Tauba Auerbach at Bergen Kunsthall

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Tauba Auerbach has long worked with different types of book production. Recently these have developed into independent sculptural works that continue Auerbach’s research on multidimensionality and the importance of colour for spatiality. She presents several new book sculptures in this exhibition, and in a way these function as manuals for thinking about the project by constantly revolving around the question “How can we imagine what is impossible to sense?”

Although Auerbach draws much of her inspiration from mathematics and physics, her visual investigations deal equally with the basic themes of art history. Her paintings raise fundamental issues in new ways, among them the depiction of three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface, and the relationship between abstraction and representation.

Tauba Auerbach at Bergen Kunsthall via Contemporary Art Daily

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Making Sense of Senseless Violence: An Interview with Jack Womack

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Tottenham Aug. 7, 2011. (Lewis Whyld/PA/AP) via The Big Picture

This summer when Britain was gripped by civil disturbance, it was suggested by some in the SF community that if you wanted to understand the underlying psychology of those involved, you should read Jack Womack’s Random Acts of Senseless Violence, originally published in 1994. Random Acts details in diary form the tribulations of twelve-year-old Lola Hart as her New York City, family, and persona come apart. It also serves as an entry point for Womack’s six-book Dryco series, which presents post-disaster America as trailer-trash corporate dystopia, complete with Elvis worship, unchecked rape and murder, and its own argot. Recently I met with Womack and asked him about the creation and particular prescience of these novels.

 


 

Your novels make me unbelievably anxious.  

I relieve my own anxiety by writing them. So, yeah, it’s transference.  

One of the things that’s so anxiety-inducing about Random Acts, as well as your first novel Ambient, is that there’s always scarcity: there’s never enough money, never enough food, never enough security. Which seems to me extremely, though not exclusively, New York.  

Oh, at the time it certainly was. The New York in Ambient was what I saw happening if everything had kept getting worse. When O’Malley is walking home to his apartment in the Lower East Side, that’s the way it used to be. What the predictive element missed was that New York would skyrocket back, and that neighborhoods you couldn’t go into at night thirty years ago, you now couldn’t afford. I moved up here in 1977 right after the blackout and the Son of Sam summer. So the fear definitely comes across. When you see Taxi Driver, that’s what it looked

 

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Another Book on the Bookmarks Shelf: BooksOnLine

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BooksOnLine is an experimental free access library initiated in 2006 by artist Pierre Hourquet. The website features more than thirty books by a variety of artists, with titles such as Honey blood (by artist Suzanna Zak), Slow (Flemming Ove Bech), Not in that Particular Order (Grégoire Grange), or Homeless Caravan (Damon Way), hinting at the book's content, but not revealing a thing about the artist or the designer.

"In the beginning, I wanted to publish books. Designing books and printing them is very easy. But distributing them would be a full-time job. So I decided to publish books online.

The first books were made with friends—artists or photographers—then, after making a few books, I decided to contact artist I like. Every artist I've contacted has been very glad and enthusiastic to contribute. Some of them became good friends.

I like to design the most basic book I could, a very simple one with a colored cover and few pages. So the books have the same shape, the same number of pages, and all use the same font. The layout is more specific for each book."

 

 

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E-flux Talks About the Book Coop at the New York Art Book Fair

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E-flux’s book coop is a mobile home for publications from over two hundred art institutions across the world. It will be presented at the New York Art Book Fair, which opens today and runs through the weekend at MoMA PS1. I aksed e-flux for more information about the project:

 

Costly and often monopolistic approaches to the distribution of art books has resulted in a situation where it has become common for not only the author, but also the publisher to receive little to no revenue for a book's sales. The book coop was initiated as a way to bring together and give greater access to an array of contemporary art publications being produced by museums, foundations, residency programs, artist-run spaces, and universities all over the world. It was formed to offer these publishers the opportunity to make their titles public without having to follow the traditional routes provided by distributors, and to experiment with publishers to create a platform where the responsibilities of distribution and access are shared. 

