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Act of Publishing: "Publish or not to. Publish"


by Giselle de Oliveira



'Publish or not to. Publish' has been a project I have been working on for the last months as a part of my research project at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The Netherlands. It is an ongoing project about the "act of publishing." It fits very well with the way I have been self-initiating projects related to issues on graphic design but in a very non-academic way.


I have been also publishing a t-shirt series called 'submissive t-shirts' for the last year. Here I use the surface of the t-shirt to experiment with the 'message' that a t-shirt can carry. How far can you go on its surface, and how far the user/consumer/viewer can identify him/herself with the message?

 

'Publish or not to. Publish' started when I was invited by the Design Department of the University of Concordia in Montreal, Canada, to take part in the declaration symposium organised by this institution from October 25 to 28, 2001. Here, engagement and graphic design was the central theme of the gathering. Instead of writing a paper and present a theoretical view on the issue, it seemed to be more suitable to make a piece of work instead. In this work, my ideas and views concerning the profession would be more clear than any other word.

 

My main interest is to keep the memory alive of the pure act of publishing. I understand the term 'publish' quite openly.  For me, everything made and distributed in the public space, whether it is a song, a t-shirt, a symposium, or a book and etc... is a publication. That's why in the website you not only read interviews on traditional publishing media as printed matters and websites but also on non-conventional publication so to speak, a Canadian Ska Band, a freelancer journalist working for commercial commissioner or the 'National network of people living with hiv/aids.'

 
As a graphic designer with a background in anthropology and philosophy, who has also worked as a radiomaker for several years, I am not interested in only doing design jobs for third parts. I am also an active producer of meaning. Commercially, I have been working as a graphic designer for the last 5 years but I have been also interested in discussing and bringing attention to the profession to a non-designer audience.


'Publish or not to. Publish' originated from this need to bring theattention to areas which haven't been so explored before or have been not interesting at all for a wider public. I have always been interested on the corners of the room instead of its center. I am interested in a sort of archeology of publishing. as a designer, we produce a lot of products which are further distributed and consumed. But what has always called my attention is the fact that the public is only confronted with the end result. You go to the bookshop and you buy a magazine.  You go to the museum and you buy a catalogue of the exhibition. But what you don't know is how much effort has been put into that publication until the moment it lands onto a shelf. How many hours, pleasure and tears have been spent to bring that object/subject to your attention. Sometimes you work 6 months on a project for 60 hours a week and the only thing which is left over is a cd.  What was the original dream and drive?


'Publish or not to. Publish' wants to recover this leftover space. The gap between the original idea, the initial drive to the end result. How many hours did you spend on that project, how did you fund it, how many people did you work with, and did it turn out to be something else? This process of production is what 'Publish or not to Publish' wants to be. It is also interesting for people who have been thinking about a project but don't know how to initiate it or how to find funding, for instance. It can work as a place where people can get ideas to publish and hopefully exchange ideas.


At this moment, 'Publish or not to. Publish' contains a series of interviews with people who has been producing or produced publications.  There are also cases where people talk about their practice stead of a specific project. The anwers reflect the understanding of each participant instead of my own ideas. I appreciate it very much when people give meaning to my words instead of pushing my meaning onto them. My aim is to work it out into a database format, with a online questionnaire, where the user can navigate through the various interviews using different keywords. Hopefully it will be implemented in the first months of the next year. I am also planning a sort of a garden-space where people can place some projects which are too small to function by itself. But that's for the future. Originally I sent around 90 questionnaires and got, untill now, 29 back. Hopefully it will grow.

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To Publish or Not to Publish:
http://www.janvaneyck.nl/users/giselleo/
Those Who Publish
http://www.janvaneyck.nl/users/giselleo/those.html

Why Publish
http://www.janvaneyck.nl/users/giselleo/why.html

>>>LM; as part of "Act of Publishing" research project >>>
E-mail to Giselle de Oliveira>>> gi_sell@yahoo.com
This issue is dedicated to such distinguished artists and author as (alphabetical order):
We will be celebrating the second anniversary with the Winter-2002 issue.
Deadline: January 7, 2002
This e-magazine is under the umbrella of The Light Millennium, Inc.,
which was granted a NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization
status based in New York since July 17, 2001.

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