Off to the Soup Kitchen…

 

Today I am off to the Soup Kitchen event in Stoke at Airspace as part of their Conjunction season.  I am talking about self publication and online media…yes this stuff!  When first asked to do this I thought back over the years and the many kinds of publications I have been involved with – what worked and what didn’t, what lessons may have been learned, and what, if anything, I could contribute to a discussion on the subject in 2012.  After all we now live in the age of ‘stuff’…so much ‘stuff’ that much (maybe very nearly) all of the contemporary art ‘stuff’ is pretty much surplus to requirements?   Artists publications now fill a huge part of the ‘stuff’ far more so than when I started out…or even (see above) when I was working regularly in a gallery and producing material.  Of course most of what I was responsible for was publicity material and catalogues rather than artists publications (though we made a few of those too).  Back then the costs and production processes for even the simplest of printed material was fairly prohibitive and the standards and quality of print variable to say the least.  But I sometimes think that the sifting and filtering processes led to more considered results than, for example, this text I am writing right now.  That said it is also easy to imagine that some of the thinking and imagery that is now mediated simply online (not least given the exponential growth of it) has important things to say to our culture and I worry that it will get lost or wiped .  I certainly recognise that some of the cheap, flimsy, print of the past is now highly valued and collectable.  Today I hope we may explore some of these issues as well as look at how and why as artists we are drawn to publication as a form.

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