The members of the book coop represent a good majority of the e-flux journal network, a group of over 200 varied contemporary art institutions who print and locally distribute the e-flux journal. When forming the project earlier this year we invited all journal network members to participate. New members of the book coop have been added to the initial group since announcing the project’s presence at the NYABF last week, which is great. 

We first presented the book coop at Art Basel this summer as part of the Kopfbau, a larger e-flux project which saw us occupy an old Art Basel office slated for demolition. We took a few of the offices, demolished a couple of walls to make a large rectangular room with wall to wall, almost floor ...

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A Thing Remade: A Conversation with Paul Chan

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burningkindlepointone.gif (2011)

The launch of artist Paul Chan’s publishing company, Badlands Unlimited, in 2010 could have been mistaken for a career non sequitur. His foray into book publishing felt at once completely futile and deliciously subversive—anachronistic in form, and yet prescient in its embrace of technology as a means of interrogating (and thereby furthering) that form. Given the perilous economic prospects for artists and publishers alike, why not simply take matters into one’s own hands? As an online distribution platform for works written by Chan and others, Badlands Unlimited does just that.

In profiling the outfit for a recent issue of Frieze magazine (Off the Page, May, 2010) I realized that I had been watching this seemingly new venture develop for many years: Chan’s personal website, National Philistine, has served as the digital analog to his practice for well over a decade, a fact that many aren’t aware of by his estimation. (“Sometimes I even forget that I have a website,” he said, when asked about the longevity of his domain, which has been active since 1999.) The following conversation attempts to articulate some of that history, while indulging in a few detours along the way, as a means of suggesting iterative possibilities for publishing on the web—and beyond...  

 

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Distorted Scans in Google Books

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"Could there be a fitter representation of copyright's contemporary plight than the fingers of a Google technician obscuring Kant's defense of writer's rights? An author's consent, Kant cautions in a footnote, 'can by no means be presumed because he has already given it exclusively to another', yet Google is struggling to effect exactly this sort of transfer of consent today, as it attempts to win approval for a legal settlement in the United States that will allow it to republish works whose copyright owners have not come forward. I couldn't have read Kant's essay so easily without the Google technician's labour - in fact, without Google, I might not have got around to reading it at all - but her fingers were nonetheless in the way. The internet's attitude toward Kant's words is ambiguous, combining respect, appropriation, liberation and accidental vandalism," Caleb Crain once wrote, having discovered a spectral-seeming hand, while conducting research for his review of Adrian Johns's Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates. (The page has been rescanned, but the image is still on Nicholas Carr's blog.)

Wohlgemeynte Gedanken über den Dannemarks-Gesundbrunnen by Johan Gottschalk Wallerius is scarcely recognizable as a book with hundreds of distorted pages. (via Waxy.)

 

 

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Notes From Adam Shecter's Speculative Future

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Images from Adam Shecter's Last Men video installation at Eleven Rivington (2011)

Drawing inspiration from four classic sci-fi novels, Adam Shecter recently created a dense sci-fi paperback of his own titled Last Men. Filled with images, drawings, photographs, and intermittent text, the book is an expanded companion piece to an animation titled Last Men, also by Shecter, exhibited recently at Eleven Rivington. The book opens with an image of a book with the words erased, a photo of blades of grass, and blurry hands clasped amidst an even blurrier background. Without page numbers, you're left to browse Shecter's imaginary, post-apocalyptic world using your own instincts. Browsing beyond a few sequential pages of TV static reveals a sea of black and white pages, a pastiche of coded, grainy, and macro images interrupted by drifting, melancholic poems and a few zoomed in clips from books. The contributions from 2-UP's Matthea Harvey, Christian Hawkey, and Cathy Park Hong add threads of a human presence that balance out the pages of monochrome, galactic noise.

Stopping somewhere near the end of the book to read Hong's Aubade Using Bradbury's Lines, I was reminded of Chris Marker's 1962 experimental sci-fi film La Jetée. And as I continued turning the pages, Hong's poem stayed with me narrating the incomplete diagrams and deep-black night shots of stars. In the end Shecter succeeds in creating a vision of a distant future where humankind reflects on a past we have yet to write.

