Exhibition: 744 km - Stories from the Swiss-Italian-Alpine frontline, 25/11 - 10/12/2022 @ Istituto Svizzero Milano
744 kilometres, that is the length of the border between Italy and Switzerland, which runs through the Alps but also the lowest point in Switzerland. This physical and mental border metabolises the shared histories and frictions between the two territories. The display showcased at Istituto Svizzero launches a research project that will keep on growing and to which you are welcome to contribute.
Since 2013, VOLUMES has built a collection of art books, zines and magazines, thanks to the many donations received annually for its’ international open call exhibition and publication award. Taking this library as a site of investigation, the collective has been researching new forms of organizing and understanding the archive and the challenge of categories and inventories. To do so, VOLUMES collaborates with external voices to interact with the content present, but also absent, that could be added to the archive following specific curatorial lines. The collection is therefore archived through a range of dynamic sections, which keep growing and get showcased online, through talks and exhibition displays.
Departing from publications already present within the VOLUMES Archive, the new selection 744km attempts to grasp past and present mobilities between Switzerland and Italy through their shared border. In order to address entangled histories shaped by movements and policies, a wide range of published matter taken from different fields has been assembled.
The selected publications, articles and essays from artists, independent, academic and mainstream publishers point to different stories, projections, narratives, that are embedded within the border’s topography.
Holding many paradoxes, borderscapes are indeed challenging to grasp:
«Borders are inherently spaces of contradictions. They are spaces of encounters and divisions that separate and unite. They are visible yet invisible, fixed yet mobile, rigid yet porous, and remote yet so central to politics». Shine Choi
In order to reflect the wide range of disciplines interested in border studies (such as political science, sociology, anthropology, history, international law, art, media studies, philosophy or ethics), the selected publications alternatively look at the immaterial and material manifestations of border policies, itineraries undertaken through time for official and unofficial reasons, the impact of economic and political contexts, storytelling and interventions in the landscape, to the more recent effects of covid and climate change.
This diverse constellation is a way of investigating different types of narratives. Publications here are used as a form of evidence and knowledge that can be assembled and questioned through mediation. By multiplying and juxtaposing storylines, the section aims to create and highlight associations, frictions and gaps, showcasing both mainstream and counter narratives. As the stories we are told evolve, just like the landscapes where they take place, many voices still remain unheard. This is where the work of both academics and artists acts in parallel without necessarily meeting. The lack of porosity between disciplines is another type of border that we attempt to render more porous through our selection.
744km presented at Istituto Svizzero is the beginning of a research and by no means pretends to be exhaustive. We therefore welcome any comments and suggestions regarding published matter that could be added to the selection.
We invite you for an activation of the 744km display on Saturday 3rd of December from 5pm, with
a presentation and discussion with artists Salvatore Vitale, Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo, with SPRINT and VOLUMES.
Presentation of the new VOLUMES archive research "Fossils" by Lourenço Soares
Saturday, 1 October 2022, 1-7pm, Material Zürich
The section is composed of publications chosen within the VOLUMES archive and Lourenço's library, creating a dialogue between his research and that of the artists present in the archive. MATERIAL is used as both a display and a working space, where the constellation of references interacts together, tracing some of the political imaginaries present in pre-historical representations. Alongside the publications, Lourenço Soares presents a series of drawings of book covers from science-fiction encyclopedias. The work developed during the exhibition will lead to the creation of a zine.
On Friday, 7 October, at 6pm, Lourenço will give an artist talk about his display "Fossils: a critique of political imaginations (fig. books).
New circumstances – new formats.
We started the VOLUMES Book Club!
Having spent a lot more time with our own library since 2020 allowed us to rediscover many publications but we have really missed sharing this content at fairs and festivals.
We decided to start our own book club, to gather people and books in a series of intimate events about new publications and the books that have indirectly inspired them. But talking about books is one thing, and we also want to provide tools for making all sorts of publications through accessible workshops for all age groups.
Our first series of events took place at the Kunsthalle Zürich in June-July-August-September 2021
Our second series of events took place at the Helmhaus Zurich in June 2022 within the frame of our Jan Tschichold Prize exhibition and mini fair.
More Book Club sessions to be announced soon!
Saturday, 4th of September 2021, 7pm, Kunsthalle Zürich
Günzburger X Bar am Wasser X VOLUMES X Kunsthalle Zürich
Der Künstler Michael Günzburger und der Barmann Dirk Hany kreieren eine exklusive Edition, auf Papier und im Glas. Wir brauchen Ihre Hilfe beim Austrinken!
Drink & Print Performance in der Kunsthalle Zürich, im Rahmen der Langen Nacht der Museen - Bar ab 19 Uhr, Print ab 20 Uhr.
Friday, 27th of August 2021, 6pm, Kunsthalle Zürich
Join us for the launch of the MEXA! Section from our VOLUMES Archive and a celebration together with Kunsthalle Zürich for a selection of books which have been published in the last couple of months and which have not had a proper book launch.
At 6pm we will launch our new VOLUMES Archive Section: MEXA! which is an archive of independent publications from Mexico selected and activated by visual artist Paloma Ayala and curator Adriana Domínguez for the VOLUMES archive collection. The content of MEXA! has been rearticulated in different ways since its beginning in 2017, always with focus on topics that respond to the concerns felt by zine-makers regarding the social and political struggles in the country.
From 6.30pm on we want to celebrate a selection of books which have been published in the last couple of months and which did not receive a proper book launch.
The selection includes books published by Bienvenue Publishing, Blow Up Press, Bored Wolves Press, cpress, Gaffa, Heidemarie von Wedel, Editorial Kanoa, Edition Patrick Frey, Kodoji Press, Kunsthalle Zürich, Procuniar Workshop, Randy Tischler, Sgomento, The Greenbox, Verica Kovacevska, Vexer Verlag, amongst others.
