The Quotients identity (logos!) as of 1:43AM, 17th of May. Thoughts on this evolution of the identity? It’s all very “zeitgeisty”, I know.

The Quotients identity (logos!) as of 1:43AM, 17th of May. Thoughts on this evolution of the identity? It’s all very “zeitgeisty”, I know.

The Quotients logo as it is today. Feedback? The forms reflect the mathematical origins of the name but it is a tad ‘cold’ for a press that aims to publish the eccentric.

The Quotients logo as it is today. Feedback? The forms reflect the mathematical origins of the name but it is a tad ‘cold’ for a press that aims to publish the eccentric.

"Regarding dispersion, we’ll just do whatever it takes depending on the resources available and the nature of the thing being dispersed—same as it ever was. Our attitude towards “exploiting the possibilities of contemporary networks” is pretty concisely summed up in this introduction to an article on kindred spirits by the Prelinger Library in San Francisco: They think the conflict between a so-called digital culture and a so-called print culture is fake; they think we should stop celebrating, or lamenting, the discontinuous story of how the circuits will displace the shelves and start telling a continuous story about how the two might fit together. And they have designed a library project—part public archive, part private collection, part digital-appropriation center, part art installation—to suggest where we might begin.
The example of the Prelinger is perfect, in fact, because it’s precisely greater than the sum of these parts, without pandering to others’ ideas of what can and can’t be done. This is the sense in which I’m talking about mediation: the Prelinger is determinedly non-mediated. It is what it is. It’s not trying desperately to come across as an “art installation.” That’s just one of a bunch of slippery terms the journalist tries to stick together to give a reader some kind of reference point."

– Fillip / Re: The Serving Library (Dexter Sinister and Eric Fredericksen)

"[…] it’s a cliché of our age that capitalism distorts all facets of social intercourse, including the relation we have with works of art and other communications media. Duncombe cites an astute argument made by Walter Benjamin in a 1934 essay, “The Author as Producer,” in which the German critic pointed out that viewers are alienated from even the most knowing and politically engaged works of art. If even the most subversive statements can be repackaged aesthetically and consumed passively as entertainment, Benjamin asserted, the only way that socially conscious art can have an impact is by encouraging viewers to become collaborators and producers of their own art. Of course, participatory culture, like that other quaint notion, participatory democracy, is a hard sell in this age of mass media, when the real message is “let us entertain you.” Today, when Corporate America has so fully colonized leisure time, creating your own entertainment has come to seem like a radical gesture."

American Graffiti - 98.03

Andrew (Magtastic Blogsplosion) kicks off a new monthly series of posts he’s calling “Three of the Month,” in which he highlights 3 crowdfunded — using sites likes Kickstarter — magazine-related projects. This is a great idea, because it does look like more and more indie titles are launching this way, but it’s hard to keep track of them all (or at least the most promising ones).

(via The Magaziner)

manystuff.org — Behind the Zines

Social networks are dominating today‘s headlines, but they are not the only platforms that are radically changing the way we communicate. Creatives such as designers, photographers, artists, researchers, and poets are disseminating information about themselves and their favorite subjects not via predefined media such as Twitter or blogs, but through printed or other self-published projects—so-called zines.
Those who publish zines are mostly interested in sole authorship, namely that all components including text, images, layout, typography, production, and distribution are firmly in the hands of one person or a small group. At their best, the results convey a compelling and consistent atmosphere and push against the established creative grain in just the right way. They provoke with surprising and non-linear food for thought. In short, zines are advancing the evolution of today‘s media.
The book [Behind the Zines] examines the key factors that distinguish various zines. It introduces projects in which the printing process significantly influences aesthetics or in which limited distribution to a small, clearly defined target audience becomes part of the overall concept.

My research (and research question) is starting to skew more towards this topic and how micropress publishing engages and contributes to pop cultural and design discourses. I’m sure this will change again as I delve more into my research material, but there it is as we stand.

manystuff.org — Behind the Zines

Social networks are dominating today‘s headlines, but they are not the only platforms that are radically changing the way we communicate. Creatives such as designers, photographers, artists, researchers, and poets are disseminating information about themselves and their favorite subjects not via predefined media such as Twitter or blogs, but through printed or other self-published projects—so-called zines.

Those who publish zines are mostly interested in sole authorship, namely that all components including text, images, layout, typography, production, and distribution are firmly in the hands of one person or a small group. At their best, the results convey a compelling and consistent atmosphere and push against the established creative grain in just the right way. They provoke with surprising and non-linear food for thought. In short, zines are advancing the evolution of today‘s media.

The book [Behind the Zines] examines the key factors that distinguish various zines. It introduces projects in which the printing process significantly influences aesthetics or in which limited distribution to a small, clearly defined target audience becomes part of the overall concept.

My research (and research question) is starting to skew more towards this topic and how micropress publishing engages and contributes to pop cultural and design discourses. I’m sure this will change again as I delve more into my research material, but there it is as we stand.

"One thing that’s always made me a bit sad is how Internet presentation seems to devalue content. So much art, writing, and news is suddenly available to us that each piece seems nearly a throwaway, lost in the gullet of our now-insatiable appetite for information. Here in the future, everyone is famous for 15kb. Fifteen reTweets. Fifteen LOLs. Should I work fifteen hours on something that will take fifteen seconds to read? The answer is yes, of course, because I love what I do, but after nearly a decade one wonders if one couldn’t do more for people with that time. Create greater and lengthier entertainment. I’d like to focus more on prose; despite the heavy foot I seem to have planted in the comics world, perhaps I can balance both by shifting the weight a bit. Some might count themselves kings of infinite space when bounded in the nutshell of six panels, but personally I’m finding it a bit cramped."

