Q&A: Michael Cook and Katrina Niebergal
Surviving a Week in the Wilderness: A Guide for Transient Survivalists
by Sarah Davidson
“So you find yourself in a survival situation. Whether you’re adrift in shark-infested waters, orphaned amongst the tangled vines of the Amazon or wandering the ruins of a fallen civilization, it is important to identify your resources, to consider your options and above all, to keep your head! Though you may have arrived here as a victim of circumstance, or by your own design, you will need some basic advice and direction to make the most of your situation. You can take comfort in the fact that many a brave adventurer before you has found herself in positions far more acute than your own, and your obstacles are surmountable.”
Inspired by both a love of literature and a collection of wilderness guidebooks, Michael Cook and Katrina Niebergal collaborated to create Surviving a Week in the Wilderness: A Guide for Transient Survivalists. They launched the book at Sunset Terrace in December, and I sat down with them to find out more about how they came up with the book.
Jeff Derksen: After Euphoria
Friday, January 31
Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston Street, Vancouver
Lecture 7pm in NB 245
Reception and Book Launch 8pm at READ Books
Review: Limner Journal
Between comic book artists and editorial designers there are…
by Sean Scott
Limner Journal is a periodical produced intermittently by Studio Operative, a publishing studio that focuses on contemporary illustration and its surrounding discourse. As they state on their website, they “collaborate with exciting illustrators to facilitate work that is reflective of the eclecticism of illustration as a subject.”
The key word in this phrase is “eclectic.” The current position of illustration is fascinating in that it doesn’t always involve—as most people think it does—drawing comics and designing editorial pieces on an Adobe program. Though both of those are completely feasible forms of practice, they represent a proportionate part of the contemporary illustrative world.
Discorder New Format Launch Party & Fundraiser
The Astoria Pub, 769 E Hastings, Vancouver
Friday, January 31 from 9pm until late
$5 before 10pm, $10 after
What We Talk About When We Talk About Artist Publishing:
A Nod to the LA Art Book Fair
by Chelsea Rooney
(M)ost people would agree to a common sense definition of what is or is not a book. But in the work of artists this obvious definition soon loses its clarity. Is a book restricted to the codex form? Does it include scrolls? Tablets? Decks of cards? A block of wood with one end painted with a title, like a conventional spine? A walk-in space of oversized panels hinged together? A metaphysical concept, disembodied, but invoked in performance or ritual? – Johanna Drucker, The Century of Artists Books
Too often when we talk about artist publishing, we overlook its multifarious forms. There’s more to publication than the traditional book, and when we forget this we miss out on the wild variety artist publishing has to offer.
The same sentiment could be aimed toward the Los Angeles art world, which many critics interpret by its history of supposed false starts. The LA Times thinks that because the city is “(f)orever re-creating its art scene with new galleries, updated museums, unconventional outposts and the latest crop of graduates from Southern California schools, L.A. seems to be a place where the only way to look at the arts is forward.”
Image: Zine by artist Oana Citan
Artist Series: Sylvana d’Angelo, Zine Club (Vancouver)
by Stephanie Fung
Artist Sylvana d’Angelo founded Zine Club in the summer of 2013 during her studies abroad. Zine Club is a round robin of international zine trading and distribution. It is a thirteen-month long project where each club member sends a zine in the mail and receives a zine in the mail each month. By the end of the project all of the participating artists will have one zine from each club member and a collection will be made.
Project Space: How do you define a “zine”?
Sylvana d’Angelo: For me a zine can be any collection of printed materials 8.5″ x 11″ or smaller. I like to define the term as little as possible to make room for any sort of new idea in my personal collection of zines. As print media, zines have been extensively explored and I am excited to see the medium re-interpreted in a progressive way.
Image: Zine by artist Tyler Crich
The Vancouver Association for Noncommercial Culture:
We Worked at a Time When the Term “Feminist” Seemed Redundant
by Chelsea Rooney
Over twenty years ago The Flyer Project entered the homes of 30,000 Vancouverites, disrupting their assumptions and becoming one of the first documented incidents of Interventionist Art. In March, 1991, readers in east, west and downtown Vancouver opened their Courier and, alongside its typical fare—local politics, housing and social issues—found a newsprint tabloid featuring sixteen artists’ takes on taboo topics: women and AIDS. The cultural marginalization of immigrants and refugees. The intense isolation of motherhood.
With The Flyer Project, the Vancouver Association for Noncommercial Culture—a nonhierarchical organization whose members worked under mandates of skill sharing, volunteerism and advancing notions of public space—drew attention beyond the pale. The alternative tabloid is marked by its questions that pose as answers, inquiries disguised as statements.
Build Them a Bookshelf and They Will Buy Books: The History of the Bookshelf
by Sarah Davidson
If pop-psychological scaremongering about emerging technologies makes you roll your eyes, then turn away from our current cultural moment and join me on a journey, deep into the subconscious of North American daily life. Follow me and I will take you back to a time when life was simpler, before Amazon bought Kindle, before photocopied zines became hip, and then passe, and then hip again. Follow me back to a time when the cultural forces shaping innocent brains were the machinations of an emerging cultural class, with books, not bytes, as their most powerful weapons.
At the beginning of the last century, as the ravages of World War I gave way to the great Depression, publishers found themselves in a bit of a bind (pun intended). The struggling middle class was spending too much time struggling and too little money on books. Publishers decided to call in the big guns: Edward “father-of-spin” Bernays, a man who was also involved in helping Woodrow Wilson turn a gun-shy WWI America into an anti-German fighting force, in making it socially acceptable for women to smoke “torches of freedom” (Lucky Strike cigarettes), in using his uncle Sigmund Freud’s techniques to sell bacon and eggs as “All-American” breakfast, and in writing an influential book on propaganda (which greatly inspired the thinking of Joseph Goebbels).
Store it in the Ethersphere
by Sean Scott
When one wanders into bookstores, galleries, art spaces, etc., it becomes apparent that a great deal of time and effort goes into the display of printed material. As viewers we have an affinity—or a requirement—to engage with an object, the space it inhabits and the context in which it is placed.
How wonderful it is to see printed works displayed in such intriguing and beautiful ways. Theophile’s Papers is a platform dedicated to the diffusion of independent publishing, fanzines, journals, magazines and other printed matter. Its physical spaces in Brussels and Paris are fantastic examples of environments that focus on the unique nature of printed material as much as they focus on designing beautiful installations and spaces for printed material to exist within. Works sit beautifully as individual objects but also as a part of a collective whole, involved and interacting with the installation.
This is apparent not only at Theophile’s Papers, but also across hundreds of other physical spaces around the globe. So what about maintaining these collections within virtual art spaces?
Doodling in the Margins: jwcurry, bpNichol and other Canadian visual poets
By Sarah Davidson
I have in front of me four little books that I’ve had for years and which have always puzzled me. They have a hand-made, provisional quality about them and they cost a penny each.
One of them is only one small card folded in half and contains a single drawing/poem by bpNichol:
The others are anthologies of short works printed on envelopes or white card:
The works are largely by writers who worked together and in tandem beginning in the 1960s and 70s. In the few times I’ve encountered them, as the fringe of Canadian literature or as early Canadian artists’ books, I’ve always had the sense that this particular avant-garde was an extremely insular community. Chelsea Rooney’s article about the Image Bank recounts one archive which collects some of this work.