Drucken Heften Laden

Reflections on Theory and Practice of Independent Publishing

8–18 January 2015
Opening: 7 January 2015

Event Series


nGbK, Oranienstraße 25

Project group

Erik Göngrich, Heimo Lattner, Katja Reichard, Ines Schaber, Peter Schmidt, Florian Wüst

Self-publishing with simple means is a common endeavour, and the less money is available, the greater the enthusiasm seems to be. But the distribution and perception of small print publications can quickly reach limits. The relevant know-how about the intricacies of book publishing is not something to be taken for granted. So Drucken Heften Laden will analyse and discuss the conditions and possibilities for independent publishing in the context of art and city (politics). The exhibition presents a temporary archive, with selected nGbK titles published since 1969 and contemporary books and journals. Running parallel to this is a three-day closed workshop, the themes and results of which will be integrated in the public series of events.

adocs, Hamburg
Architektur in Gebrauch, Berlin
Archive Books, Berlin
Michael J. Baers, Berlin
Books People Places, Berlin
Botopress, Berlin
Edition Bernward Reul, Berlin
ernstundmund, Leipzig
Errant Bodies, Berlin/Los Angeles
form und sinn, Berlin
Fulcrum, London
image-shift, Berlin
Wolfgang Kil, Berlin
Metabook, Amsterdam/Berlin
metroZones, Berlin
nGbK, Berlin
Revolver Publishing, Berlin
Scriptings/Achim Lengerer, Berlin
Spector Books, Leipzig
Temporary Services/Half Letter Press, Chicago/Kopenhagen
The Green Box, Berlin
von hundert, Berlin
ztscrpt, Wien/Berlin

Topic: Independent publishing. Small books and little journals. What does that actually mean? Why, and for whom? Is the work of publishing part of an artistic and/or political undertaking? Who does what in the production process? Is there a set design concept? Is there sufficient time and money for copy-editing? The publisher issue: look for a relatively established publisher, or found one yourself? Or is it possible without? How are the books and booklets distributed? What size of print run can be realistically self-distributed, or would it make more sense to look for a professional distributor, or even an international one? Will the bookshops – the usual suspects – be enough, or rather a webshop, and off to the post office every morning with the orders? Or straight to Amazon? What are the advantages to having a risograph in your cellar? Is print on demand a viable option? Financing: will the project finance itself through sales, or will it require subsidising?Have you tried crowdfunding already? The tricky pricing issue: expensive, because it’s calculated fairly, or cheap, because even your own network is counting every cent? Or for free? Have you ever been reviewed? Context: how important is it to organise events around the publication? Do you need a showroom? Is the publication linked in any way to other forms of agency? Is a downloadable PDF of a rare book like television? However late at night a film is shown on TV, it will still be seen by more people than it would in the cinema. Have you already considered making an e-book? Or would that betray your love for the printed word, the real thing you hold in your hand, on the table, on the shelf, in the room?

Drucken Heften Laden – Reflections on Theory and Practice of Independent Publishingis connected to the projected foundation of Berliner Hefte zu Geschichte und Gegenwart der Stadt (Berlin Journals on the History and Present of the City), a series of publications on urban topics.


Mittwoch 07 Januar 2015, 19h,
Opening and presentation by Brandon LaBelle

Exhibition opening
The Inside and the Outside of a Book
A presentation by Brandon LaBelle (Errant Bodies)

The book is a repository of voices; the book is a scene of mystery; the book is an object and a subject; the book hides, and then surfaces; the book whispers, screams, trembles, withstands; the book travels, it migrates; it also sits still; the book collects dust; the book may stand – it even lies down, or folds over; the book smells; the book demands attention; the book may catch fire; it may survive as well; the book creates shadows, hides the face, distracts us; it incites glances; and on certain days, the book inspires radical activity; the book is erotic; the book is annoying – it figures an emotional landscape; inside; outside; all around; the book is a global project.

Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. He develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, often working collaboratively and in public. Recent projects include “Civic Center”, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, “Sixth Housing Estate”, South London Gallery, London, and “Hobo College”, Marrakech Biennial parallel project. He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and author of Lexicon of the Mouth (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2006). He lives in Berlin. (http://www.errantbodies.org/”www.errantbodies.org”)

Freitag 09 Januar 2015, 19 Uhr,
Vortrag Brett Bloom

Publishing in the Realm of Plant Fibres and Electrons
Ein Vortrag von Brett Bloom (Temporary Services)

Temporary Services has been publishing in plant fibers and electrons since we began. We seek to make the aspects of our art working and our publishing transparent and open for others to see, challenge, and borrow from. Brett Bloom will be present to talk about the group’s publishing history and how it uses both print and digital publications to build community, tell stories that are neglected or go untold, challenge the dominant culture and narratives around art, and to champion art that does not serve commercial interests. Among things that will be discussed are: the anti-social nature of ebooks; why Print On Demand hurts artist publishing; the democratic and liberatory uses of PDFs for making an artist book commons; the differences between “artist books” and “artist publishers,” and trying to understanding the complicated ecological issues of printing in either paper or digital mediums.

Temporary Services is Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer. We are based in Copenhagen and Chicago. We have existed, with several changes in membership and structure, since 1998. We produce exhibitions, events, projects, and publications. The distinction between art practice and other creative human endeavors is irrelevant to us. We started Half Letter Press, a publishing imprint and online store, in 2008 to publish book length works by people working in non-commercial and experimental ways. Our latest title is An Edge Effect: Art & Ecology in the Nordic Landscape, edited by Bonnie Fortune (2014).

Donnerstag 15 Januar 2015, 19 Uhr,
Vortrag Delphine Bedel

Self-Publishing – The New Economy of the Book
Ein Vortrag von Delphine Bedel (Metabook)

Delphine Bedel will speak about the drastic economic and technological changes occurring in the publishing industry, and how this affects artistic practice and art institutions. In the perspective of the book as a privilege medium for artists, her talk will address the shift from print to software culture. Besides looking at new modes of production and distribution as well as expanded forms of “books”, her new research project and publishing platform Metabook will be presented.

Delphine Bedel works as curator, artist and publisher, specialised in emerging publishing practice in photography, art and design. Founder of Metabook and Amsterdam Art/Book Fair. She regularly contributes to books and magazines, and is a frequent speaker in international conferences and seminars. Currently PhD Researcher at Leiden University/PhDArts and Research Fellow at ZK/U in Berlin.