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Peter J. Russo is director of Triple Canopy. From 2009 until 2012 he organized Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1. Triple Canopy is a magazine based in New York that encompasses digital works of art and literature, public conversations, exhibitions, and books. This model hinges on the development of publishing systems that incorporate networked forms of production and circulation. Working closely with artists, writers, technologists, and designers, Triple Canopy produces projects that demand considered reading and viewing. Rosa Lleó interviews Peter J Russo.

The biggest problem in art criticism today is the lack of actual criticism. Interview with Peter J Russo

Peter J Russo at "ARCO(e)ditorial presents: Models and methods. Art, writing, distribution".

Peter J Russo at “ARCO(e)ditorial presents: Models and methods. Art, writing, distribution”.

Rosa Lleó: Triple Canopy is an online magazine that is not as well-known in Europe as it is in the USA, so perhaps you could you tell us, from your personal point of view, about its beginning, how and why it was created and what was its aspiration?

Peter J. Russo: Before becoming interested in contemporary art, I ran a record label called Livewire with some friends. We released recordings of our friends’ bands, published zines, and printed what now seems like thousands of t-shirts. That experience encouraged me to think critically about how culture circulates and is distributed to a broader audience, particularly work that is often considered obscure or difficult to understand. Around 2008, a group of friends began hosting meetings with the aim of founding a magazine. We weren’t sure if the magazine would be published online, as a PDF, or in print after all. Ultimately, it seemed that the Internet was the challenge at hand—to rethink our encounters with art and literature on the Web, which at that point felt fairly impoverished or relegated to a niche interest in exploiting the Internet’s glitches, in the case of Net Art. At the same time, we were thinking about the history of ”new media” publications—in particular Aspen, which had been reconfigured for presentation online by UbuWeb, a useful model for us.

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Banks of images, archives, reproduction of codes and the multiple layers in a reality understood under a variety of possibilities. João Laia interviews the artist Diogo Evangelista. Evangelista presented work at Pedro Cera‘s booth at ARCOmadrid2014.

Bodily visions, double images and archetypes. Interview with Diogo Evangelista

Diogo Evangelista. Sunset, 2013

Diogo Evangelista. Sunset, 2013

João Laia: Throughout your practice you have been privileging the use of common, everyday images, sometimes almost visual clichés. Could you comment and explain your interest in this universe?

 Diogo Evangelista: I believe the most inexplicable mysteries to be found in the more ordinary and sometimes most obvious places. My objective is always to simplify. I start with what’s more easily accessible, magazines and especially the web: youtube, wikipedia and google among others.

In a way the travel is always interior. I am interested in examining where these neglected images can take us, in exploring what they hold inside and what they can trigger in us.

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Joao Laia writes about text on painting (or painting on text), following the work of Irma Blank. The relationship between book and canvas, between the structure of a single page and the gesture of the artist, between language and abstraction.

Paintings, the silent writings of Irma Blank drawings

I. Blank, Eigenschriften, p. 87, 1970

I. Blank, Eigenschriften, p. 87, 1970

Since the late 1960s Irma Blank has been exploring the continuities and ruptures between written and visual languages, focusing on the elemental potentialities of the sign, reimagined as a site of infinite discovery. Blank’s method is established around series of work where the artist explores a specific mode of analytical production. Using text as a main reference point, the artist recurrently employs and quotes the book as a means to organize and contextualize her gestures. In her two first major cycles, Eigenschriften and Trascrizioni, the book is alluded to either directly or via its primary element: the page, both series displaying homogeneous textual landscapes. More recent bodies of work such as Radical Writing and especially Avant-testo depart from this line, enhancing the abstract potential of her method and abandoning all direct representations of the sign.

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Giorgiana Zachia presents her practice on cultural intimacy writing about the specific work with contemporary art in the frame of a national cultural institute.

Cultural intimacy in art at the national cultural institute – the case of the Romanian Cultural Institute of Stockholm

Stefan Constantinescu, Archive of Pain, video installation, 2000

Stefan Constantinescu, Archive of Pain, video installation, 2000

In my text about cultural intimacy, I discussed the concept’s relevance for the work of national cultural institutes: the analytical separation between what a nation, a community or a couple displays externally and what they share internally; the intimate dimension of what makes people feel they belong together; the occurrence or risk of embarrassment and shame and the very dealing with things that may cause these feelings. These aspects are important parts of what makes up culture, in both its anthropological and artistic sense, and cultural intimacy involves conceptual tools that help us become aware and reflexive about it.

