Urgent Publishing After the Artist's Book: Making Public in Movements Towards Liberation
Urgent Publishing After the Artist’s Book: Making Public in Movements Towards Liberation was a performative talk given by artist and designer Paul Soulellis during the the 2021 Contemporary Artist’s book Conference, hosted by the Center for Book Arts during the 2021 Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair.
In attending this livestreamed talk, I was struck by the obvious intersections with my own work with GenderFail. While Paul was giving this lecture live, I emailed him as I listened and responded in the moment about my hopes in being able to publish Urgent Publishing After the Artist’s Book: Making Public in Movements Towards Liberation as a printed book. For this information to be engaged with in such a personal fashion, and further to disseminate it as a physical object, felt important in my position as a publisher.
In the introduction to this talk, Paul states:
“Publishing has always been political, but has it ever felt as urgent as it does right now, in the global distress and intersecting crises of the past year? There’s a desperate need for new language to express publishing’s renewed urgency and importance. We need new forms of discourse to get at what it means to create and share content outside and against capitalism, at ever-rising levels of crisis. Existing models of independent and artistic publishing provide inadequate support for those engaged in the most radical and experimental modes of urgent sharing and making. We need to depart from the familiar language of graphic design, the history of artists’ books and book art, and the debilitating economics of art book fairs, the art world, and the academy. Instead, let’s locate urgent publishing in another place, in relation to collapse, failure, mutual aid, and collective care. This newly located understanding of urgent publishing resists definition; it may not look or feel like publishing at all. And while urgency is certainly central to this proposal, we will question whether the term publishing itself is even relevant. How do we characterize our current condition of collective making and sharing? What is urgent publishing today? Drawing upon decades of radical, anti-capitalist thinking and collective action, including specific moments of interference within the movements towards Black, feminist, and queer liberation, let’s turn away from old, legacy publishing models towards something new: an ethics, craft, and politics of urgent making.”
This book is a reproduction of the photographs and texts from the lecture by Paul Soulellis risograph printed in a 112 page book. Taking only 11 days from the lecture on February 27th, 2021 to the finished book on March 10th, 2021, this book is an urgent publishing response to an urgent text. The book is an edition of 200 designed by Be Oakley and published by GenderFail.