On the occasion of the independent art publishing market to be held in Bologna from 2 to 4 February 2018, named Fruit Exhibition, ATPdiary has interviewed some of the participating publishers. On that occasion you will find artist’s books, catalogs, graphic design projects, magazines and zines.
Everything will take place in the spaces of the historic Palazzo Re Enzo, where there will be a hundred independent Italian and foreign publishers, as well as a program of conferences, workshops, exhibitions and installations.
Here the interviews.
0815 studio, various Zines 0815 studio, 2015 – 2017

0815 studio, various Zines 0815 studio, 2015 – 2017

0815 studio 

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

0815 studio: There are two different ways for us.
For example, certain photo projects or collaborations that must work on the quality of the images and the idea. Of course, these have to be printed and processed more elaborately. Then there are projects for which there is no money or we find the idea more important than the qualitative work, then of course we can do without certain things and can realize this cost-effectively.
Of course, we try to give each project our own personal touch, thus creating recognizability. Be it through the imagery or as with our zines, through a repetitive effect that generates a kind of serial character.

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

0815 studio: 0815 editionen ist always focussed on the in-between. Contrary to the ever-increasing trend of aesthetically translating and coding what has been seen, we focus on the simple, the first thing what it is and the beauty that lies hidden in it. What then arises between the viewer and the image is what interests us and forms communication that transcends the page. We think about visual and non-visual spaces and work with artists who also find themselves anchored in this construct.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

0815 studio: The strength lies in being able to work completely freely and independently, without being influenced by commercially controlled interests of somebody else.The difficulty of not drowning in the tide is here to show the strength of the flag.

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

0815 studio: We do not often think about the things of others, but we are very happy about every interest that the digital transcends and that is devoted to the wonderful experience of reading, seeing, talking and thinking.

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

0815 studio: Money

MonoRhetorik, Anagram Takeover, Matt Plezier and Sergej Vutuc , R/NDOM zine, 2017

MonoRhetorik, Anagram Takeover, Matt Plezier and Sergej Vutuc , R/NDOM zine, 2017

Monorhetorik

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

Monorhetorik: To me there is not one publication. It is more like a stream of different publications without one editorial idea. For me ‘self publishing’ is part of my art practice.

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

Monorhetorik: With my publications it has always been very random, hence the name of my first zine: Random. Urban photography re-kindled my interest in publishing three years ago. But in those three years of publishing under the name R/NDOM and MonoRhetorik I have done a wide range of publications from activist newspaper editions to photo zines about my road trips to catalogs of my exhibitions to books that are artworks in itself. For the upcoming Ass Book Fair in Paris I am printing shirts and zines that are again completely different from previous work. I like the challenge to work on different concepts.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

Monorhetorik: The total freedom and independence to create what you want and when you want to. Being able to make small editions instead of a minimum of 150+ of each publication. Dealing with stores and people that you click with on a personal level rather than on a commercial level. This makes it more fun and satisfying too. 

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

Monorhetorik: Artists see self publishing as a good way to present their work to the public, the group interested to make and to see self published work has grown considerably thanx to these fairs and meetings. Did it increase commercial succes? Not necessarily in my case, for me it is about meeting people, doing collaborations, getting my name around, seeing a lot of art and getting inspired. 

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

Monorhetorik: Coming from a background of DIY punk and having run a punk record label since the 90’s independent publishing comes naturally to me. I do not see any real difficulties that comes with independent publishing, actually producing publications and finding your audience is much easier now with the modern techniques available.

Witty Kiwy, 1999, Iacopo Pasqui

Witty Kiwy, 1999, Iacopo Pasqui

ottoGraphic

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

ottoGraphic: I make picture books for adults

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

ottoGraphic: I make image based stories about anything I feel is relevant, educational and entertaining. I am primarily interested in graphics, but I also care about content. Often it is subjects that are neglected or overlooked.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

ottoGraphic: I can’t speak for others, but I have to publish my own material, as I need the flexibility and freedom to make any book I like at any time I like. I think it is very important to be independent in order to tell exciting stories.

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

ottoGraphic: Again,  can’t speak for others, but I have recently increased my bookmaking efforts, as I feel I have something to contribute, which isn’t provided by traditional publishing industry.

