Project presentation, January 25, 2023, 2–6 pm
Performance, January 25, 2023, 5 pm
“In the old art all books are read in the same way.
In the new art every book requires a different reading.”*
Almost half a century ago, the artist, writer, publisher, and bookseller Ulises Carrión argued in his manifesto The New Art of Making Books that every artist’s book requires a specific form of reading. And what about writing? Or producing books? The same is true if you follow the work of Stefie Steden and Anna Firmberger from AG Minimales Reisen. In performative writing workshops—their so-called Parallel Protocols—they tap into the respective place of production with one and the same artistic-literary method, and yet the results could not be more different. Writing and working together as a collective for a set period of time, all participants document the events that occur in and around the performance venue and everything that goes through their minds.
Following the motto “Write, arrange, read aloud. Capture the location slowly and unsystematically,” polyphonic texts respond to the very environment in which they were born. With Parallel Protocols, AG Minimales Reisen constitutes relationships between different parties in a pre-structured writing process: at Kunstraum Lakeside, the participants move freely around the campus, coming into contact not only with each other and with the interior and exterior characteristics of the space, but also with the institutional conditions and relative autonomy of a site for artistic production and presentation embedded in a science and technology park.
AG Minimales Reisen is conceived as an anti-elitist artist initiative. Their objective is to bring together different people and their realities and thereby make the world visible in its simultaneity. Drawing upon the notion of traveling as a contemporary cultural technique, they employ its mechanisms to initiate experimental formats oriented upon artistic processes and research. The Parallel Protocols form the basis for the production of conceptual artists’ books, which can be seen as concept art in their own right. According to Sol LeWitt, such democratic—as it were—publications “do not need a special place to be seen. They are not valuable except for the ideas they contain. […] They are works themselves, not reproductions of works. Books are the best medium for many artists working today. The material seen on the walls of galleries in many cases cannot be easily read/seen on walls but can be more easily read at home under less intimidating conditions. It is the desire of artists that their ideas be understood by as many people as possible. Books make it easier to accomplish this.”**
* Ulises Carrión, “The New Art of Making Books,” in Second Thoughts (Amsterdam: VOID Distributors, 1980), 20.
** Sol LeWitt, “Statement on Artists’ Books,” Art-Rite Magazine #14, eds. Walter Robinson and Edit DeAk (Winter 1976 ⁄ 1977), 10.
AG Minimales Reisen
Concept: Stefie Steden
On-site realization: Anna Firmberger and Stefie Steden