THE GREY GUIDE — 06 / Resources and Resourcefulness

June 7, 2017

Montréal (Québec)

Brief 06

Resources and Resourcefulness

THIS BRIEF introduces reference documents that approach print-based publishing and distribution as a practical undertaking, rather than a theoretical engagement or conceptual project. While these “how-to” checklists are useful entry points, they are also reminders that these are complex fields of activity whose shape and purpose are both enabled and constrained by the language used to describe them.

How to Make a “Boring” Book
A key resource, which we have affectionately titled “How to Make a ‘Boring’ Book,”is a sample production schedule that was developed in 2005 for an artist-run centre with a mid-size annual operating budget of approximately $175,000. It follows a process typical of museums and public galleries as they publish printed catalogues or thematic anthologies to accompany their exhibition programming.

Beginning with a series of questions one ought to ask from the onset of a publishing project, this production schedule may serve as a useful guideline for producing standardized genres in visual-arts publishing. However, it also leaves ample room for creative interpretation and subversion of these genres through artistic strategies.The conceptualist affiliations of artist-run publishers lead them to call into question the aesthetic forms that visual-arts publishing can take—as well as these forms’discursive power to name and confer value upon artists and artistic practices. In the expanded media spaces of digital technologies, the aesthetic effects of splitting or migrating content between print and online platforms can also be explored much in the same way as we, in producing this guide, have explored expanding its format from campaign format to interactive PDF to print. A lack of resources (human,technological, financial, etc.) will also force a potential publisher to deviate from this “ideal” process, as it is illustrated in this document.

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