As we enter the final week of our Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of Phyllis Christopher’s Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988-2003, thanks to all of you, we have reached our target.
With another week to go we are hoping to spread the interest in this project and secure enough funding to increase the print run. With your support we can make this happen.
Dark Room is the first solo publication of a rare collection of lesbian erotic and protest photographs, taken by Phyllis Christopher during a period of her life spent living in San Francisco. This explosive and tender body of work connects struggles for lesbian visibility, sex positivity and bodily autonomy to expressions of gender subversion and queer community.
‘I wanted to make women who loved women look beautiful. Like so many things at the time, the things being said by the world about lesbians, about gay men, and about queer life were being challenged in San Francisco.’ – Phyllis Christopher
At the height of the AIDS crisis in the US, amid censorship and misinformation about sex in the mainstream, Christopher captured a countercultural insistence on the politics of pleasure – a community fighting for sexual and artistic freedoms in public and intimate settings. Revealing a history that speaks to queer feminist art and politics today, the book features an edit of over 80 images, and contributions by Laura Guy, Susie Bright, Michelle Tea, and Shar Rednour.
Thank you for all the support for this project – we’ve been overwhelmed by it. If you’d like to back Dark Room please visit our Kickstarter page, and look at the reward options, or consider sharing this project with friends and on social media.
For all other titles visit our new website and use this code MarchMail15 to receive a 15% discount valid until the end of March.
In June 2019, Praneet Soi travelled across the occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel. Beginning in Haifa, he drove up to the occupied Golan Heights and from there, down to Bethlehem, Battir, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus, Jenin, Salfit, and Ramallah, before driving back up to Haifa, Akka and Tel Aviv. Looking for alternative representations of a land under occupation, Soi’s aim was to experience the country through facets of its landscape and to visit, en-route, farms, workshops and factories, to engage with productivity, entrepreneurship, and minutia of everyday life for people in Palestine.
At the beginning of August, while Soi was developing this work, the Indian state of Kashmir had its autonomous relationship with India revoked. It was split into two parts along religious lines (Muslim and Buddhist) and its state-hood was terminated. People in Kashmir have long identified with the Palestinian struggle. 1947 marked Indian independence from British rule, and the beginning of Kashmir’s quest for autonomy. In that same year, the UN voted to end the British Mandate in Palestine, leading to an event called Nakba, or ‘The Catastrophe’ by Palestinians, and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.
In this book, through film stills, collage, drawing, notes and sketches, Soi draws on the work made in Palestine, and hints at this link to Kashmir, to explore the distortions that are caused by these disturbed political climates.
Praneet Soi was born 1971, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Following studies in India and the USA, Soi moved to the Netherlands in 2002, and divides his time between Amsterdam and Kolkata. His work is internationally recognised for its explorations of socio-political nuances and media representations. Soi’s practice incorporates traditional methods of miniature painting and sculpture, as well as time-based media such as video and sound. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Third Factory-From Kashmir to Lisbon via Caldas’, at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (2018), ‘Notes on Labour’ at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2017), and ‘Srinagar’ at the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven (2016).
‘There is no tool to make noise, only a happenstance wrong wielding of an awkward implement. I hear noises but they are mainly alarming. Take me to a sound that grows bolts and leaves and lanterns. It must be this silence of his sleeping that houses something I have yet to hear.’
Guitar! describes the contours and conditions of writing – interrupted, in flashes, or in restless moments through the night. A narrator listens; as a child learns to speak there is a re-acquaintance with the strangeness of putting a feeling into words. There is a yearning for meeting, and an idea of love or companionship as a sense of being met. Reading is punctuated by a series of black and white images of buskers, photographed by Francis McKee in Glasgow. Cover artwork by Ciara Phillips.
Sarah Tripp is an artist, writer and lecturer based in Glasgow. Previous Book Works publications include You are of vital importance, 2014, and ‘Aide-Mémoires: As if’, published in The Happy Hypocrite – What Am I?, issue 5, 2010, edited by Maria Fusco. Her writing can also be found in F.R. DAVID (Berlin), 2HB(Glasgow), and Space Poetry (Denmark).
Guitar! is generously supported by Creative Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art.
This series of interviews, held by curator and writer Gilane Tawadros are focused entirely on Stuart Brisley’s practice and directed by him. The artist’s narration of his practice demonstrates an unswerving resistance to controlling the narrative or fixing the meaning of his works. Citing the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, Brisley emphasises the critical importance of error to the creation of his performances: ‘You can say what you’re going to do, you can think about it, you can prepare it, and then when you start, it’s all disappeared because it’s actually meaningless… errors make for where the key value lies.’ The enduring resonance of Brisley’s work lies in its formless and slippery characteristics that resonate so poignantly with our shared human condition.
