of the authorised, correct interpretation. When encountering an artwork we seek the explanatory panel.

Read the entire article online at:

April 19, 2006

REPORT | Hard Copy

by Linda Carroli

The Hard Copy Workshop was presented in Adelaide last month as part of the Adelaide Festival. Facilitated by Roger Malina, Leonardo, the workshop considered a range of writing, research and publishing scenarios and ideas related to interdisciplinary practice and emerging from the application of new technologies. Roger said it was an "Australian discourse with an international perspective", adding that it presented an opportunity to compile a report that is an argument for funding and lobbying. After quite a number of 'hard knocks' (disbanding of new media arts board, restructuring in the education sector, inconsistent uptake of innovation agendas, a decade of conservative government etc), the field of interdisciplinary practice is still reeling from those and perhaps not in a sufficiently consolidated state to advocate.

However, a number of important and valuable ideas emerged from discussions and presentations. Roger was keen for some kind of consensus to emerge and argued that there was a need to be affirmative about the sort of changes we wanted to make in our community and in our environment in relation to publishing and interdisciplinary practice. He also provided many examples to highlight the extent of impacts from new technologies including his own arena of research. "Astronomy is done differently today because of the changes to information and intellectual communities," he said.

Roger referred to ideas of ‘experiments’ and ‘ecology’, both compelling notions for their open-endedness given various claims for certainty, particularly in relation to criteria for archiving. Prior to Hard Copy, a discussion was held on the fibreculture list. Here Malina said: “I want to emphasise the way that a publishing ecology is an evolving set of mechanisms for dissemination of information and debate and that what we need from funding bodies is an openness to experimentation. Whenever an intellectual community can make explicit a need that is not being met by the current publishing ecology then the grounds for an experiment exists - and indeed the internet offers much lower thresholds to micro publishing that was the case before.”

In discussing the comparative merits of soft and hard publishing methods, Lisa Gye said that this binary showed up limited ways of thinking about publishing. She posited an idea of the membrane as something more permeable and flexible. There was a need for a new way of thinking outside of binary models. Alex Burns supported this proposition saying that there were ways of approaching a transdisciplinary culture as a 'third culture' so as to cultivate discussions between artists and scientists. Earlier, Roger said that the discussions need to be two-way - even in the Leonardo network, there was a requirement for more engagement from the science/scientist end of the dialogue. Alex spoke of the growth and availability of platforms and tools that made it possible for knowledge to be collectivised in unprecedented ways. He also spoke about new hybrid models emerging from MIT and Stanford research in the USA. For there to be any notable shift in the hierarchies of publishing there was a need for major institutional change. Online publishing ventures simply reproduced the conservatism of established print journals.

Katie Cavanagh discussed a range of issues related to archiving, describing a 'digital dark ages' in which there was a great deal of creation but not enough storing or archiving. The pressing issue in this environment was determining what to save and the suggestion was put that the starting place could be peer reviewed works. Another concern was that academic institutions were lagging behind business in the uptake of technologies that could solve some of the problems of archiving and accessibility.

One of the overarching messages of this session was change. Not only changing the ways in which we think about and describe things, but also deeper institutional change (not the sort we are now seeing that valorises the 'hard sciences'). This speaks to ideas of power and value.

In the session on practice based research, Teri Hoskin spoke about writing being itself a kind of material. She said that writing was was not just describing but is a work in itself. Academic writing, she said, has a structure and finish whereas a material practice does not - "a material practice has flexibility, a logic without end of program". Ross Gibson commented that the most relevant academic writing needs to become less academic and there is a need for a style of writing to help the reader think rather than telling the reader how to think. Legitimacy is an issue because structures of legimate knowledge surround academic publishing. Teri proposed moving away from an instrumental relationship and someone in the audience talked about merging the creative and critical.

Finally, speaking about readerships and criticism, Sam de Silva and Linda Marie Walker more directly engaged their experiences of writing critically and endeavouring to connect with audiences through writing and publishing. Sam specifically spoke about the publication Spinach7 which he instigated as a business. Having run for five issues, the publication is now on hiatus due to a lack of funding. With this issue of sustainability rearing its head, Sam said one of the key factors was ensuring that people (readers, sponsors, advertisers) valued the project and made a commitment to supporting it. Linda preferred to address her comments to ideas about readerships rather than criticism. "Writing is my research," she said. "The writing I do is about writing." She recounted several of her experiences as writer, including her experiences as an academic. The challenge is getting another kind of criticality heard and seen. This session voiced some concerns about the 'material conditions' under which independent publishing is undertaken - often voluntary, under-funded etc.

