Fantasies of the Library

intercalations 1


… is a sequence of pages wherein the reader-as-exhibition-viewer learns, rather surprisingly—but with growing conviction—that the library is not only a curatorial space, but that its bibliological imaginary is also a fertile territory for the exploration of paginated affairs in the Anthropocene. 

Fantasies of the Library inaugurates the intercalations: paginated exhibition series. Virtually stacked alongside Anna-Sophie Springer’s feature essay "Melancholies of the Paginated Mind" about unorthodox responses to the institutional ordering principles of book collections, the volume includes an interview with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco; reflections on the role of cultural memory and the archive by Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; a conversation with media theorist Joanna Zylinska about experiments on the intersections of curatorial practice and open source e-books; and a discussion between K’s co-director Charles Stankievech and platform developer Adam Hyde on new approaches to open source publishing in science and academia. The photo essay, “Reading Rooms Reading Machines,” presents views of unusual historical libraries next to works by artists such as Kader Attia, Andrew Beccone, Mark Dion, Rodney Graham, Katie Paterson, Veronika Spierenburg, Andrew Norman Wilson, and others.

Edited by Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin

Design by Katharina Tauer

Paperback, thread-bound, 160 pages

30 color + 15 black/white images

ISBN 978-0-9939074-0-1      15.99 €

Co-published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Made possible by the Schering Stiftung

Order the book via info@k-verlag.com

+ + 6 for 4: The intercalations box set subscription offer! + +


Published in January 2015


Discussion on hybrid publishing on Resonance FM



ResonanceFM Broadcasts

Making Conversations is a series that originally aired on Resonance104.4fm.


Episode 5: Bronac Ferran discusses new models of hybrid publishing in the internet era with guests Doug Sery, Senior Acquisitions Manager for New Media, Games Studies and Design at The MIT Press; Professor Joanna Zylinska of Goldsmiths Department of New Media and Communications, author of "Bioethics in the Age of New Media;" and Ben Pester, Podcasting Coordinator at Goldsmiths. What are the new models in relation to business, knowledge and information-sharing which are influencing academic publishing today? Can we start to predict future trends? What needs to change, when and why?





edited by Gabriela Méndez Cota

In her 2013 book The Posthuman, Rosi Braidotti complains about critical thought ‘after the great explosion of theoretical creativity of the 1970s and 1980s’: it was as if ‘we had entered a zombified landscape of repetition without difference’, she writes. And no doubt poststructuralist theory did in certain hands become another orthodoxy. Yet given the amount of emphasis currently being placed on monistic, realist, object-oriented and materialist ontologies in what is being perceived as the ‘cutting-edge’ critical thought of today, it is hard not to wonder: are we in danger of embarking on another journey into theoretical orthodoxy?

Sharing the frustration of Braidotti and others with the decline of so much post-Marxism, deconstruction and psychoanalysis into mere repetition without difference, Culture Machine has over the years published essays and issues on various aspects of monism, realism and materialism. Nevertheless, in an effort to ensure the journal avoids succumbing to a zombified future by doing just more of the same, we have decided to celebrate Culture Machine’s 15th anniversary by transferring much of its editorial oversight to scholars located in Mexico. By placing this bet on Mexico, we are endeavouring to force the Culture Machine journal into inventing a different, unorthodox future for itself that is at once both singular and unpredictable.

As a way of beginning the process of reinvention, for this 15th anniversary issue of the journal we have invited a number of scholars, writers, activists and artists from Latin America to provide us with a series of contaminating mediations of Culture Machine and its history. The issue is therefore designed to constitute something of a critical retrospective, both offering new contributions and inviting the readers to revisit some of the earlier work that was published in Culture Machine.

This is only a first step, however. The intention for future issues is to invite increasing numbers of non-Anglo collaborators to participate in Culture Machine, in English and in Spanish (and hopefully in other languages too later on), and in this way join those in the English-speaking world in helping to generate a more distributed, decentred, multi-polar academic gift economy for the production, publication and dissemination of contemporary theory.

* Culture Machine Editorial Collective / Viva Culture Machine!

* Gabriela Méndez Cota / Fifteen Years: a Textual Celebration

* Benjamín Mayer Foulkes interviewed by Gabriela Méndez Cota / Towards the Post-University: Experimenting with Psychoanalysis and Institutions

* Stefania Haritou / Creativity in Practice

* Emilia Ismael Simental / Re: Recordings

* Nestor García Canclini and Maritza Urteaga interviewed by Emilia Ismael Simental / The Hyper-affective Turn: Thinking the Social in the Digital Age

* Euridice Cabañes and María Rubio / Arsgames: A Political Take on Videogames and Social Networking Platforms

* Benjamín Moreno interviewed by Juan Pablo Anaya / The Electronic Literature of Benjamín Moreno: Affect and Sense Outside the Conventions of the Literary

* Alberto López Cuenca / Writing Errancy: Outcasts, Capitalism and Mobility

* Beatriz Miranda / Traveling through Remembrance as Praxis with Disability Baggage

* Vivian Abenshushan interviewed by Gabriela Méndez Cota / The No-Work Paradox

* Etelvina Bernal Méndez / The Flood Is Elsewhere

* Néstor Braunstein / Economics (and) the Politics of Attention

* Francisco Vergara Silva / Universal Bio-cosmopolitics, Or the Perspectivism of Canine Life

* Gabriela Méndez Cota / Digital Humanities: Whose Changes Do You Want to Save?