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

ottoGraphic: Everything is difficult about it, generating work, printing and making books, marketing, distribution, relations with shops. The most frustrating part is not getting paid by shops, but I am lucky now to deal with some very conscientious retailers.

Chippendale Studio, Amnesia, Roberto Cavazzuti, 2017

Chippendale Studio, Amnesia, Roberto Cavazzuti, 2017

Pacabooks

ATP: How would you describe the editorial cut of your publication?

PACAbooks: PACAbooks is an independent editorial project and in a certain way a personal project, although it is nourished, from time to time and depending on the project, by the collaboration of artists, curators and friends who are part of the artistic community that we have been generating in these last four years around PACA_Proyectos Artísticos Casa Antonino, an Artist Run Space that I manage in a rural area of ​​Gijón -Asturias.
PACAbooks publishes magazines, fanzines, catalogs and artist books, mainly related to the activities carried out within the framework of PACA and with the works, research and processes developed by the artists in residence.
Each detail of a book tries to respond to the project that becomes body: object book, photo book, artist book, fanzine and all possible hybridizations. Narration, space, time, body. Single work or limited edition (we do not make large runs) blank pages that are time, touch that puts us in contact with the work. In PACAbooks we enjoy making books that are born as independent works of art and that when they document something that has already happened (an action, a research, an exhibition project, workshops, residences …) they do so by adopting a new autonomous body, a sediment of meanings new or complementary that take a different temporality, dilated and concentrated at the same time.

ATP: Which topics are you discussing and how do you choose them?

PACAbooks: Given that most of the publications published up to now are linked to PACA, the themes are closely related to the landscape, the eco-aesthetics and the artistic projects developed by the artists in residence at PACA. These same residences already have a particular profile, site and audience oriented: they seek the activation of artistic experiences that favor the relationship with the community, the territory and its history, so that the practice, investigation and artistic experimentation, besides having an aesthetic and poetic valence, can generate new ways of interpretation and knowledge about the territory in which they operate, through cultural, environmental and social values. The resulting publications want to be, thanks to the book support, other physical and temporal space in which we can show the works made, but also the creation processes and open reflections, with critical texts, dialogues, testimonies … etc so that their formal concretion (type of paper, design, printing methods …) is shaped necesssarily by the nature or soul of each project. There are two main lines in pacabooks, one is represented by the biannual “Creadores de Paisajes”  magazine, that feeds mainly from Habitantes Paisajistas (Landscape Inhabitants) a project that I develop annually in collaboration with the Villa Romana de Veranes Museum: cycles of workshops, conferences, walks and exhibitions around the local landscape and about the relationships between urban and rural envirornaments, in which artistic practice is integrated with diverse perspectives and knowledges (archeology, anthropology, bio-architecture, history, botany or agriculture). The journal is a record and documentation of such activities. On the other hand, special editions and artist’s books that are largely born in relation to the residences developed in PACA: this is the case of “Eingedenken | Recordación | Trabajar para comer”, 2016 (exhibition and art in residence catalog  with artists: Tamara Vignati, Claudia Gambadoro, Irene Coppola, Miguel Braceli, Collective OffMothers, Hector Z. Siluchi and artists from La Vidéothèque Archive: Isabelle Hayeur, Anne-Charlotte Finel, Yasmina Benabderrahmane and Ailbhe Ni Briain. Or the ones published in 2017-2018: “Desde lo mínimo” (From the mínimum), project of the Valencian artist Nika López with a reasoned text by Juan Llano Borbolla; “Cotidianas” an artist’s book by Daniel Franco and “La memoria del pan” (which is mine), both artist books born from the project Habitantes Paisajistas 2017 about the culture of bread.

ATP: What is, in your opinion, the strength of independent publishing compared to that of large distribution?