A second edition of The Night with a new postface by Michèle Bernstein.
‘I am a fraud. Anyone who buys The Night (thank you) and so much as skims it might think that I used to spend my time walking the streets of Paris like the two lovers in the book. Not true. Sure, many a night I used my feet in the company of some extremely bright youngsters, the same youngsters I’d sing and drink with in a shabby little dive (the dive from which everything was to spring later). But most of the time I was pedalling silently, alone.’ – from the new postface to the second edition, Michèle Bernstein
Translated from La Nuit, 1961, into English for the first time by Clodagh Kinsella, this is the second novel of Michèle Bernstein, a founding member of the Situationist International. Following All the King’s Horses, it was also written for cash, and again cannibalises the plot of Les Liaisons dangeureuses, featuring the same characters as her debut: Gilles, Geneviève, Carole and Bertrand. The story remains the same, but the book is different, this time parodying the style of the nouveau roman, with its elongated sentences and non-linear sense of time and place. As its protagonists drift through the streets of Paris, through the entanglements of a ménage à trois, and the ennui of a summer holiday on the Côte d’Azur, The Night is littered with détournements – unattributed quotations and knowing winks at situationist practices – and clues that give insight into the lives and spirit of both the author and her husband Guy Debord.
‘We were all Marxists, or course – still are. Totally under the charm of the old man – the genius. Maybe he will become more and more important now.’ – The Game: An interview with Michèle Bernstein, novelist and founding member of the Situationist International by Gavin Everall, frieze magazine, September 2013
Common Objectives is a series of quick-fire, rapid-response projects from artist/writer collectives or individual art practices engaged with emerging political struggles, rejecting the idea of culture as a playground for the elite, engaging in the potent mix of free discourse, solidarity and the production of new desires and prepared to break open old worlds, either in the virtual space of communication and networks, or in the concrete world of action, discourse and distribution. Other projects in the series include: After The Night by Everyone Agrees; Bad Feelings by Arts Against Cuts; TheCounsel of Spent by Inventory; Even the Dead Rise Up by Francis McKee; Move…ment, a new issue of the journal …ment, edited by Federica Bueti; Pre-enactments by Victoria Halford and Steve Beard; and Shy Radicals by Hamja Ahsan.
Book Works is a leading contemporary arts organisation with a unique role as makers and publishers of books.
Established in 1984, we are dedicated to supporting new work by emerging artists. Our projects are initiated by invitation, open submission, and through guest-curated projects. Book Works consists of a publishing and commissioning department; and a studio specialising in binding, box-making and multiples.
The Book Works Studio offers a specialist bespoke service for range of clients, from artists, designers, galleries, and businesses. We provide binding solutions, develop prototypes and specialise in unique book artworks, boxes, and portfolios. We have an extensive archive, and offer tailored educational events, and bookbinding courses. The Studio generates income from clients and is self-sufficient.
Book Works Publishing is dedicated to supporting new work by emerging artists. Our projects are initiated by invitation, open submission, and through guest-curated projects and include publishing, a lecture and seminar programme, exhibitions, the development of an online archive, and artists’ surgeries and workshops.
Our audience is vital to our work. The process of engaging and developing our audience is initiated with our commissioning programme, and driven through all aspects of our activities, particularly our public programme of events, our workshops, artists’ surgeries and education activities, and through our interest in collaborating with other organisations and libraries. Our programme of commissions is diverse, and reflects our commitment not just to work with cultural workers from all backgrounds, but to invest in networks and programmes that engage, and develop and create new artistic voices.
Include new projects with: Phyllis Christopher; Francesco Pedraglio; Sarah Tripp; Praneet Soi; Stuart Brisley; Nina Wakeford and Art on the Underground; Erica Scourti; Sophia Al-Maria; Bouchra Khalili; Laure Prouvost; Stephen Sutcliffe; Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan; Contact – a series guest edited by Hannah Black with Hamishi Farah, Momtaza Mehri and Derica Shields; and Interstices, a fiction series edited by Bridget Penney with Harun Morrison, Diana Georgiou and Licorice by Bridget Penney.
By supporting Book Works you will help support artists and writers at the emerging stage of their careers through our diverse commissioning programme of open submissions, guest editorships, public events, exhibitions and publications.