Established in 1999 and now edited principally by Gabriela Méndez Cota, with Clare Birchall, Dave Boothroyd, Gary Hall and Joanna Zylinska as Executive Editors, and Rafico Ruiz as Reviews Editor, the Culture Machine journal publishes new work from both established figures and up-and-coming writers. It is fully refereed and has an International Advisory Board that includes Geoffrey Bennington, Robert Bernasconi, Lawrence Grossberg, Peggy Kamuf, Alphonso Lingis, Meaghan Morris, Paul Patton, Avital Ronell, Nicholas Royle and Kenneth Surin.

Culture Machine <http://www.culturemachine.net> is part of Open Humanities Press:

*** See our sister projects ***

Photomediations Machine - a curated online space where the dynamic relations of mediation as performed in photography and other media can be encountered, experienced and engaged

Culture Machine Live – a podcast series dedicated to discussions of culture, theory and new media


Interview in Communications + 1

Dialogue with Joanna Zylinska, conducted by Wendy Pringle

Q: One of the problems that your work seems to address is how we might conceive of biopower after humanism. You draw on Agamben, for example, to look for a new ethics grounded in the material, but attentive to mediated and nonhuman influences.

If, in the modern state, according to Agamben, life and the body have become biopolitical concepts in which the materiality of life, its biological aspects, and its vegetative functions crisscross our bodies’ political and legal roles and positions, an effective bioethics that can counteract the normativity of the biopolitical regime has to be thought through the zones of indistinction between bios and zoē, matter and concept, human and nonhuman.  (2009: 112)

How do you see your work in relation to the new reconfigurations of the human subject in the new material approaches? Does a new, more dynamic conception of ethics have a dramatically different relationship with environment?

A: First of all, I should perhaps signal that I am somewhat suspicious of these so-called “new material approaches”, sometimes presented under the umbrella of “new materialism” that is posited against a number of what I see to be straw targets, such as, say, poststructuralism, or “the linguistic turn”. The problem with such articulations is that they tend to remain blind to their own articulatory gesture and the rhetorical and conceptual conditions of its possibility. More importantly – and worryingly – they are also premised on the forgetting of the conceptualizations of matter and materiality in the philosophical traditions against which they set themselves. In works of this “new materialism” matter tends to be posited as “a priori and as, allegedly, beyond culture, despite an awareness of the untenability of such claims” (Bruining 2013: 151). Yet the positing of matter in this way can only be premised on the simultaneous occlusion of the humanist values that underpin such a philosophical “positing gesture” – not to mention the reintroduction of the old-style Cartesianism, except that now the principal driver of agency is on the side of “matter” rather than “the mind” (see Bruining 2013: 158). So, while I would take a position against what Dennis Bruining terms “material foundationalism”, an approach “in which matter translates and comes to signify an exigency of life” (149), I am certainly interested in materiality, that is in the way “stuff” works, transmutes and evolves – and in how we evolve with it and as part of it. Biopolitics for me is a sphere in which the indistinction between bios and zoē, matter and concept, human and nonhuman is enacted. Bioethics, in turn, involves moving beyond this indistinction.

The above hopefully explains why my work on ethics, both in its earlier guises, in Bioethics in the Age of New Media (2009), and in my most recent book, Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene (2014), does not pivot on a fixed notion of an “environment” as such that would be somehow separate from the humans, and that those humans could then either damage or protect, but rather considers their mutual co-constitution and entanglement, to use Karen Barad’s term. However, it is important to highlight that this co-constitution and entanglement does not amount to supporting life continuism, or the indeterminate flow of matter: the singular instances of resolution, which I also term “cuts”, are important in the multiple processes of life – both ontologically (i.e., so that we can recognize some “temporarily stabilized beings” such as humans, dogs or rocks) and ethically (i.e., so that we can take a decision about, and make an intervention into, the “stuff” of life).

Read the rest of the interview in the open access journal Communications + 1: Dialogues [just click on the link]


Photomediations: An Open Book


This is a poster for the pilot on Open and Hybrid Publishing, which I'm working on together with Jonathan Shaw and Ross Varney from Coventry University, and two Goldsmiths-based Research Assistants: Kamila Kuc and Michael Wamposzyc. The pilot is part of a project called Europeana Space, funded by the European Union's ICT Policy Support Programme under GA n° 621037. We will be presenting the ideas and the ongoing work from our pilot at the project's launch conference in Venice on 16-17.10.2014.

Here is a descriptipn of our pilot on Open and Hybrid Publishing:

What would an elegant coffee-table book look line online?

The Pilot will explore this question by producing a creative multi-platform resource, called an ‘open book’, about the dynamic relationship between photography and other media. Titled Photomediations: An Open Book, the resource will use open content, drawn from Europeana and other online repositories, and run on open software.

The ‘open book’ will include several chapters – such as Photography and Time, Becoming Media or The Ecology of Images – containing visual and textual material on different aspects of photomedia. They will followed by two ‘open’ chapters: an online exhibition and a discussion forum. A call for works to artists from Europe and beyond will be issued to participate in the exhibition.

The Pilot has two main goals:

  • to popularise the availability of online image-based resources by making extensive use of material that uses CC-BY Licence or similar open licences
  • to devise an alternative business model for using ‘open and hybrid publishing’ with regard to digital image-based heritage and sharing it with others: educators, students, publishers, museums and galleries and digital heritage organisations.

The Pilot will be tested in an ‘open class’ with tutors and students, and a hackathon to be held in Athens. The findings will be presented at an international symposium.