10 Nov 12 Nov 2011
"One by-product of alternative publishing is the possibility of alternative reading."
Alternative Readings is an encounter inviting readers, publishers and writers to discuss topical issues in the field of art publishing today. The meeting is conceived as a series of interventions exploring strategies on and around art publishing, with a focus on the Middle East and Europe. The encounter considers the publication not merely as a physical object but also through the different stages - material and immaterial - and configurations leading to its production. Forms such as the reading group, the library, piracy projects and the revisiting of historical publications are all strategies deployed within the art world that uncover, test and explore the publication and its potential. What discourses, forms and possibilities of engagement can publishing projects offer today?
The diversity of invited guests will provide an array of perspective on publishing practices in Europe and in the Middle East. Revisiting archival material (98weeks; Archive Books), performing the magazine or the text (Mounira el Solh; Marwa Arsanios), thinking the temporarily of reading in relation to the production of knowledge (Ghalya Saadawi), or rethinking strategies of circulation and distribution (Eva Weinmayr, Judith Raum), Alternative Readings offers different perspectives on publishing, specific to cultural and social contexts.
Hosted by the Villa Romana in Florence, the meeting will be open to the public upon registration and will be moderated by Mirene Arsanios (98weeks). Parallel to this encounter, the Villa Romana Pavillion will host a temporary bookshop, open to visitors during the meeting’s three days.
98weeks (Beirut): Research on Historical Arab Magazines
Archive Books (Berlin): Chiara Figone
Judith Raum (Berlin): The Contemporary Arts Library Prishtina/Berlin
Eva Weinmayr (London): AND publishing / The Piracy Project
Mounira AL Solh (Beirut): NOA magazine
PROGRAM - ALTERNATIVE READINGS
All participants arrive. We meet in the afternoon and do an informal group presentation.
Roundtable takes place throughout the day. The public needs to register to attend.
Introduction to the meeting: Mirene Arsanios
Presentation of 98weeks activities and publication research (Mirene Arsanios and Marwa Arsanios)
Chiara Figone, Archive Books
Performance by Marwa Arsanios, Read the Titles
Judith Raum, The Contemporary Arts Library Prishtina/Berlin
Eva Weinmayr, AND publishing / The Piracy Project
Performance by Judith Raum (open to the public)
We Are Not the Same: The Inside-Out of a Reading Group (talk)
Group discussion, final conclusions
Performance by Eva Weinmayr
(pause) 21 scenes concerning the silence of art in Ruins
98weeks research project (Lebanon)
On publications is a research project launched by 98weeks in April 2010. The research consists of a re-reading on several historical arts and culture publications that were produced and distributed in the Arab world since the 1930s. As the material has become a testimonial to a certain artistic and intellectual life in Arab world, our interest is to activate it by inviting writers, poets, artists and collectors to intervene or re-interpret specific issues from these collections, thus reflecting upon the different processes of modernization and ideals of modernity circulated in publications through translations, experimentation with layouts, aesthetics, language, and utopian ideas. 98weeks On publications research has four main focuses: mainstream publications (al hilal, kitabi etc…) literary publications (she’er, adaab, mawakef etc…) artistic publications (founoun arabia, founoun tashkilia, gallery 68 etc…) and fanzines and porn publications (Beirut post, al jeness etc…).
98weeks research project is an artists organization and a Project Space (since nov. 2009) founded by Marwa Arsanios and Mirene Arsanios on the 31st of October 2007. It is conceived as a research project that shifts its attention to a new topic every 98 weeks. Focusing on artistic research, combining both theoretical and practical forms of inquiry, 98weeks’ projects take multiple forms such as workshops, community projects, seminars, reading groups, publications and exhibitions.Today, 98weeks team is Mirene and Marwa Arsanios and Yasmine Chemali.
Marwa Arsanios (Lebanon)
In the performance, Read the Titles, I cut up a section from Al-Hilal magazine called the news of tomorrow and after tomorrow, make a paper costume out of it, wear it and read the titles in a live performance. The collection that I used is from the years 1960-1967.Al-Hilal is a cultural magazine that is printed in Egypt. Read the titles is part of the project Olga's Notes from Al-hilal collection, 1960-67 Egypt.
