The Experimental Publishing master course (XPUB) focuses on the acts of making things public and creating publics in the age of post-digital networks.
XPUB’s interests in publishing are therefore twofold: first, publishing as the inquiry and participation into the technological frameworks, political context and cultural processes through which things are made public; and second, how these are, or can be, used to create publics.
From app stores to art book fairs and zine shops, from darknets to sneakernets, from fansubs to on demand services, and from tweeting to whistleblowing, the act of making things public, that is to say publishing, has become pivotal and multi-modal in an age infused with myriad media technologies. The tension between the publishing heritage and novel forms of producing and sharing information has shown that old dichotomies such as analog versus digital, or local versus global, have grown increasingly irrelevant given their bond with media practices based on both old and new technologies, and their existence within mixed human and machine networks. At the same time, this expansion of means and meanings of what is publishing, is creating a situation in which the very public concerned by the act of making things public, becomes overshadowed by publishing practices self-absorbed in novelty workflows and their own techno-aesthetics. This is why by publishing we also mean to create publics, to make people engage with a broad set of intermingled and collaborative practices, both inherited and to be invented, so as to critically explore and actively engage with societal issues that are:
• social, technical, cultural and political;
• involving actors both human and algorithmic;
• and mediated by networks of distribution and communication of varying scales and visibility.
As a result, XPUB approaches publishing from the perspective of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, in order to explore a broad range of methods and workflows, as well as inventing new ones. XPUB understands reading, writing, prototyping and documentation as core principles for a critical design and artistic research. XPUB strives to balance self-directed research with self-organization to allow empowerment and to support collective thinking and action.