An Interview with Nina Prader

 

 

Could you tell us more about Lady Liberty Press?


I call myself Lady Liberty Press, which I consider my label. It opens up this field. On the one hand in the word Lady Liberty, there is freedom, but on the other hand there is this idea of the printing press, PR, or “the press” as writing about something. Im making the product, the book, but also the content. I define my practice in the field of printed matters. This field is so wide and gives me the freedom to work with everything from a zine to artist book, a comic, radio, culture journalism… Being an artist is such a lonely thing. I always want to connect with and learn about other people. I think the best art is usually an exchange. That exchange takes place for me mostly via things like books, writing, interviews or how you relate to an image you see in a book. When it comes to distribution, you can share on a wider scale. Im really old school still in the way that I think paper has a radical potential.

 

Or radio…

 

Yes. In a way, these mediums are becoming ftishizd*. They used to be the main form of media. Now, radio doesnt really exist in real time as something you access. I think more people listen to my show Paper&Tape as a podcast than on air. In that sense, the show is like a performance. The aftermath of it spreads.

 

Stretched in time…

 

The same thing goes for books. Artist books are becoming such a big thing in the art world. Zines are even entering the art world or university archives, where they have been put on pedestals in a way. They used to just be a way of actually getting people to come to your music show or to get people to come together. Im interested in those things. Or how a flyer can be political and now a flyer is also just an art work… For my radio show I draw a new flyer each time. I barely use photoshop, when I scan it. Then it can be a little more blown out or trashier. This idea of having trashy flyers on the Internet and on the streets… But, they are originals or an edition of a poster, rather than just being information. Im adding an aura to them.

 

 



On your webpage, certain keywords got my attention such as remembrance, labor, feminism, consumerism; exile, migration, resistance. Could you explain more why those words are important to you?

 

For me, there are  two types of art. Art as a product that has a market value, but then there is this part of me, who is a total ideologue and thinks that art is actually a process; art can make visible the unseen things or maybe even heal conflicts in the world. This may be too big but its a good idea to follow. On the one hand, Im dealing with printed matters, these physical things, but then Im also dealing with conceptual subject matters like labor conditions, pop feminism, remembrance culture…

 

Sounds like a utopic approach…

 

I love the idea of utopia, but I also think utopia can only happen through hard work. Im working on a series now called Sweat Utopia. Sweat being the juice that is produced in the making of utopia. Ideals that maybe cant be achieved but must be tried.It’s a good motor.

 

Will it be a zine as well?

 

Right now, its little fragmented comics. At the end, it might become a zine. I havent quite figured out the format, yet. I feel like, the tools that I have to interact are always through art. The way that I define my art practice is through text, image, translation and social practices or performative gestures. Thats my way of trying to tackle these massive subject matters. I dont think Im going to cure cancer, but… (Laughter) But, I think writing or finding new forms of visual representation can shed light on blind spots.

 

* Some words are censored by this conservative server such as p0rn or fatish, therefore I try to find ways to use different letters to be able to use such words

25/08/16 14:10 Summer Academy 2016

On Books with Bernhard Cella


In the book NO-ISBN on self-publishing created by you, Leo Findeisen and Agnes Blaha, there is a text by Ulises Carrion, who says: ?The book is a time-space sequence.? His text was written in 1975, and of course, the understanding of the nature of time and space was different back then. In this sense, how would you reinterpret this sentence? And how does this statement relate to the recent discussions on book making in the so-called post-digital era or the trope of the ?death of the book?.

?

In 1970s, that kind of publishing the author was talking about used to be done only by a few people who had either access to technology or the money to commission services. By contrast, self-publishing today is a mainstream act, there is a possibility for everyone who wants to publish as a result of digital printing or Riso print.

?

We could say that the internet became a mass medium in the year 1995. From that point onwards, everyone could use it. Then, from 2000 on, social media started to have an impact on our experiences in day-to-day life. I still call myself a half-analog person. I remember that we had no digital experience at all during my childhood. At university, we started to use computers in relation to artistic production. Today, we have more options and the question is how to combine analog and digital media. Books are still the safest way to contain information. Digital media, like DVDs or flash drives, are still not safe from the ravages of time, from becoming unusable after a few yearsThe only medium that can accomplish this like books might be analog-film, but even they start to decay after about 50 years. Tomorrow we will visit the archive of the University Library to see colored prints from the 15th century. Imagine! 600 years of preservation! It will still take some more time to find a way to save digital information for such a long time.

?

The boom of self-publishing is only possible in the context of new media and internet. The publishing scene around the world is very diverse. Without trying to copy the professional publishing world, they just create their own environment. We see a completely different phenomenon compared to what Carrion was reflecting on at his time. His text is still very interesting to read, although it?s 40 years old ? quite exeptional.

?

?

?

Yesterday, you also mentioned that until recently the history of self-publishing had not been written properly and that some crucial characters, such as Lucy Lippard, who is one of the founders of Printed Matter New York, were even excluded. Why is that?