Marwa Arsanios completed her BA in Graphic Design from the Lebanese American University (2001), and obtained her MFA from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London (2007).She has exhibited in London, Beirut, Athens, Oxford, Lisboa, Santiago de Chile, Rome and Damascus. Her work was shown at Art Dubai in the Bidoun Lounge (Art Park), at the Forum expanded of the Berlinale 2010, at the Homeworks V forum in Beirut, at Tokyo Wonder Site in Tokyo and most recently at the Istanbul Biennale. She is a founding member of the artist organization and project space 98weeks research project, and one of the organizers of the traveling exhibition project Platform Translation. Marwa is also a part-time lecturer in different Universities
Archive Books (Germany / Italy)
Inventory is a representation of a research journey in the form of an archive of publications and printed matter. Starting from a central position in Europe (Berlin), the trip develops toward Eastern and Middle Eastern regions through cities like Poznań, Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia and Istanbul, ultimately reaching Thessaloniki. In this journey we took under consideration the changes and movements currently taking place in Arabic countries and Greek regions, seeing their impact on cultural, economical, political and social structures as a possibility to question European cultural establishments and their patriarchal archives. The project tried to dig deep into the recent past of these regions and into their heritage, in order to record an inventory of anomalies, heresies, anarchism and feminism. What have we seen?
Archive is a platform for artistic and cultural research, debate and self-education. Archive has no formal structure: its members (designers, interns, editors, artists, translators) practice no division of labor beyond the division of competences, no division of space beyond what is required by its use. Archive thus generates shifting and manifold assemblages of individuals – things – groups – exchanges. The stages of its productive cycle (the production of signs) are immediately evident in their social dimension: ‘creation always comes from father away than its authors’s. How do these assemblages come together?
Judith Raum (Germany)
Since 2007, Berlin-based artist Judith Raum has organized the Contemporary Arts Library Pristina/Berlin, a newly created library for contemporary art in Pristina, Kosova, which is at the same time a space for lectures, seminars and other events. The library is nowadays mainly coordinated by artists from Pristina. For the Alternative Readings conference, Judith Raum will touch on a diversity of issues inherent in an art library project trying to install itself on a participatory basis as a functioning institution in a newly forming state. She will talk about the shareholders and their interests in the project, about institutionalization and processes of distributing responsibility and knowledge, and about the discourses represented through the library’s stock and its structure. While working with The Contemporary Arts Library, Judith Raum traveled to a number of countries surrounding Kosova and led interviews whith artists working with self-publishing and archives on contemporary art. Some of these interviews will be made available during the conference.
Judith Raum is an artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. She studied visual art as well as philosophy and psychoanalysis in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and New York City, USA. Her work includes the making of objects and images, lecture performances, writing, interviewing and teaching. She likes to explore interrelations between the political and aesthetical in human activity through material-based work and process-based projects, alone or in cooperation with others. Her work was exhibited in solo- and group shows in German and international contexts, such as The Return, Dublin, uqbar Berlin (2011); Ludlow 38 New York City (2010); 11th Istanbul Biennale parallel events (2009); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt and Platform Garanti, Istanbul (2008). Currently, Judith Raum holds an artist fellowship at the Graduate School for the Arts at the University of Fine Arts Berlin.
Eva Weinmayr (UK / Germany)
The Piracy Project is a response to the threat to shutdown the Byam Shaw School of Art Library. In a joint effort of staff and students, a co-op has been created to program the newly formed Reading Room and keep it open as an experimental and self-organised space. Part of this is the Piracy Project: Through an open call for pirated book projects to add to a Piracy Collection, through workshops, and a series of talks from guest speakers we aim to develop a critical and creative platform for issues raised by acts of cultural piracy. This project is not about stealing or forgery. It is about creating a platform to innovatively explore the spectrum of copying / re-editing / translating / paraphrasing / imitating / re-organising / manipulating of already existing works. Here creativity and originality sit not in the borrowed material itself, but in the way it is handled. The Piracy Project a collaboration between AND Publishing and Andrea Francke. www.andpublishing.org
(pause) 21 scenes concerning the silence of Art in Ruins
(pause) 21 scenes concerning the silence of Art in Ruins is a body of work speculating on the (temporary?) disappearance of Art in Ruins. Formed in 1984 by Hannah Vowles and Glyn Banks, this English collaborative art practice was active in the London/Berlin art scene. Vowles and Banks developed an artistic practice based on communication and reflection on their role as artists within the (art)world. They were post-modern, anti-capitalist, anti-apartheid, pro-punk, pro-Marxist and held strong course to make a lasting name for themselves. After a very visible political and artistic phase of activity, Art in Ruins went quiet. Their silence is booming and makes their critique not even more powerful but open to speculation, leading me to talk to numerous people, who worked with the two artists in the past. Using actual dialogue from these interviews with art professionals, I construct a hypothetical play as an anti-documentary or anti-biography.
