Experimental Publishing – Critique, Intervention, And Speculation
In 2019 and 2020, the Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC) will be hosting a series of symposia exploring contemporary approaches to experimental publishing. Over the course of the series, we will ask questions about the role and nature of experimentation in publishing, about ways in which experimental publishing has been formulated and performed in the past, and ways in which it shapes our publishing imaginaries at present. This series aims to conceptualise and map what experimental publishing is or can be and to think through what lies behind our aims and motivations to experiment through publishing. As such, it forms the first activity within the CPC’s new Post-Publishing programme, an initiative committed to exploring iterative and processual forms of publishing and their role in reconceptualising publishing as an integral part of the research and writing process, i.e. as that which inherently shapes it.
Experimental publishing can be positioned as an intervention, a mode of critique, and a tool of speculation. It is a way of thinking about writing and publishing today that has at its centre a commitment to questioning and breaking down distinctions between practice and theory, criticality and creativity, and between the scholarly and the artistic.
In this series of events we propose to explore contemporary approaches to experimental publishing as:
- an ongoing critique of our current publishing systems and practices, deconstructing existing hegemonies and questioning the fixtures in publishing to which we have grown accustomed—from the book as a stable object to single authorship and copyright.
- an affirmative practice which offers means to re-perform our existing writerly, research, and publishing institutions and practices through publishing experiments.
- a speculative practice that makes possible an exploration of different futures for writing and research, and the emergence of new, potentially more inclusive forms, genres, and spaces of publishing, open to ambivalence and failure.
This take on experimentation can be understood as a heterogeneous, unpredictable, and uncontained process, one that leaves the critical potentiality of the book as a medium open to new intellectual, political, and economic contingencies.
- How can we re-imagine publishing? What would a speculative, experimental post-publishing entail? What does publishing mean in an inherently post-digital environment?
- For what reasons do we publish our research-in-process?
- How do specific formats or platforms actively form and perform our research and writing and with that ourselves as writers and researchers?
- What does this mean for the established academic and writerly forms, institutions and concepts around which publishing has been developed (e.g. the book, the author, copyright, the university)?
Topics: Multimodal publishing; Processual and iterative publishing; Anonymous and collaborative publishing; Post-digital publishing; The materiality of the book and writing; Performative Publishing; (Rethinking) the relationalities of publishing; Piracy and ownership; Remix/re-use; Posthuman Authorship; Versioning