PACAbooks: Perhaps one of the most positive aspects is freedom, both in the content of the proposals, and in the materialization of the book, and also the independence from market pressures. Since they are very limited circulation publications, their distribution, therefore, is very targeted: few direct sales points, we try the presence of our publications in publishing fairs, contemporary art museums and documentation centers related to our line of work, also in galleries, or through public presentations. One of the weaknesses is the low budget, but this, instead of going in detriment of quality, on the contrary: we just decide to make smaller editions, less quantity but a lot of quality and “care” in each project. This allows me, for example, to use hand-made and made-to-measure paper, with vegetable fibers, with hand sewn and totally handcrafted, using traditional typographical techniques (types of wood, presses, pullers …), antique fabrics for making the covers, including original/unique works, analogical photographic printings, lithographies, xilographies… in order to create limited editions an artist’s books which are signed and stamped by the artist or in close supevision and collaboration. Another positive aspect is the time spent and direct contact with the people who are part of that project: Sometimes the texts arise from conversations that extend in time beyond the residence period, there is a sedimentation time to go deeper into what that we want to transmit and how we want to do it, generating intimate, familiar and intelectual spaces. In the case of Cotidianas, for expample, Daniel Franco came to PACA and he himself made the artist’s book, exchanging ideas, processes, techniques. I think that many of these aspects are possible because I do not feel the need for massive production and distribution and because the PACAbooks publishing project is closely linked to the PACA project and therefore adapts its times and needs, which are also mine. It is an artistic project that uses the book as material support, that’s how I see it.

ATP: In recent years we have seen the proliferation of fairs and ‘meetings’ dedicated to independent publishing. How do you motivate this interest? Does the increase of the manifestation also correspond to an increase on the commercial level?

PACAbooks: I think that the proliferation of independent publishing fairs responds to the general context of the proliferation of fairs as one of the most effective systems within the contemporary art market or art system for visibility, dissemination and sales. Given that this is the context and that it is necessary to dance to the rhythm of the music that is playing nowadays, logically the world of art books and independent publishing projects also needs to make tis own space in the system. This year we’ll participate with Pacabooks in Arco Madrid, and I remember with great enthusiasm once I went to Arco 2014 -at that time I was still living in Italy, and I found an entire section dedicated to artist books and art publishers: As tables are shelves. The recognition of these works within a contemporary art fair through the presence of this section at the fair, is a good point. Not everyone can buy a painting, a video or a mega installation, but quite a lot of people can buy an artist book or a fanzine, a special edition … this medium allows a larger accessibility, dissemination and gives visibility to young artists. In addition, as I said before, the book allows another kind of narration and another form of contact perhaps more intimate and introspective with artist’s work (they can be photos, drawings, a catalog, a single articulated project accompanied by intuitions, texts …, elements that they facilitate a complex and deep reading). Another important aspect about fairs that goes beyond economic and commercial performance, is the possibility of weaving collaborative networks. Many of the independent publishing projects, have a reduced budget and trying to maximize efforts is fundamental. It happened to me at Fiebre Photobook fair in Madrid, in which we participated last December: together with consolidated editors and institutions, there was a large number of independent, very personal projects; talking to some of them, possible future collaborations were raised, some are more specialized in distribution, there is who- like us, has an artistic residency space that can complement the ideation, production and publication of a project, sharing resources, not only economic ones.

ATP: What are the main difficulties in being an independent publisher?

PACAbooks: The main difficulties I think have been already enunciated: the economic resources, the capacity to finance and produce a project is limited, and that has its positive consequences (as I said before the curated selection of each proposal and the care and quality with which it is presented) but also negative, since it limits the number of each edition (which affects the visibility of the work, the impact) and the amount or magnitude of the projects to be carried out. It is also true that in our case, pacabooks is not the only activity that we develop or it is not autonomous with respect to the rest of the artistic projects we carry out and therefore our capacity, even with more money available, would always be conditioned by the amount of time that we can dedicate it, or it would mutate, in some way, the nature of the project itself. Linked to this aspect of economic resources is the issue of distribution, it is the whiting that bites its tail. I think that theese are the weak points for independent publishers. The lack of (I speak for me) a fixed rate of publications and large editions that facilitate large distribution, forces me to spend a lot of time in targeted distribution, in the generation of networks and contacts, in public presentations, in short, much energy for the visibility of each project (and therefore of the people who are part of it). On the other hand, I realize that the sale price (artist book or special edition) is always more expensive with respect to large distribution publications (whose infrastructure allows them to have lower production costs). In our case, costs and prices are determined in part by the nature of the materials and techniques employed (also because that is our profile and I want it to be like that), handmade processes that also require a lot of time for their realization. And perhaps a handicap for its sale and distribution, is the particularity of the projects we present, it is not about big names of the art world, sometimes they talk about very local experiences, and this already creates a quantitative reduction in the possible number of buyers.

Anna Fietta, Sheep do it better, 2007

Anna Fietta, Sheep do it better, 2007