Publishing and Place

Illustration, Myles Wright, The Dublin region; advisory regional plan and final report, Dublin: Stationery Office, 1965-67; image courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.

Next week Tuesday I will be hosting a panel with writer and researcher Nathan O’Donnell on the theme of ‘Publishing and Place.’ This panel is part of the Centre for Postdigital Cultures Annual Conference, which takes place June 15-16 and this year focuses on The Postdigital City for Post-Pandemic Times (more info underneath). You can sign up for the conference (and the panel) here: https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/about-us/research-events/2021/the-postdigital-city/

This panel was inspired by a wonderful series of workshops on Publishing and Place Nathan organised in April and May, which I very much enjoyed taking part in. I hope that in next week’s panel we will be able to continue some of the conversations around publishing and place the workshop participants previously started.

Publishing and Place: Situated Knowledges in Art and Academia 

Tuesday June 15th: 3.20pm-4:40pm.

Many digital publishing projects and initiatives (even those with print outcomes) now take place predominantly online via (open) digital infrastructures and internationally distributed networks of scholars, writers, editors, designers, printers, and publishers. Punctum books, a scholar-led press with editors based on several continents, has gone so far as to sign their ‘place of publication’ in their books with ‘Earth, Milky Way’ to reflect this state of being. Yet publishing is of course very much situated, through its modes of production (from printing plants to warehouses) as well as through the networks of human and non-human relationalities that enable the publishing process. The seemingly global and digital publishing ecosystem is held up by geopolitical power structures leading to structural inequalities and exclusions, especially for those from the Global South. In contrast to our so-perceived ‘global’ knowledge systems and publishing infrastructures, more situated publishing and knowledge projects often respond directly to critical local or regional issues through a close engagement with the places to which they are connected.  

This panel focuses on how situated forms of publishing have and continue to play an important role in our post-digital publishing endeavours. Focusing on publications and publishing processes that foreground or interrogate their own entanglement within particular situations, relations, conditions, and materials, this panel will explore some of the political dimensions and collective potentialities of certain forms of post-digital publishing. In this way, through talks, discussion, and reflection, focusing on both historical and contemporary publishing, the panel aims to reaffirm the importance of place in publishing.  

Bios

Dr Janneke Adema (she/her) is a cultural and media theorist working in the fields of (book) publishing and digital culture. She is an Assistant Professor in Digital Media at The Centre for Postdigital Cultures (Coventry University)In her research she explores the future of scholarly communications and experimental forms of knowledge production, where her work incorporates processual and performative publishing, radical open access, post-publishing, scholarly poethics, media studies, book history, cultural studies, and critical theory. She explore these issues in depth in her various publications, but also by supporting a variety of scholar-led, not-for-profit publishing projects, including the Radical Open Access Collective, Open Humanities Press, ScholarLed, and Post Office Press (POP), and the Research England and Arcadia funded Community-Led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project, on which she is Co-PI. Her monograph Living Books. Experiments in the Posthumanities, will be published by the MIT Press in the summer of 2021. You can follow her research on openreflections.wordpress.com

Dr Nathan O’Donnell is a writer, researcher, and one of the co-editors of an Irish journal of contemporary art criticism, Paper Visual Art. He has published fiction and creative non-fiction as well as critical work on modern and contemporary art. He was an IRC Enterprise Postdoctoral Research Fellow at IMMA, 2018–19, and continues to work on projects with the institution, including the annual IMMA Summer School. He has led several public art projects and other participatory and educational initiatives, and he had his first solo exhibition (focused on alternative educational philosophies) at the Illuminations Gallery at Maynooth University in 2020. He has led several public art projects and other participatory and educational initiatives; he has also edited and produced several project-based publications and zines. In 2020, with Marysia Wieckiewicz-Carroll, he founded Numbered Editions, an experimental imprint for artists’ writing. He has been awarded artist’s bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council, as well as artist’s commissions from IMMA, Dublin City Council, the Arts Council of Ireland, and South Dublin County Council. He teaches at Trinity College Dublin and on the MA Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD, and he is currently writer in residence at Maynooth University.


