[-empyre-] February Introduction - HYBRID BOOKWORK: Experimental eBooks, Post-Digital Publishing

Michael Dieter M.J.Dieter at uva.nl
Tue Feb 4 06:25:31 EST 2014

Hi all -empyreans-

I'd like to introduce the theme of Hybrid Bookwork for this month, but
first, I need to thank the -empyre- team - Renate Ferro, Tim Murray, Simon
Biggs and Patrick Lichty - for supporting me in putting this together. It's
really a great opportunity to develop some ideas on a topic I've become
quite interested in and excited about, and I hope that it's also a useful
and thought-provoking discussion for all subscribers.

Second, and crucially, thanks to all our guests who signed up for February,
and have volunteered their time and expertise! It often seems as if there's
nothing but increased demands on our time and attention these days, so this
sort of generosity and commitment is I think really commendable.

So with that said, here's the description of this month's theme and a list
of all involved...

Experimental eBooks, Post-Digital Publishing

False starts and speculative projects have typically characterized attempts
to disrupt and innovate the printed book through new media; however, the
recent popularization of tablets and e-readers, emergence of commercial
platforms for production, distribution and sharing of e-books, and ongoing
digitalization of printed archives suggests an important threshold of
sorts. Here, a distinct computationality has taken hold following the
aggregative and indexical aspects of file formats, data-mining supported by
addressability and mark-up, tethered feedback of devices, and the flexible
affordances of reflowable layouts. While digital technology has been
integrated into print publishing processes for several decades, such
developments suggest a profound material reformation of how books are
produced, distributed, experienced and mobilized as resources. It should be
no surprise that issues and controversies around intellectual property,
privacy, creativity, sustainability, reading (distraction/attention),
authorship and the fundamental status of the book as an epistemological
object regularly erupt and unfold within these settings.

In relation to the significant uncertainties of publishing, artists,
authors and designers have begun exploring new possibilities and
re-configurations of contemporary bookwork. Critical and exploratory
projects have addressed questions of access, the quantification of content,
creativity and epistemological questions at the intersections of language
and machine processing, at times drawing from histories of avant-garde
practice, artist's books, concrete poetry, spam, web detritus and
subcultural production. Likewise, engagements with print have become
increasingly experimental by reflexively harnessing the materialities of
paper, while translating and twisting software-based techniques into
challenging neo-analog compositions. Described as 'post-digital' or the
'aesthetic of bookishness', such dynamics intersect and crossover between
media, and speak to the complex hybridity of the book today.

Over the month of February, the -empyre- list will discuss economic,
epistemological and aesthetic stakes that characterize this moment,
inviting several guests to reflect on and respond to the topic of hybrid
bookwork and the potential new directions of contemporary publishing.

Featuring: David M. Berry, Mercedes Bunz, Florian Cramer, Angela Genusa,
Lukas Jost Gross, Alessandro Ludovico, Silvio Lorusso, Søren Pold, Domenico
Quaranta, Rita Raley and Benjamin Shaykin.

Moderated by Michael Dieter.


Many thanks again, I'll post an introduction to our first contributors
tomorrow with some background information about them, along with some
starting points for the first week.

Until then,

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