Last week, I featured the Portable Reading Room at the London Art Book Fair 2011. Also making an appearance with a pop-up stall is Publish and be Damned, who run annual self-publishing fairs in London. The Publish and be Damned Soapbox will have new publications by their members, as well as host the launch of the first PABD magazine for alternative publishing and distribution, ‘Three Letter Words’.
11am – 6pm, on Saturday 24th September, in the Whitechapel Gallery foyer.
An enjoyable exhibition called Sense and the City is now on at the London Transport Museum, which explores new ways how our understanding, experience and perception of the city is continually re-shaped by the rapid changes occurring in technology and IT.
The same categories of space and time are radically put into question as the access and fusibility of information is massively altered and boosted by open data, smartphones, and a blizzard of new apps. It is noteworthy to realise how the unconstrained use of these devices make us think of the city, of its vastness and complexity, in a totally different way. It seems we can cover the city, physically and imaginatively, much easier and faster than before. However, the abundance and redundancy of data produced and incessantly consumed, add intricacy and diverse levels of meaning to our vision of the city.
A distinguishing feature underpinning any present project or prototype for future research – as the ones presented by the Royal College of Art – is the restless attention on every consumer’s feeling and perception of the environment which has to be shared and fall in the public domain. The only risk is to accumulate data over data just for the sake of it, and the question is whether out of this over-exposure to information and stimulus we’ll ever find a substantial thread.
Featured in the upcoming London Art Book Fair 2011, held at the Whitechapel Gallery, is The Portable Reading Room. Brainchild of Wild Pansy Press, this flat-pack pop-up booth acts as a gallery, bookshop, social space and studio, and will be debuted from the 23rd to the 25th of September. It’s an intriguing idea – a really dynamic way to interact with people, showcase work and raise the profile of the press.
We’ve had similar concepts for future City As Material events – how about constructing a portable library and making station, that can travel to places lacking access to experimental publications or a self-publishing initiative, and could benefit from a little D.I.Y impetus? The Proboscis circus comes to town!
This Saturday, the 10th of September, we’ll be running a book-making workshop at the New Cross People’s Library, now reopened after its closure by the council in May, and currently staffed by local volunteers, aided by Bold Vision.
We’re asking participants to bring lists and photos of their favourite books, to create a set of eBooks with bookleteer that reflect the kinds of books, things and services people would like to see in their community library.
Join us from 11.00 am – 1.30 pm at…
New Cross Library 283-285 New Cross Road London SE14 6AS
Hope to see you there.
Open till the 21st September, on a temporary license from Lewisham Council, the Library hopes to be granted a new tenancy, and is therefore holding a fund-raising tea party on the 17th of September. Donate £10 or more to attend, and be thanked in tea and cakes!
I’m giving a shout out to two upcoming zine fairs, both held on the 25th of September 2011 – an unfortunate clash, alas.
“THE BRISTOL COMIC AND ZINE FAIR
When: Sunday 25th September 2011, 12pm – 6pm Where:Start the Bus, 7-9 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1RU (map)
The Bristol Comic and Zine Fair brings UK self-publishers together for a one-day market, offering a wide array of comix, zines and other alternative publications. There will be stalls from individual creators, and a communal table full of work from across the small-press underground.”
It’s run by Bear Pit Zine, who describe issue 1, “Upheaval” as a “collection of comics, narrating various disruptive possibilities, imaginations, and alternative futures for the city of Bristol.” This strikes a chord with the sort of themes Proboscis have explored in the past, and aim to do in the future. I’ve just ordered a copy, as we visited Bristol as part of the City As Material series – it’ll be interesting to see an insider perspective.
THE SHEFFIELD ZINE FAIR, at Brezza, 10-14 Wellington Street, Sheffield, S1 4HD, from 11am to 6pm. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before the event, we were asked to devise walking routes to create individual cubes, each side featuring a QR code, linking to a particular geographic spot on an online mapping service (Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, etc) – a start point, four waypoints, and a destination. Using an API Gordon coded, and the bookleteer API, entering the six location URL’s automatically generated a StoryCube. My route, based around memorials and tributes in different forms is available here.