Eva Weinmayr is artist, editor and co-founder of AND, a publishing platform exploring print-on-demand technologies and new modes of distribution. Her long-term interest in self-publishing as a horizontal approach to art production and dissemination has led her towards collaborative and discursive modes of activity. Her work spans from interactive readings and performances, to publications and film as well as gallery based installations and activities. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include The Piracy Project, New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 (2011), The Institute of Mental Health Is Burning, Newport Museum and Art Gallery (2011), I Wonder What the Silence was About, Zacheta National Art Gallery Warsaw (2010). Her publications include Water Found On Mars, (Hatje Cantz) a collaboration with Gustav Metzger and Suitcase Body Is Missing Woman (Book Works London) In 2010 she published (pause) 21 scenes concerning the silence of Art In Ruins and Art in Ruins and Unknown Stranger, London 1994, an unpublished project for Frieze (both Occasional Paper, 2010). www.evaweinmayr.com
Ghalya Saadawi (Lebanon)
We Are Not the Same: The Inside-Out of a Reading Group Beirut: Night. The pack gathers. They bring their luggage. They draw lines and borders. They escape definition. They read alone and together. Some desert, some become possessed. They huddle and oil their machines intensely. They create deep bonds and battles. They feel angry and loving. They make and break authors and canons. They transmit and translate. They talk a lot. They navigate to sea and to shore. They read read read for dear life. They persevere. They make a bit more room for living.
Ghalya Saadawi is an independent writer, editor and researcher. She was editor of the Sharjah Biennial 10 catalogue Plot for a Biennial (2011) and co-editor of Untitled Tracks: On Alternative Music in Beirut (with Ziad Nawfal, 2010). She has contributed to Bidoun, e-flux, Frieze, Nowiswere, Third Text, among other publications. Saadawi is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths University of London where she is writing on witnessing, testimony, fiction and minor politics in contemporary art practice in Lebanon and more broadly. She has taught in the social science departments of the Lebanese American University in Beirut (LAU) and the American University of Beirut (AUB), and is currently teaching in the Fine Arts and Art History department at the AUB.
Mounira Al Solh (Lebanon)
The second issue of NOA (Not Only Arabic) Magazine, issue # 2, Arrest Buried Under Something Else was launch at the Istanbul Biennale 11, September 2009. This issue deals with the theme, concept and notion of arrest and has been devised as an experimental gesture, where the lines between an exclusive magazine reading and a performance are obscured. Contributors include Mohammed Abi Samra, The Flogging Room; Alena Alexandrova, To All The Winds That Cannot Be Arrested; Amal Issa, For Security Reasons; Zachary Formwalt, In Exchange For Movement and Erden Kosova Statement VI. Due to space and time constraints, viewing the magazine is by appointment only. To make an appointment, please call!
NOA (2008-ongoing) is a limited print magazine of 5 to 9 copies for each issue. Issue 1 was developed around the sentence Treason is Like a Bible and issue 2 addressed the theme of Arrest. In each issue, different artists, writers and thinkers are invited to contribute. In order to read NOA, an appointment is scheduled at a specific place and time, during a specific event. Some readings may also be arranged in libraries. Only one person at a time can read the magazine, and in some exceptional cases two.
Mounira Al Solh
Mounira Al Solh (Beirut, 1978) studied at the Lebanese University in Beirut (1997-2001 ) and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (2003-2006), and was resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam (2007-2008). Her work has been represented in the Lebanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007, at Home Works IV in Beirut in 2008, at the Istanbul Biennial in 2009, Manifesta 8 in Murcia and at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2011).