Oh yes, we knew, we understood. And, looking into each other's faces for confirmation of what we felt, it was there—the future.

- excerpt from The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 by Doris Lessing

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Tauba Auerbach's New Large-scale Pop-up Book

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Tauba Auerbach has recently teamed up with Printed Matter, Inc. in New York to create an oversized, colorful, and intricate pop-up book titled [2,3].

For [2,3], Auerbach has created an oversized pop-up book featuring six die-cut paper sculptures that unfold into wonderful, elaborate forms. While much of Auerbach’s work has previously dealt with compositions staged in the flux state between 2D and 3D,[2,3] represents an expansion for the artist towards a more sculptural medium. Engineered by the artist, each “page” opens into a beautifully constructed object, intricately conceived so that the large-scale paper works—some up to 18” tall—can be collapsed totally flat.

The six sculptures in [2,3] take their cue from a range of geometric forms—the pyramid, sphere, ziggurat, octagonal bipyramid (gem), arc, and möbius-strip. The use of a bright, contrasting palette is familiar from Auerbach’s previous work across a range of materials, including acrylics, etchings and C-type prints. This groundbreaking project stands as an astonishing art-object, part bookwork and part sculpture, and represents an advance in the field of pop-up technology.

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Artists' eBooks Unbound: An Interview with James Bridle

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James Bridle, a publisher based in London, is a member of a rising class of digital futurists that fuse multiple professional experiences—for him, a university degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence with an organic interest in literature—to form a dynamic public-facing practice. “Essentially, when any new technology comes along, I try to force literature into it in some way,” he wrote during our recent email exchange.

The Iraq War: A History of Wikipedia Changelogs (2010)

Bridle runs the conference gamut from book fairs and South by Southwest to the UNESCO World Forum on Cultural Industries in Lombardia, Italy, where he lectured just weeks ago. His presentations are documented on another website devoted to technology and so-called book futurism, http://booktwo.org/, where he posts a series of essays and updates on his myriad projects. The Frankfurt School is an obvious inspirational go-to, given the titles of his posts and projects: Walter Benjamin's Aura: Open Bookmarks and the form of the eBook (2010), The Author of Everything (2011), and Robot Flâneur (2011). Bridle’s better-known efforts include The Iraq War: A History of Wikipedia Changelogs (2010) a twelve-volume set that chronicles, in print, every change made to the Wikipedia article on the Iraq War; Bookkake (2008) is a digital and print-on-demand publishing system for erotic literature, while bkkeepr (2008) and Open Bookmarks (2010) help users track and share their reading experiences through Twitter and social bookmarking.

Artists' eBooks Screenshot

The Iraq War: A History of Wikipedia Changelogs segues elegantly from the digital to the object worlds; the books qualify the data, physically. I see a different, yet equally compelling set of relational possibilities in the project I chose to focus on for our interview—one that I now know Bridle considers a failure (his words; not mine!): Artists' eBooks is, as its title suggests, a digital imprint designed to provide an experimental publishing platform for writers and artists. In the conversation that follows, we discussed the shifting nature of the reading experience from print to screen, and its implications for the book-as-medium...

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Twitter Faves

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For his recently released book Twitter Faves, Travis Hallenbeck compiled most of his favorite twitter posts from ~250 users into a compendium of online expression. The 500 page book is an archive of musings, confessions, declarations, observations, and truisms, compressed into 140 characters or less.
Here are a few gems and pearls of wisdom culled from the collection:

MaggieBurke: Just saw a picture of a girl with "tupac lives" tattooed on her arm in wingdings. My mind is blown forever.

dentifyingwood: risky fashions are for people who walk with friends

unnuunnu: kiwi strawberry is such a 90s flav i hate it but i can relate

rifftown: my god given right to sleep in this burger king bathroom until it stops raining outside and/or i finish my night train

osfa: left click disabled

screensaver: alone at the buffet

blackmoth: deep read of your creep feed

newrafael: why are they called apartments if they are stuck together

George_Costanza: Trying to make a tweet that will make it to her #favorites

kimasendorf: on the /|\ autobahn

petcortright: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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