DIGITAL ARCHIVE OF ARTISTS PUBLISHING
with Wikimedia UK
Inspired by the site of Banner Repeater’s Archive of Artists’ Publishing on Hackney Downs train station, with over 11,000 passengers passing a day, we are building a Digital Archive of Artists' Publishing responding to the need for similar accessibility, in an online context, for a growing community of people engaged with Artists publishing.
The Digital Archive of Artists' Publishing has been in development for over 4 years, and over this time, increasingly sophisticated software has developed, which means we are now in a position to intensify our efforts, with the support of Wikimedia UK.
The online platform will provide an interactive, user-driven, searchable database of Artists’ Books and publications, that acts as a hub to engage with others, built by artists, publishers, and a community of producers in contemporary Artists’ Publishing. With an emphasis on inclusivity from the start, we aim to privilege anecdotal histories and multiple perspectives alongside factual data, establishing an important new precedent in digital, as well as analogue archival practice. The wiki style approach means that users can upload their own material, single items, or entire collections, choosing appropriate sharing permissions at time of upload. The archive project is committed to challenging the politics of traditional archives that come of issues regarding inclusion and accessibility, from a post-colonial, critical gender and LGBTQI perspective. The project will work to ensure an equitable and ethical design process occurs throughout the archive development. Anyone participating in the landscape of Artists Publishing is welcome to join our user community as active collaborators and stakeholders.
In tandem with this, the publicly sited resource of the Archive on platform 1, home to over a thousand Artists’ books and publications, is also undergoing refurbishment, to be launched alongside the digital archive, to celebrate Banner Repeater’s 10th anniversary in 2020.
Join us for an ongoing series of workshops to open up the strategies and software that the technological team are developing for the Digital Archive of Artists Publishing, with a focus on the software applications developed by the Wikimedia Foundation, and how these can contribute to a more ethically driven archival process. Please feel welcome to come along and bring your own items ready for upload, data about the items and any anecdotal histories that you wish to share. The workshops will involve software training and user testing sessions. These will in turn inform the design and development of the technological stack of the archive.
The Digital Archive will initially be seeded with the contents of the Archive of Artists Publishing at Banner Repeater, Hackney Downs. Those already included in the archive will be contacted to upload further anecdotal histories associated with their publication/s.
For more information / updates on progress on the digital archive please join the mailing list
Hybrid Strategies in Network Culture
Networked strategies underpin everything we do, pioneering a hybrid way of working in contemporary art practice through the strong symbiosis between the experiments in text and publishing held in the Archive, and artistic practices engaging in networked strategies today. Over the next 18 months the publicly sited Archive of Artists’ Publishing, home to over a thousand Artists’ books and publications, is also undergoing refurbishment, to be launched alongside the digital archive in 2020. We welcome thousands of visitors a year, and provide lectures about the archive and the Banner Repeater programme for the many students visiting each year from leading UK art universities such as: Central Saint Martins UAL, Goldsmiths University, Royal College of Art, Chelsea UAL, etc. If you would like to arrange a visit, please get in touch at email@example.com.
You will find more information below regarding the people we are working with in Artists publishing, as well as details about the technical team, and more technical descriptions of how the archive will be developed.
The technical team is led by digital designer and UX researcher Lozana Rossenova, currently completing her PhD in Digital Archive Design at the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image, in collaboration with leading digital art organization Rhizome. She brings her UX design expertise developed during her PhD research and previous professional practice in working with born-digital archives and linked open data (LOD) standards. Julie Boschat Thorez is lead developer on the project and brings technical expertise from working on archival and conservation projects with leading digital artists and art organizations from the Netherlands, such as LIMA and Varia collective. Paulien Hosang will develop the visual design for the archive’s interface, drawing on experience working for non-profit clients at digital agencies both in the UK and the Netherlands.
The Digital Archive of Artists Publishing is focused on how to accommodate representation of the multiple histories of Artists Publishing alongside the usual factual data you would find in any archive. The backbone of the archive platform we are developing is the linked data open source software Wikibase. Key features of the software afford a level of flexibility wherein data modeling is not fixed, but instead, a fluid and evolving process. The linked data database is able to accommodate multiple voices and points-of-view instead of one canonical version of history.
The wiki software enables collaboration and participation from the community, while data provenance is collected and recorded during that process of collaboration – thereby providing a level of data transparency usually missing from conventional archives and databases. Version control allows users and administrators of the database to change their mind – terminology can evolve with time if new events or more progressive views from the community demand it, alternatively an update to the database can be reverted, if it is deemed counter to the concerns of community members. Finally, multiple views about an object or an event can be expressed and recorded in the database with different argumentation or references supporting each view, without cancelling one, or the other.
The technical team will also be coordinating data modelling and database setup with the wider Wikimedia community to ensure continued technical compliance and long-term software sustainability.
Artists' Publishing team
The Artists' Publishing team is led by artist and writer Ami Clarke, founder of Banner Repeater, curator of the arts programme and Un-Publish series, and artist/publisher Arnaud Desjardin of The Everyday Press, and Marcus Campbell Books and author of The Book on Books on Artists' Books. They are joined by experts in Artists' Publishing: Gustavo Grandal Montero librarian and researcher at UAL, curator of The Special Collections at Chelsea College of Arts Library - the oldest and one of the largest artists' books collection in the UK, and editor of the Art Libraries Journal, and, curator and digital archivist Karen Di Franco who produced Book Works digital archive, and is currently an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Candidate, University of Reading & Tate Britain. The team is joined by historian, archivist and writer Frances Whorrall-Campbell (MA) and artist Cicilia Östholm (PhD student, Fine Art/Humanities RCA), co-initiator of equal voices in the room? who will help guide important ways to address bias and inequality through technological intervention, to undermine dominance and hegemonies based on gender binaries and the Western canon.
Artists' Publishing is incredibly diverse and complex, to the extent that each item could almost warrant a new category of its own. Our subject specialists draw upon their expertise in artists publishing, from their own practices, and specialisms in digital and archival processes, with a knowledge of historical, as well as contemporary strategies, materials and conceptual frameworks. They will work with the technical team in an iterative process of development, ensuring that the database structure, organization and interface functionality meet the needs of users from artistic, research and archival backgrounds.
Items already held in the Artists Publishing Archive at Banner Repeater will seed the digital archive, opening up the project to users as they are contacted to add anecdotal histories and factual data about their work. Co-design workshops will help develop proposals for Linked Open Data models for Artists’ Publishing that can be tried and tested with real data from the Banner Repeater archive. The flexibility of the database platform will enable multiple variations on the data model to be tested inside the database software application before a final proposal is selected to be tested with a wider community of users. Further public workshops will help develop requirements for the user interface that in turn will be sketched out and mapped into wireframes, ready to be tested with different archive users.
LAUNCH 2020 - BANNER REPEATER 10TH ANNIVERSARY
In tandem with the development of the Digital Archive of Artists Publishing, the publicly sited resource of the Archive of Artists' Publishing, on platform 1, home to over a thousand Artists’ books and publications, is also undergoing refurbishment, to be launched alongside the digital archive, to celebrate Banner Repeater’s 10th anniversary in 2020.
Banner Repeater is primarily run by volunteers, whilst funding is raised specifically to pay artists and other contributors to the arts programme, with small amounts for vital organisational aspects. Volunteering can be simply helping to keep the doors open - we welcome anyone who feels able to help out on a weekly basis to cover shifts. We are looking to move to a more sustainable collectively run model over the next 18 months. Please get in touch if you feel able to contribute your time.