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Human feelings, emotional work and art fairs. Benjamin Fallon observes ways to interact and links between negativity and constructive criticism, from the curatorial to office space organization.

Negative Approach

crushIn 1983 the feminist sociologist Arlie Russell-Hochschild published The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling based on years of on the ground research into what she would term ‘emotional labor’. The book follows two forms of gendered labour, primarily air hostesses but later in a less discussed aspect debt collectors, tracing how in their working lives they are trained to perform a supposed interior essence.  In her analysis she develops the idea of deep acting, linking it to the theatre director Stanislavski’s method acting, differing from the more superficial niceties we enact daily to smooth social interaction, deep acting moves from the attempt to persuade others to a more profound alteration of oneself to respond to stimulus differently. We are now 30 years on from the publishing of the Managed Heart’s first edition and things have changed, written in America at the start of widespread deindustrialization and only two years into Reagan’s tenure (1), we have seen a shift in the ‘West’ to a finance economy supported by a service sector of emotional workers. Emotional work has been expanded into almost every aspect of labor and ongoing precarisation, brought about by flexibility, means we are more often than not in sales mode, selling ourselves on the open market, looking for the next job.

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Luiza Teixeira de Freitas is, with Manuel Segade, the curator of the #Opening programme at ARCOmadrid, which is dedicated to young galleries. Together with her father they direct the Teixeira de Freitas Collection that has developed a specific part in artists books, editions and ephemera in parallel to its main works. 

Collecting pages. Interview with Luiza Teixeira de Freitas

Art & Project Bulletins Box © 20th Century Art Archives, Cambridge, UK

Art & Project Bulletins Box © 20th Century Art Archives, Cambridge, UK

Rosa Lleó: For this interview, I would like to focus specifically on your interest and relation with artist books and editions, so perhaps we can start from the beginning. What was your inspiration and stimulation, and what were your firsts acquisitions for the collection?

Luiza Teixeira de Freitas: I have been working with my father’s collection for nearly 12 years now. He has built a contemporary art collection that for a decade was curated by Adriano Pedrosa and dealt with artworks that directly or indirectly referred to architecture, construction and de-construction. Three years ago the collection shifted to a new focus in books, literature, words and linguistics. The shift was very organic but it had its starting point in the creation of a new collection —independent from the one I just referred— of artist books. It started mainly through a slight nostalgia of what was done in the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s in Conceptual Art, where the concept was at the centre stage of creation. It meant taking a step back from the frenzy of the art world of nowadays, slowing down and understanding a different way of looking at art.

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Delivery mechanisms. Interview with Paul Sullivan

Paul Sullivan is an architect, artist, curator and director of Static Gallery based in Liverpool. Over a couple of weeks we bounced some emails back and forth discussing some of the concerns of his practice and its relationship to a number of ongoing concerns on architecture, autonomy and the art fair.

StaticBenjamin Fallon: Maybe we could start with you introducing your practice and its relationship with Static, the organisation which you are director of? I am specifically interested in your background as an architect and how this comes into play in your activities?

Paul Sullivan: My practice as an artist/architect is interwoven with my role as Director of Static Gallery.

The Static Gallery building at 9-23 Roscoe Lane, Liverpool is essentially a large-scale 6000 square foot prototype to experiment with. Together with Becky Shaw (co-director of Static 1999-2005) and John Byrne (co-director of Static 2005 – present), we have used the building to examine issues such as public/private space, trade, colonization, conflict resolution, surveillance and financial autonomy.

The fact that Static Gallery is also seen as an institution externally has also allowed Static to embed itself within and therefore to scrutinize at close quarters the structures and mechanisms of contemporary cultural production and dissemination.

Static has always developed and tested projects out in Liverpool but has also increasingly developed projects internationally or been approached and commissioned to carry out projects outside of Liverpool. Therefore Static acts as both commissioner and commissioned.

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