This month’s Forum focused on Self-Publishing. Two artists, Jorge Lizalde and Rowena, co-founder of Tant magazine, presented works that enlightened us with two very different approaches to self-publication.
Jorge’s ‘Log’ series is a chronological collection of images taken daily on his mobile phone since 2009. These edited works have formulated into a curated ‘E-book’, or ‘Epub’. Jorge uses the internet as his primary way to present work to a wide and indiscriminate audience, in the form of a digital publication. This is a growing trend, and the reasons are obvious. Self-publishing on the internet is free and allows almost complete artistic freedom and editorial control. It brings artwork outside of a physical book or gallery format and into something intangible and, well, modern. Having originated from a mobile phone, the images lend themselves well to being displayed on a screen format, as to physically manifest them in print would completely change the nature of the images.
Jorge’s publications prompted discussion on the physical nature of exhibiting art and the way in which technology dictates the way we relate to each other and our work. No matter how much we resist these motions, we are constantly both bombarded with, and demanding of, instantaneous information. With our demands on technology and its demands on us, how is it possible to strike a balance in both our everyday lives and within our artistic practice?
In relation to Art Fairs (the topic of March’s Forum), gallery representation, commercialisation and connecting with other people regarding your works, the issues surrounding internet publications are varied. In some ways the purpose of Art Fairs are to ‘meet the maker’, to view (and sometimes purchase) tangible objects. Jorge, and I’m sure many others, will have experience of taking part in shows or publications purely as a result of the internet. Jorge as been part of a few projects now, consequential of his work having being seen online and never actually physically meeting with the other parties involved. This has prompted collaboration with photographers all over the world, resulting in a Columbian based project named SanCocho de Ojo (literally meaning, Soup of Eyes). See www.sancochodeojo.tumblr.com. It is evident from Jorge’s practice that the internet offers an endless realm of social and artistic possibility. Although the work essentially exists in a virtual realm, for commercial purposes he has developed a CD Format of his ‘Log’ E-book, which is available on www.jorgelizalde.wordpress.com/log-the-e-book, where it is also possible to re-blog and follow his work. If you’re interested in publishing an Epub, see www.calibre-ebook.com, www.code.google.com/p/sigil and www.blurb.com for more information. Jorge’s work also features in Chris Brown’s article on the way social media has changed the way artists work in March’s a-n magazine. See http://www.a-n.co.uk/an_docs/a-n_magazine_1203.flip/#/10/zoomed.
Tant Magazine is a collaborative editorial process founded by Rowena Fromtant and first produced in November last year. Rowena describes the publication as an intersection of a recorded document and a lifestyle. The publications, each (to be) unique in their process and format, are organically developed objects that explore social and artistic connections between individuals, locally and globally. Tant is viewed by its creators as test-space that serves to provide a relationship-wide document. Its line-up is always changing and it is this dislocation of identity that Rowena hopes will keep it thriving. The publications are open to submissions in all forms with no set parameters of content or format. You can apply via their website www.tantmagazine.com.
Integral to the ethos of Tant is collaboration. The formal and social connections made, are through chance occurrences and associations and push its contributing artists into new and exciting territory. The publication is, in a sense, curated though there is no fixed editorial standpoint that dictates its direction. There is no curatorial hierarchy; Tant seeks to be an all- inclusive process and discourse between its participants, be they artists, writers, designers, musicians... creating a sort of editorial “collage”. It is important to Tant to explore different forms of existence, be they visual, verbal or otherwise. Forum itself was considered by Rowena to be Tant’s second edition- 0.2. 0.3 was launched via typewriter at the Book Arts Fayre at Ffotogallery two days later.
Tant is free, with the view to create an art-object that is accessible and indiscriminate. To put a price on the magazine would change its position and make it a commercial commodity, which Tant’s makers want to avoid, though this prompted discussion on the financial practicalities of self-publication. At the moment Tant remains self funded, though donations are welcome. The physical distribution of Tant is purely down to personal delivery, and although they have a website the marketing is largely down to word of mouth. There are no mail outs, and no online copy. Currently, copies can be located, among other places, in Wales, London, Glasgow and elsewhere. They also have future plans to collaborate with Folio magazine (www.magazine-folio.com) in Istanbul. See www.publishandbedamned.org for more information in the world of Self-publishing.
Freya Dooley (Warp Intern)