Well, don?t ask me why, because I honestly don?t know. For some reason, she was not always mentioned, when the history of Printed Matter was written.. But she was still present, and I think nobody would reject the fact that she was a part of it. The way we deal with memory is constantly changing, but I think we?re now living in a time when people are becoming more precise. Today, they do more research than thirty years ago, when you couldn?t have done something like this, because you didn?t have all this information that is available online today.

?

Could you briefly explain the schedule you follow for your class?

?

The course deals with the status quo of the printed book and concomitant questions. It enables participants to design and develop their own publications, from the initial idea, through the conception, right up to dummies as a finished product. You create a form, fold the paper, make sketches, you translate your idea into pages and make a timeline? We negotiate how to use the medium for our own interests and we also talk about typography and design In our course, we try to investigate the various approaches and forms of production for our project. These include analyzing pictorial language, different formats and varieties of paper, methods of text production, typography and typesetting techniques. Images, text, the hierarchy of content on the page; different schools of the past? Last week, we were talking quite a lot about theory and analyzing artists? publications.

?

Everyone in the class has a different approach. Most students are artists. They have a distinct way of dealing with the medium of books in comparison to graphic designers. One student is doing a PhD, so she is trying to find a way to organize her thesis. Before getting into printing, you have to rethink the whole concept. At that point, you have to reprocess the structure of the publication and sometimes the content as well.

?

Here comes the cheesy question: How do you organize your own library?

?

My personal library is organized simply by topics. Sometimes I pile up the books that would benefit for a particular project I am working on at that moment. The idea to sort books by color resulted from my studio work.

?

When I first opened the Salon f?r Kunstbuch in my studio, visitors often asked for certain topics, such as photography, sculpture, or theory. When you enter a space that is filled with books, of course you try to find a way to get an overview. Therefore, I thought that breaking the usual order, which is based on topics, might help to encounter new books. By re-arranging the books according to colors, the readers are lost at first, and then they find something new and unexpected.


One specific quality of art books is that the colors or their sizes have a?specific meaning for their design . A multitude of expressions finds a way into the design of a book. This is a part of the experience, and part of what makes them attractive to me and to many others who live and work with books.

?

?

?

?

22/08/16 13:36 Summer Academy 2016

Fine Small Movements

?

?

Despite the stone sculpture class at the Quarry, all the studios will be working with small movements in the last two weeks. Rather than big gestures, focusing on the initial idea is more crucial. As artist Nicolas Wild put, it is reminiscent of a monastery?



Wild's class The Craft of Comics has done an exercise on the first day: collective comic drawing. A student chooses a word from a book such as short, up or distance. The first person starts the drawing and gives it to the one near by. The following drawing has to be created by using the same character and a new word. Excellent exercise to practice storywriting.


?
?
Tex Rubinowitz class Homage
?
?
?
?
Bernhard Cella The Book as Printed Space −Concept and Printed Work
?
?
?
?
Aaaron Angell? Radical Handbuilding
?
?
?
?
DISTRUKTUR Film as a Sensitive Body
?
?
Maha Mamoon?s class has been watching films and discussing phenomenons such as the CCTV cameras and their possibilities for artistic use. ?A camera is always on and an incident might happen at any time ? in a way like fishing.? Tex Rubinowitz and the students work on making an homage ? still discussing whom to choose. While the class The Craft of Comics by Wild is creating their main character for the story, DISTRUKTUR?s class is learning each and every step of using a 16 mm camera from the scratch. They take out the film, roll and wash it with specific developers and make jokes in between. The students of Bernharnd Cella focus on handwriting, combining typography and architecture, creating a historical fashion moodboard and contemplating on ethnography and colonialism in relation to tattoos.?

Actually there is an exception considering the small movements: ceramic makers are digging the soil to make Romano British Kilns with an old technique, which is also the first trial of the artist-teacher Aaron Angell.

(Do you remember the scene in the film Ameli? that the protagonist was helping a blind man to cross the street and instantly explaining what?s around in this short period of time? The paragraph above reminds me that.)

?

?


?

18/08/16 13:48 Summer Academy 2016

How to make a ring while thinking about Big Bang...

How often do you think about Big Bang, the ?prevailing cosmological model? according to Wikipedia. Well, to be honest, although this coalescence of small particles shaped our world, I don?t...? That?s why I?ve asked designer Marc Monz? why he chose this particular topic The Big Bang and You for the class. According to the designer, usually jewellery makers work with really small scales, whereas the phenomenon of Big Bang generates such a contrast. Besides that isn?t Big Bang all about atoms and small particles merging together just like a bracelet or an earring?

?

?
?