During the plenary session, Roger recapped the key points (burning issues) from each panel discussion. There is obviously a need for more thinking, networking and lobbying for this field to develop in a sustainable way.

April 01, 2006

ONLINE | 1001 nights cast

1001 nights cast
by Barbara Campbell

In 1001 nights cast, Barbara Campbell performs a short text-based work each night for 1001 consecutive nights. The performance is relayed as a live webcast to anyone, anywhere, who is logged on to this website at the appointed time, that is, sunset at the artist's location. A frame story written by the artist introduces the project's nightly performances. It is a survival story and it creates the context for subsequent stories generated daily through writer/performer collaborations made possible by the reach of the internet.

Each morning Barbara reads journalists' reports covering events in the Middle East. She selects a prompt word or phrase that leaps from the page with generative potential. She renders the prompt in watercolour and posts it in its new pictorial form on the website. Participants write a story using that day's prompt in a submission of up to 1001 words.


PROJECT | Artlanguage: Every publishable place


Opens: Saturday 1 April, 4 to 6pm
Talks by: Charles Merewether, artistic director and curator of Sydney Biennale 2006, and performance reading by Ruark Lewis
Where: The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney (opposite St Lukes Hospital gates)
Exhibition continues to: Saturday 29 April 2006
Cross Conversation: see below
Information: Jo Holder 9357 2058 or 0406 537933

Pam Aitken, Sophie Coombs, Franz Ehmann, Lisa Kelly, Lucas Ihlein, Patrick Jones, Ruark Lewis, Jacqueline Rose, Alex Selenitsch, SquatSpace, Ania Walwicz

ArtLanguage: Every Publishable Place puts current artistic concerns about social poetics, activism and the function of the public/private voice within a tradition of artists working with the placement of language and image in the ordinary world.

Curator Ruark Lewis places work by eminent language artists Alex Selenitsch, Franz Ehmann and Ania Walwicz alongside that of an emerging generation. The exhibition unites aesthetic sensibility and avant-garde traditions with a critical approach to the dissemination and display of art. The artists embed social concerns within larger ethical and aesthetic fields, building forms of local practice that are not overtly oppositional but which access and involve global public opinion. In this way their art functions as an alternative form of publication.

Why is this type of practice so relevant today? Because the working model it proposes, wherein ideas, experience and opinion are modeled in an art gallery or other public context, runs counter to the neo-liberal status quo of technocrats and closed doors, manipulated concerns and sedated villagers.

Most artists in the exhibition see language as a traditional avant-garde or experimental tool and relish its capacity for subversion. Sophie Coombs's work 'Piece' and Lisa Kelly's sculpture 'Powerless Circuit' use epigrammatic humour. Other artists, more sombrely, refer to classic modernist writers in a type of homage, paid, for example, by Pam Aitken to Samuel Beckett and Jacqueline Rose to Franz Kafka.

Others use performance modes as social commentary. Patrick Jones's roaming graffiti wall, 'A Temporary Autonomous Zone', slyly critiques the absurd zero tolerance laws forbidding graffiti during the Commonwealth Games. The artist group SquatSpace urges us to get a feel for the complex issues of state re-development in the Redfern and Waterloo area by getting on-board a 'Tour of Beauty' and talking to locals. Other artists show ongoing series of works externally, like Franz Ehmann's hand-painted roadside signage and Ruark Lewis's 'Banalities', protest banners which place obfuscating letters and jargon within their disputed public context.

These artists are asking vital questions and looking for answers in discussions outside powerful institutions and hegemonies, in all forms of publishable places.

Curator Ruark Lewis
Ruark Lewis has had a successful two-decade career as an artist, performance artist, curator and writer who operates across a range of disciplines. His work is featured in the 2006 Biennale of Sydney entitled 'Zones of Transition'. He founded Haiku Review web-art journal.
Co-ordination: Jaime Wheatley

SquatSpace: Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty
When: Sunday 9 April 2006, 2PM
Meet: Lawson St, Redfern under the (ex)TNT Towers.
Tour lasts 4 hours
Enquiries: 0422771092 or info@squatspace.com

Ruark Lewis: Banalities for William Street
(after Kenneth Slessor).
When: Saturday 22 April, 2pm

The Cross Art Projects
A space for independent art & curatorial studies
33 Roslyn Street Kings Cross Sydney 2011
T: + 61 (02) 9357-2058
E: joholder@aic.net.au
W: www.crossart.com.au