Meeting just after 2.00pm, Simon and Gordon gave a summary of the project, and a recap of the development process so far. We talked about the current limitations of Google Maps when creating the cubes, particularly the inability to share manually added, user designated routes with other people (they require two waypoints to locate the route), and had some interesting ideas regarding the next stage of the project. What about a mix of map links, audio files and videos – an interactive tour, scanning QR codes near points of interest to access audio descriptions and related videos? Or, a quasi treasure hunt, requiring players to obtain QR code stickers for the cubes (discouraging them from scanning all the codes at once – cheating!) from certain spots to get the next destination?
We decided to use Simon’s cube for our first trial, his route focusing on locations acted on by “centrifugal and centripetal” forces – each point “acting as an attractor of sorts, which in some instances cannot be reached, yet which pulls the walker towards it”.
After departing from the studio, Giles scanned the first code to get our start point – the ramp under West Smithfield. Once there, we scanned the next spot, the middle of Charterhouse Square. All was going smoothly. However, after reaching the third spot, the omnimous brick circle in Golden Lane estate (the “Unplace” we featured in the City As Material: Streetscapes event), we were unable to load the next, despite trying with numerous phones – bad signal, or bad omen? Despite this, we were afforded time to ponder its unusual acoustic properties once again, and plot a cunning plan to subvert this synchronised failing of technologies… cheat!
Simon told us his next waypoint, the Curve Gallery in the Barbican Centre, which we arrived at via its winding walkways (after ceremonially scanning the code we missed). Another hurdle faced us here, as to gain entry to the exhibition, we were expected to don quarantine-esque shoe covers, and couldn’t enter as a group. Bah. The penultimate spot, another circle, on Monkwell Street, beckoned.
From there we were awarded our destination, the Museum of London, or more specifically, outside its entrance. Here, we asked if we were able to get into the recently renovated green space below, and were told “perhaps, but you might not be able to get back up!”. Rather than risk it, we retired to the pub right next door, content in a mostly successful first run of a StoryCube Cairn route.
We’re brimming with ideas for what might be possible next. Until then, view all our routes, and download the cubes yourself here.
We’ll be running a drop-in Bookleteer workshop at the upcoming Platform Festival, which celebrates the launch of Islington’s new arts venue for young people, held during the 15th to the 31st of July.
If you’re aged 13 – 19, bring your ideas and digital content – photographs, stories, text, art – on a USB key drive, or create a Dropbox account and share the relevant files, and we’ll sign you up to Bookleteer, help you create your eBook or Storycube, then print and make it, for you to take home on the day and share online.
We’ll be there on Monday 25th July, from 2 – 4 pm, at:
Platform Hornsey Road Baths 260 Hornsey Road London N7 7QT
Pitch up & Publish One day workshops to create and publish booklets and StoryCubes using bookleteer: guiding you from concept to publication and beyond, bring a particular project you want to undertake, or come for an introduction and to experiment. The day will be tailored to your needs so you can bring a particular project you want to undertake, specific questions you want to address, or come for an introduction and to experiment. For new to experienced users, all are welcome. Book tickets on Eventbrite for these dates – 12 July, 13 Sept, £50 / £40 (early bird). Max 10 places per workshop.
Get Bookleteering! Come along to one of our ‘Get Bookleteering’ 2 hour surgery sessions ranging from beginners to advanced, to answer your questions about specific projects as well as introduce new users to Bookleteer. Book places on Eventbrite for these dates – 28 June , 26 July, £20 / £10 (Concessions). Max 6 places per session.
Both event prices include (complimentary Alpha Club membership, 5% discount off your first Short Run Printing order, free pack StoryCubes).
Bookleteer is an online service to help you create and publish booklets and StoryCubes. It’s simple, quick and free – print and make them in minutes using only a pair of scissors, or share them online, anywhere there is an internet connection, computer and standard inkjet or laser printer. Make field notebooks, workbooks, gifts, private journals and folios, or just test your design idea’s before using our short run printing service to print your book professionally in small or large quantities. Unlike other publishing platforms, Bookleteer enables quick and easy modification, as findings may change, mistakes made. It allows you use only the handmade versions or experiment with them before professionally printing. The opportunity to create is endless.
We’ve added some more dates (with different times of day) for Pitch Up & Publish sessions where you can find out more about using bookleteer for your own projects. These sessions are limited to just 6 people at a time so we can respond to your particular interest – whether you’re a complete beginner or want to explore more advanced uses. If you’d like to take part, but the times or the dates don’t suit – please get in touch and we’ll do our best to arrange an alternative time or day.