The VOLUMES Archive is a collection of zines, artist books and publications, which exists thanks to the many donations received annually since 2013 for our International Open Call exhibition and Book Awards.

Archives are normally understood as a coherent form of organization, having as objectives to unify, identify and / or classify the elements within a determined body of documents, objects, etc. The VOLUMES collection is on the contrary a diverse collection of material that has been mostly donated. Therefore, it presents a challenge to the classical idea of archival categorization because there hasn’t been any systematic process of selection and articulation. Taking this library as a site of investigation, we have been asking ourselves how we could activate and organize this content. We embarked on a research about new forms of categorization and activation that take differences, associations, interstices and gaps as categories to re-think the paradigm of the archive, wondering how to deal with the issues of classification and conservation, permitting a constant flux between different temporalities. 

Since 2015, we have worked towards expanding specific sections of its collection of publications, collaborating with artists, historians and curators. Together with our guests, we look at what is already there, drawing connections and/or frictions; but also to look at what is not there and how to invite new gazes and voices. Each section within the archive compiles and activates content from VOLUMES’s existing collection, while suggesting new acquisitions to complement and expand this curated constellation of publications. This final compilation is what gets archived. 

The VOLUMES Archive is an ongoing process, we are developing existing and new sections in collaboration with a variety of artists, historians, curators or scientists. The archive is much bigger than what is visible online so please get in touch with us if you would like to visit it. We are open to suggestions for new archive sections and we happily accept donations of zines and printed matter at any time of the year. Feel free to mail it to us. Our address is: VOLUMES, Art Publishing Days, Saumstrasse 45, 8003 Zürich