Featuring interviews with Kit Hammonds and Bernhard Cella
Independent publishing is experiencing a boom in the art world. The vitality and ubiquity of small artist-editions has gone hand in hand with a proliferation of sometimes highly imaginative micro-fairs and other spaces for sharing, connection, dissemination and distribution.
Post-internet technological development has accompanied this latest stage in the emancipation of the book. Leaving behind its quintessential role as a conveyor of ideas, the book becomes a space for expression, a blank page freed from the responsibility of representing 'reality'. The increasing affordability and accessibility of means of production, maker culture, and the revival of craft and DIY have favoured the boom, which revives and updates the tradition that emerged in the late-sixties, of conceptual artists’ books as an autonomous, democratic space.
Today’s independent publications maintain and strengthen their links to non-objectual, immaterial art as idea and action, although they tend to stay away from the political potential that once characterised the world of the small press, in favour of the shifting sands of the fashionable.
Before the bubble bursts, we speak to Kit Hammonds and Bernhard Cella about the boom, the recovery of supposedly obsolete printing techniques, the risk-aversion of institutional art collections, about professionalisation and about digital generation. We also look at some of the strategies they have used to explore the medium, which range from placing the book at the centre of the exhibition space, to inventing bizarre taxonomies, turning stolen books into artworks, and being seduced by the eroticism of publication raves.
02:55 Publishing and the legacy of Conceptual Art
04:55 The Artist Book is a work of art
07:30 Show, share, sell: the phenomenon of micro art book fairs
12:20 Curating fairs and the case of Publish or Be Damned
13:25 What it means to organise a micro-fair
14:15 Professionalisation, money and meaning
15:30 Boom and bubble: self-publishing goes mainstream
16:08 Self-publishing and political expression: a change of paradigm
18:20 Digital natives and bookmaking
21:45 The small publishing scene in India and China
25:40 The beginning of the collection
29:10 Making a living
31:30 Classifying books by colours
34:26 Interaction rules and stolen books
37:20 Independent curator
43:12 After the death of print: the art world fascination with artists publications
45:40 Publishing as a trendy activity
48:06 The blurring of genres and disciplines in the book form
51:10 Publications as autonomous curatorial spaces
53:05 Teaching: protecting bodies, provoking emotions
53:48 Self-institutionalisation: lack of uniqueness and tick-boxing practises in art book collections