The Postdigital City for Post-Pandemic Times

Registration is now open for next week’s ‘The Postdigital City for Post-Pandemic Times‘ conference. Attendance is free and all are welcome, but please register here: https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/about-us/research-events/2021/the-postdigital-city/

Organised by The Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University, UK.

‘The Postdigital City for Post-Pandemic Times’ will take place online over the course of two days:

  • Tuesday 15 June, 2021 (12:30pm – 6:20pm BST)  
  • Wednesday 16 June, 2021 (10:30am – 2:50pm BST) 

Keynote speakers:

  • Binna Choi – director of Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons
  • Leslie Kern – Mount Allison University, author of The Feminist City (Verso, 2020)

‘The Postdigital City for Post-Pandemic Times’

All cities can now be said to be postdigital since digital information processing has permeated nearly every aspect of their existence: communication, entertainment, education, energy, banking, health, transport, manufacturing, food, water supply. Yet cities today also face numerous predigital problems: poverty, population density, unemployment, racist state violence, segregation, social inequality, violence against women, climate breakdown and threats to public health posed by novel viruses. Given the funding cuts imposed by governments in the name of ‘austerity’, a lot of cash-strapped cities have been forced to reduce their public infrastructure budgets. Britain has closed 800 of its public libraries since 2010, for example – that’s almost one fifth of the total. The coronavirus pandemic has only made the situation worse, and not just in the UK. A survey of 760 museum directors by the American Alliance of Museums found that one third of their institutions may not reopen after the outbreak. As a result, the path has been left clear for private providers to enter spaces long considered the domain of the public sector. That many cities are planning for their post-Covid future by looking to for-profit businesses for investment and infrastructure, often partnering with multinational data surveillance companies such as Amazon, Google and Uber, is all the more surprising given the virus has clearly exposed the danger of relying on the private sector. Doing so led to vaccines for diseases with pandemic potential not being developed in advance as businesses perceived them as having insufficient potential to generate profits for their owners, shareholders and investors. The fight against a pandemic only works if everyone everywhere is vaccinated, not just those who can afford to pay for the privilege. The same can be said of other aspects of municipal health and welfare. Cities are only really fit to live in if they provide all of their human and nonhuman inhabitants –– people, animals, plants – with a decent quality of life. The climate and environmental crises have made this clear. 

How can we reimagine our cities for post-pandemic times? And what role can postdigital media, from AI and FemTech to augmented reality and 360 video play in such public placemaking? This conference will examine how artists, activists, designers, theorists, practitioners, publishers and writers can work together (albeit not necessarily without disagreement and dissensus) to intervene in and transform cities for the 21st century world after austerity, the Covid outbreak and the recent Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and violence against women protests. It will explore how postdigital cities, and the cultural institutions within them, can be reshaped, including through the provision of a diverse range of co-created and co-curated alternatives to those currently being offered by the state and corporate realms. It will show how urban citizens and communities can use the infrastructural tools and resources generated by advocates of open access, free and open-source software, p2p filesharing, copyfarleft, ‘piracy’ and the anti-privatized knowledge commons; and how they can build their own anticapitalist, antiracist or antiheteropatriarchal versions of galleries, libraries, archives and museums. By cultivating conditions for a wide range of situated ideas, initiatives and projects, the conference will look to generate a nonharmonious pluriverse of more socially just and environmentally sustainable ways of living and working in the postdigital city.

The conference includes panels on:

Being Public: placemaking with the whistle-blower, the heckler, the killjoy and the protestor / ‘She Was Just Walking Home’: on violence against women / Publishing and Place: situated knowledges in art and academia / The Immersive City: co-creating with 360 video, augmented and virtual reality / AI and Algorithmic Cultures: from predictive policing to intelligent assistants on phones and in homes.

Participants include:

Adrienne Evans, Debra Ferreday, Devi Kolli, Gary Hall, Ian Bruff, Ian Forrester, Jacqueline Cawston, Janneke Adema, Kevin Walker, Lena Wånggren, Lindsay Balfour, Maria Economou, Matt Davies, Mel Jordan, Nathan O’Donnell, Priya Rajasekar, Ravin Raori, Sylvester Arnab, Vidushi Marda

Find out more and sign up here: https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/about-us/research-events/2021/the-postdigital-city/

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