Experimental Publishing

Working title: Experimental Publishing as Networked Practice and Research Object

In recent years, there has been a wave of publishing activity that reflects ‘post-digital’ conditions, notably with the fast development of e-books and in parallel the resurgence of independent and experimental publishing in physical forms. Research institutions and academic publishers have embraced these developments to an extent but arguably in ways that broadly follow traditional institutional models and workflows. Yet, what remains undeveloped is how we can articulate the idea of publishing as a critical post-digital network art practice? This network aims to expand the means and meaning of what is publishing by investigating the situation in which the act of making things public is central. By creating a ‘publics’ we want to engage people with a broad set of intermingled and collaborative practices, both inherited and to be invented, to critically explore and actively engage with societal issues through experimental publishing. More specifically the proposal is to bring together academic publishing initiatives that promotes open access with the more grass-roots activity of experimental publishing informed by free software development, data activism, as well as process-based publishing practices and post-digital experiments that have been increasingly visible in the field of art and culture production.

As such the aim is to develop research on publishing with a more overt programmatic and computational focus combined with techniques and strategies relevant to do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-with-others (DIWO) publishing. Such an approach takes into account that within these new forms of publishing social organization are also transformed, and it sets out to understand how these two are in fact hard to decouple and/or can create a circular situation. For instance, the decentralised and distributed nature of networked publishing using the version control software git provides a challenge to some of the underlying divisions of labour related to traditional scholarly publishing. It does so by creating a situation where computational concerns and social concerns get entangled. Such an approach offers a problematic technosolutionist approach to digital publishing by opening the black box of social organisation and labour in publishing practices. As a result it forces its participants to think about new possibilities and opportunities to bring the activities of writing, editing and distribution into closer dialogue. The resulting technical (mis)appropriations, modularity, custom applications and collaborative authorship that emerge from this closer dialogue, allow to actively engage and create publics for societal topics and themes linked to contemporary cultural productions, and to expand the means of discourse circulation beyond print media and its direct digital translation.

The research will explore the following core issues:

• How principles of open access (as commodity) might be extended by an engagement with current discussions in free software development.

• What experimental publishing initiatives from outside traditional research communities might contribute to academic practices.

• How workflows and divisions of labour within academic publishing might be rethought.

• How a more overt programmatic and computational focus to existing models of open access, open knowledge and collective and collaborative practices might provide epistemic insights into publishing.


Dr. Annet Dekker (Netherlands) is Assistant Professor Media Studies: Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor and co-Director of CSNI at London South Bank University.

Dr. Aymeric Mansoux (France/Netherlands) is course director of the Experimental Publishing Masters programme at the Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam.

Dr. Geoff Cox (UK) Associate Professor and co-Director of CSNI at London South Bank University, also Adjunct at Aarhus University.

Dr. Nora O’Murchú (Ireland/Germany) is a curator & researcher, currently she is Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Limerick in Ireland and Artistic Director of Transmediale in Berlin, Germany.

Dr. Winnie Soon (Hong Kong/Denmark) is an artist-researcher and currently Associate Professor in the Department of Digital Design at Aarhus University.

Dr. Giuseppe Torre (Italy/Ireland) is a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Limerick in Ireland.