– Chris Onstad of Achewood (via fiddlersgreen)

Digital Shock; Publishing Is Easy, Writing Is Hard

jmaxfeldman:

Being at SXSW for the first time, you go through something I’ll call Digital Shock.

Digital Shock is the feeling you get when you realize that digital isn’t a project a bunch of nerds are working on in their mom’s basement (and with that, let’s all agree to just retire that hackneyed image, ‘kay?) and that you, in the real world, can just ignore. The technologies and the thinking that percolate at SXSW are the technologies and thinking of the future—and that means your future, too. If you’re an educator, or a journalist, or a writer, or a politician, if you work in any sort of corporsate business, when you come to SXSW you can’t ignore the fact that the way you do your job, and by extension live your life, is going to change. That’s Digital Shock.

As someone who is devoted to a craft (writing) that for basically six hundred years stayed pretty much consistent in its technological component, Digital Shock for me was probably unavoidable. Look, I know the publishing industry is changing, but writers are generally traditionalists. If you left it up to us, we’d still be at the cave painting stage of technology, or at best just moving on from the quill pen. To come to Austin and to see how massive—and truly unavoidable—this revolution is has been at times thrilling, at times unsettling, but overall completely shocking. 

In dealing with my case of Digital Shock, I’ve jumped into a bunch technologies/platforms that I’d basically been trying to ignore: Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr (holla), and so forth. Some of these technologies I really don’t believe add much value to my life. They’re like the Gameboy games out of their cases that used to pile up on my desk when I was a kid: I liked Gameboy, I had to do something on it, so at some point I’d buy Mega Racer Jewel Frenzy 6000 or whatever. Today, people have iPhones/Pads, they need to do something with them, hence a photo-based Rock/Paper/Scissors check-in app becomes a viable product. 

Overall, though, most of these technologies are a lot of fun. And looking at them as a writer, they *work*. What I mean by that is this: The entire point of the publishing industry is to put words in front of eyes. Emily Dickinson writes a poem on the back of an envelope, but no one ever sees that poem unless/until it is accepted by a publisher who pays to have it turned into a book, shipped to bookstores, yadda yadda yadda, everyone’s reading “I heard a fly buzz when I died.”

Traditional publishing is a slow moving process with lots of players and components, but it *works*—the writing gets in front of people’s eyes.

But here’s the thing: Twitter works, too. I can sit on the floor of the Austin Convention Center, hit a few buttons, and whatever I came up with appears before the eyes of literally dozens of people (and counting!).

What I’ve realized is that that ability—to skip the publishing industry component and go directly to your audience—is first, incredibly empowering, and second, incredibly frightening. We’re very, very close to the day when novelists go directly from their computers to your iPad. Stephen King and maybe a handful of others could do that tomorrow if they wanted. 

Why I say the change is frightening is because it represents a reversal of the traditional (ie, centuries old) dynamic of publication. Anyone could write on the back of an envelope, but how did that writing get to people’s eyes? Authors needed to go through the very difficult process of print publishing. Now, anyone can get to people’s eyes. The new difficulty is getting people to pay attention to what’s in front of them and read. In short: Publishing is easy now. And that means writing has to be very, very good (or at least include many, many vampires) to get an audience’s attention. 

I’m not enough of a digital-Kool-Aid-drinker to say we’re about to enter a new era of writing where quality is king and the wisdom of the crowd ushers in a new Renaissance and blah blah blah. And I also believe the publishing industry will continue always exist in some form, because we’re going to need editors (and marketers) to help us sort through the five thousand self-published teenage-angsty-forbidden-love-with-a-monster novels to find that one *really good* one. But the bottom line is that for writers, if you want people to read your work, that can happen with a few clicks.

Digital Shock, kid.   

[Alexandra Heller-Nicholas] “Most of what I see on VHS is stuff that’s never been put onto DVD – so I like the treasure hunt of finding it. Now I buy more VHS than I buy DVD. It wasn’t a conscious decision; I just like the look of VHS better. A video will play even if the tape is chewed and curled. It deteriorates more organically. The colours and the sound wash out, and it fades more like a painting.”

“Sometimes I don’t like the crisp HD look. It’s too harsh,” says Cassandra Tytler, a Melbourne artist working in Paris but soon taking up an artistic residency in Finland. Her work often has a pulpy, purposeful lo-fi look. “For one of my early films, I re-shot scenes right off the TV to give it a real ‘videoey’ quality.” Cassandra mentions Trash Humpers, the latest feature by cult American filmmaker Harmony Korine. Korine purposefully shot with the cheapest VHS camera he could find to give his film the authentic feel of a lost object.

As Cassandra points out, though, “I would say the real question is what format things are shot on, rather than whether it’s DVD or VHS.” Trash Humpers might’ve been shot on video – and Korine even made it available to buy on VHS – but most fans will still end up watching it on DVD.

I’m increasingly considering the role of aesthetics, format and form in relation to my personal outcome. While the above article is in relation to film and video, it does have much to say regarding printing methods and their aesthetic in print (xerography, risography, mimeography; and more directly related, although tangental, the transliteration of the video aesthetic to print).