[-empyre-] HYBRID BOOKWORK, Week Three - At the Digital Publishing Crossroads: Design, Documentation and Art Practice

Angela Genusa angelagenusa at gmail.com
Wed Feb 19 09:54:49 EST 2014

Thank you Michael and empyreans for having me a guest for this discussion.
I appreciate the opportunity to share and learn from others here. I will
begin by addressing a couple of topics Michael suggested.

I am interested in working with digital "debris" of all kinds in my work:
taking it, reframing/recontextualizing it, manipulating it, and then
reproducing it in other formats, particularly print, using POD. My practice
is in line with what artist and creative director Paul Soulellis calls
"search, compile, publish."
http://soulellis.com/2013/05/search-compile-publish/ . My current work is a
natural outgrowth of my writing and art using analog "debris" and
"detritus." I sometimes collaborate with a programmer to create my work.
But I am more interested in that sweet spot between automation and
manual/affective labor and therefore often do the "searching and compiling"

I often use spam of all kinds in my work because of its ubiquity and
"interestingness." Spam "forms the bulk of digital writing, its essence"
(Steyerl, 2011). [It's estimated to make up 80% of all email and 80-90% of
comments posted to blogs and wikis (2007). I have not found statistics on
blogs, wikis, and web sites that are comprised *entirely* of spam. See
http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/OCTO_a_00067 ; also, Finn
Brunton's book, 'Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet' (2013)
How could a digital artist today *not* be interested in or use spam in
some way? See this 2013 interview ("Why Spam?") in Jacket2 magazine
http://jacket2.org/commentary/why-spam , which describes how I became
interested in working with spam and my book 'Spam Bibliography.' I read
about and regularly search for all kinds of spam to look at its latest
content, forms, methods, etc., and to see if it is material I might want to
use some way in my work. I also search for image spam and information about
it (see Steyerl, 2012
http://www.e-flux.com/journal/the-spam-of-the-earth/) to use in my
work. As Steyerl says, "Any archaeologist, forensic, or
historian--in this world or another--will look at it as our legacy and our
likeness, a true portrait of our times and ourselves."

I began using POD in 2011 because as ABC (Artists' Book Coop) recently said
in an interview: "Print-on-demand liberates artists from the oppressively
expensive and laborious demands of traditional publishing. Print-on-demand
is fast, cheap, and light. It exists outside the power structures of
publishers and distributors. Few people take it seriously and we are one of
the few. We're not interested in what the books smell like, how they're
bound, whether they're embossed or printed on the finest papers on Earth.
Those are luxuries we can live without. We're interested in raw ideas and
there is no better transporter for a great idea than a book. A single book
if needs be. And with the internet, the ideas in that single book can go
viral and reach millions in a split second. No need for proposals, book
dummies, meetings, bank loans, trucks, boats, trains and planes to ship
hundreds of kilos of heavy books across the world into warehouses and
bookshops. A powerful idea expressed in a collection of pictures bound
together for the price of a meal and placed online can bypass all of that."
Like Luc said, I am waiting for the espresso book machines to arrive at the
bookstore or copy shop around the corner to publish my book works (however,
then distribution becomes an issue). I also have had work accepted by
publishers like Gauss PDF and Troll Thread who publish their books in PDF
and distribute them free, with POD copies available for purchase.

All my best,
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