Join us for some beers and enjoy the books!
Saturday, 3rd of July 2021, 3-6pm, Kunsthalle Zürich
Workshop with Tamara Maggi
It is our intention to offer a platform to national and international small independent publishers and artists and to give a space to the scene of independent publications and discussion on the subject. At the same time, the promotion of young, less established artistic positions is close to our hearts and we would like to bring the young generation closer to the topic with workshops and discussions.
Generating visibility, mediation and promotion are core subjects of VOLUMES.
With this in mind, the third day of VOLUMES Book Club is open to high school students interested in art. In a workshop organised for them, they will first be introduced to the theory of art publishing by our guest Tamara Maggi, co-founder of Material - Raum für Buchkultur, and can then produce their own zines in a practical workshop using various techniques.
Saturday, 26th of June 2021, 4-6pm, Kunsthalle Zürich
What is the nature, meaning and boundaries of publishing today? How does it get interrogated and challenged?
In this series of encounters artists, researchers, designers or publishers showcase their own production alongside external references, giving us an impression of the way they engage with the forms, contents and contexts of publishing, they share how it informs their practice.
Each guest presented a book of their own publishing project as well as one which is especially influential and inspirational for them.
Mabe Bethonico is an artist based in Geneva and Belo Horizonte. She works in dialogue with archives, libraries, museums, using mediums such as prints, publications, posters, websites and lectures. She deals with limits between historic material and invention, evidencing how information can be constructed and continuously reworked.
Mabe presented her publication Missing Words for Considering Stones, Rocks, Pebbles and Mountains: A Vocabulary of Proximity and Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina by Edouardo Galeano.
Lucile Haute is an artist, research, design teacher in Nîmes and associate researcher at école des arts décoratifs in Paris. She describes herself as a cyber witch and works with performance, micro editions and especially web to print.
Lucile talked about her research and publication Cybersorcières and the book Publishing as Artistic Practice by Annette Gilbert, published by Sternberg Press.
Tine Melzer + Markus Kummer
Tine Melzer is an artist, author, researcher based in Zürich. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on the coded nature of language, questioning what happens at the edge of image and text. Markus Kummer is a visual artist based in Zürich. His work materialises architectural scenographic interventions through processes.
They presented their book Blumen sind geil, published by The Green Box, and also about Lexikon der Pflanzensymbolik, published by Synergia Verlag.
Berenice Serra is a media artist, researcher, teacher of art publishing and digital art at the école d'art de Caen and partly based in Zurich. Her work explores how we edit in a digital environment and how it affects artistic content.
Bérénice presented her publication Swipe and also Feuilleté by Julien Nédélec, published by Zédélé editions.
Petra Koehle & Nicolas Vermont-Petit-Outhenin
Petra Koehle & Nicolas Vermont-Petit-Outhenin are an artist duo based in Zürich. They co-direct the master MAPS at édhéa in Sierre. They work with storytelling, text, photography, archives, in an attempt to reconstruct traces of historical moments.
Saturday, 19th of June 2021, 4-6pm, Kunsthalle Zürich
We miss the fair and all the different publishers gathered together in one big room. Each one coming from a different background and with a different approach, but all of them showcasing their latest printed matter. So we decided to scale it down and to invite a small selection of publishers, a mix of people who have been part of VOLUMES for many years and also newcomers, who have never participated at the fair. Each guest presented a book of their own publishing project as well as one which is especially influential and inspirational for them.
Our first guests:
Ciao Press was founded by graphic designer and artist Nicolas Polli in 2017, with a focus to publish art, contemporary photography, illustration and design.
Nicolas Polli presented his publication Les éternels by Vincen Beeckham and Gestalt by Fos, published by InOtherWords.
DEARS is a magazine for transversal writing practices at the crossroads of poetry, art and experimental writing. It promotes new forms of language as a way to open up forms of living together. The magazine is released bi-annually in a physical format but it can also transform into other mediums, like performance happenings and audio-pieces.
Editors: Nicole Bachmann, Delphine Chapuis Schmitz, Robert Steinberger
Graphic Design: Guillaume Mojon
Delphine Chapuis Schmitz from the collective presented their latest issue, DEARS Magazine Issue no. 2, and the zine collection of Contratmain and Intertitles, published by Prototype Publishing.
Edition Ventile is a non-profit publishing house and releases art books in A4 format that show the underestimated and overlooked. The unexpected works and close collaborations with emerging as well as established artists intend to scratch, entertain and stimulate reflection. The name Ventile – from the Latin “ventus” (wind) – means “valve” and is a metaphor for releasing creative pressure.
Ollie Schaich and Michel Egger presented their first book Image Generation by Michel Egger and From… To… by Jiří Makovec, published by Jungle Books.
Macaco Press is a collective project, created in March 2015 by two artists: Sabrina Fernández Casas (1988) and Patricio Gil Flood (1977).
MACACO PRESS explores the relation between self-publishing and performance and plays with notions of identity and authorship based on strategies of visibility and invisibility, legal and illegal productions.
Sabrina Fernandes Casas presented their publishing performance practice and brought the book Recent Writings by Walter Benjamin, published by New Documents.
tria Publishing Platform
tria is an independent publishing platform based in Zürich and Beijing. tria focuses on unique projects and develops new concepts for printed matter for and with contemporary artists. tria invites cross-disciplinary thinkers and producers to reinvent and confront new realities of mediation.
Sonja Zagermann presented Anti-MEs by Lisa Biedlingmaier as well as Ar & Or by Daniela Kaiser, published by Edition Fink.