A couple months ago we visited Harvard University participating in the Annual Meeting of the Comparative Literature Association. On this occasion we also met Daisy Nam, the Assistant Director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts (CCVA). Excited to stock some of the last remaining copies of intercalations 01 & 02 in the “Consumer Research Center,” the new bookstore she had just recently initiated, Daisy asked to record a conversation with us. In the two hours sitting around a table designed by Martin Beck, Etienne managed to sell the better part of our little stack of books to incoming, well, customers.
I am posting the beginning of the transcribed and edited interview here. To read the whole conversation, please follow this link to the CCVA’s page.
DN How did you get started with intercalations?
AS We were at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) as part of a workshop the SYNAPSE International Curators’ Network organizes every two years. In 2013, the topic was the Anthropocene. There were eleven international curators taking part; everyone involved was very interdisciplinary and had quite versatile practices. During the workshop, Etienne and I both gave presentations about our respective publishing practices. At the end of the workshop, we both were approached by the HKW to propose a concept for a publication series.
ET When initially thinking about the series, we didn’t want to have all six books directly address the Anthropocene; it’s not so interesting to repeat this theme so many times. We were also trying to think about knowledge infrastructure andhow certain visual economies that exist in the Anthropocene can be re-narrated in terms of the archive, of futurity, and of agency.
DN How did you arrive at the book-as-exhibition format? Were there other exhibitions on the Anthropocene that you found unsatisfying?
AS Well, maybe not exactly in the way that you’re asking. When we were working at the HKW, the The Whole Earth exhibition was on; the show articulated a certain legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog as a kind of book laid out in a space. K. Verlag works from the opposite direction, maybe; we try to use the architecture of the book as a space of exhibition. It just so happened that the host institution had a major exhibition on that triggered similar questions. It was fortunate and serendipitous, which allowed for the concept of book-as-exhibition to become legible and present in a much stronger way than the two of us would have triggered by ourselves in the workshop.
ET And K. was already working on this idea, the book-as-exhibition.
AS Yes, from the beginning the premise of the press has been to interrogate the polymorphic relationships between artistic, curatorial, and editorial agencies—starting from the question what an exhibition catalogue does or doesn’t have to be, Charles Stankievech and I have both we have been exploring the book-as-exhibition concept for a while now.
…continue reading here
& thank you to Daisy!