As it?s a broad topic, students have been influenced by various aspects of this scientific event such as analysis of space or the cosmic world? This morning the class was discussing about how to organize the space for their final exhibition on Friday, which will start at 3pm with an open-end. Should they use fabric or paper for the surface to display their designs? How will the poster be? For sure, the play with light and dark will be present and also various audio recordings of their work space. Seemed like the initial idea is really to transform the space and create an atmosphere, which is totally different than how it is right now.




?

?Here is the invitation!

17/08/16 14:19 Summer Academy 2016

with Senam Okudzeto on "Orthodox Drawing" and "Afro-Dada"

Bernd Hendl's final project "a response to the challenge to make an 'unorthodox' drawing" as explained by Okudzeto



You are teaching the course ?Unorthodox Drawing?. What do you mean by that and could you explain more about the structure of the class?

?

The course is called? ?Unorthodox Drawing?, but since the establishment of avantgarde practice, there is nothing really ?unorthodox.? It is more about looking at the history in ways which people have challenged drawing or taken it off the page and put into the space; using the principles of drawing to make dance or lines with their body or actions; or divisions of physical space.? I take the students through historical examples from Robert Rauschenberg to Yvonne Rainer and then ask ?what was your preconception of what drawing is and how can you challenge that?? So the meaning of the word orthodox or unorthodox comes from the individual. It?s about how would you transform a drawing from your understanding, cultural background? My class ranges from 16 years old to much higher (roughly 75 years old). Given their age ranges, it?s also interesting to see how they work; their understanding of the world. What moves them, what doesn?t?

?

?

For instance, I?ve asked them to make a drawing that isn?t a drawing or using the materials of drawing in an unexpected and unusual way; to make a set of instructions, reflections or objects that play around with what they think drawing is. Some of them use videos, some do actions, some practice their drawing skills as we also work on formal drawing techniques focusing on body and the form ? if they don?t feel confident as an artist or don?t have skills in a formal sense they don?t feel they have the authority to do something.

?

?

We do formal sketching as well. I?ve developed a technique which helps people to improve their drawing skills quickly. Every morning we do these rapid exercises and then tighten up the focus. In the afternoon, they have weird exercises designed to work on some of the principles such as ?how to interpret the space?, ?vision and perception.? Drawing is a language so vision and perception is culturally mediated. We practice to learn to recognize objects, spaces and environment and recognize how culture can intervene in vision and perception. These exercises help them to learn how to break up the picture plane, construct the space and to stop worrying about skill.? They say a good artist knows the limits of her/their/his skill and how to develop a sense of language. So, my teaching techniques attempt to take the pressure off of the idea of skill in a formal sense and start to push students towards think about drawing in terms of vision-perception and analyzing the space and creating a system to make constructions.

?

?

In Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (2015), Michelle Wright points out the micro narratives in history that were excluded as a result of understanding of time in relation to science and how linearity was shaped from a ?white? perspective. In your talk you mentioned the influence of Afro-Dada in your work, which is another micro narrative. Among all other narratives that are excluded from the canon of European art history, why did you choose especially Dada, but not another movement?

?

?

I should have made it clear in my talk that ?Afro-Dada? is a term of my own invention. I?ve been using it for the past ten years to describe the objectives of my artistic and academic research, which are to uncover forgotten narratives of modernism in the canons of general and art history dating from the early twentieth century forwards. ?Last year I taught a course at the Kunsthistorisches Seminar at the University of Basel called ?Contexts of Modernity in Post-Independence Africa(s)? which dealt a lot with these themes and how they find form in material culture. Although you can see it as a micro narrative from a Eurocentric perspective, throughout history, the formation of Negritude and subsequent anti-colonialist narratives (that in part), found inspiration from the anti-bourgeois political actions of Dadaists like Tristan Tzara, became a major narrative for people of African descent. Anti colonialist movements, Pan-Africanism, ?the achievement of complete changes of government systems through independence movements; the development of Black cultural Modernisms. These are narratives that relate to the self-determination of an entire continent of 54 countries ? It?s a matter of cultural perspective to call this a micro narrative because for people of African descent this is a macro-discourse belonging to an overlapping shared world history that has been ignored for too long. There are hundreds of different theoretical influences in my practice, but my decision to define my practice as Afro-Dada is tied to a formal and political affinity with the Dadaists call for social revolt. For the past twenty years I?ve refused to be represented by a gallery, I run an artist?s led and funded NGO project in Ghana that supports education and heritage in the arts, I relate to Dada because I relate to its demands to turn the system upside down and invent a new order.

?

There is an ongoing failure within the larger canon of art history to incorporate narratives of black identity outside of its platforms of cultural apartheid. When I?m with the class I show them works of African artists, African-American artists as well European artists from the canon. I don?t make any distinction. We talk about Robin Rhode?s images alongside Nam June Paik, Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith? I show them a diversity of information by not necessarily tying it to one culture, but giving everybody an equal platform.

?

?

16/08/16 12:45 Summer Academy 2016

:: Next >>

  • ARCHIVE
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May  2016
  • April 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015