'The Last Newspaper' Discussion Event 'Fit to Print?: The newsroom reinvented' Saturday 27 November 2010, 3pm 4th floor, New Museum, 235 Bowery Free with general admission ticket. In the context of 'The Last Newspaper' exhibition, partner organization Latitudes has organised a conversation about 'the next newspaper' between Adam Chadwick and Jason Fry, both leading experts in the field of the probable fate of the traditional newspaper, and the possible future of journalism online. The conversation will take place in the 4th floor of the museum. Adam Chadwick is a scriptwriter, producer, filmmaker – and former copy-editor at The New York Times – who is currently working on 'Fit to Print', a documentary about the current upheaval in the U.S. newspaper industry. He has previously been a contributing blogger for IFC.com, IndieProducer.net and CityLightsMedia.com. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005 with a degree in film. http://fittoprintfilm.com and his blog http://fittoprintfilm.wordpress.com/
Jason Fry is a Web veteran exploring the challenges faced by newspapers in the digital world. He spent nearly 13 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, where he was a columnist, editor and projects guy. Since leaving the Journal, Fry has consulted with leading news organizations working for EidosMedia, an innovative maker of cross-media editing-and-publishing software. http://jasonfry.wordpress.com/ and http://www.reinventingthenewsroom.com/
Jason Fry and Adam Chadwick were joined by Carmen Cusido, a staff reporter for The Trenton Times and a recent graduate of Columbia Universities Graduate School for Journalism.
A report of the talk is published in 'The Last Express', available between 8–12 December 2010 from the New Museum galleries. 'The Last Express' will be the final weekly newspaper edited by Latitudes as part of their contribution to the 'The Last Newspaper' exhibition.
Cover: Fernando Bryce, from the series L'Humanité (2009–2010) Feature:'L'Humanité', Yasmil Raymond on Fernando Bryce Feature: 'Independent Gazette', Lorena Muñoz-Alonso reports from London on two newspaper-inspired exhibitions: 'The Independent' (Damián Ortega at The Curve, Barbican) and ‘Can Altay: The Church Street Partners' Gazette’, The Showroom. Plus Damián Ortega exchanges impressions with curator Alona Pardo on his show. Media Habits: Ester Partegàs, TLN advertising department artist Brazil Focus: 'The Imaginery Newspaper', Chris Dercon on Luciano Figueiredo & Ana Paula Cohen on 'Jornal 28b', the newspaper produced during the 28th Bienal de São Paulo. Focus: 'Boetti e His Double', Christian Rattemeyer on TLN artist Alighiero e Boetti's Corriere Della Sera (1976) The Next Newspaper (Profiling the organizations, projects, initiatives and individuals redefining ink-and-paper news): CROWD-SOURCING – SPOT.US / EMPHAS.IS Exclusive interview: 'The Days of This Society...', Desiree B. Ramos interviews TLN artist Rirkrit Tiravanija Focus: 'Paper view' Gwen Schwartz asked New Museum visitors about their experiences of TLN Focus: 'What's CUP?' by Gwen Schwartz and Max Andrews Picture Agent-Our singular picture agency: Adrià Julià Focus: '29 Days Later', Sarah Wang on TLN work Untitled Green Screen Memory (2010) by Larry Johnson + 2009 California Fires by Collin Munn Cartoon: 'The Woods' by Francesc Ruiz Advertising Department: Ester Partegàs
'THE DAYS OF THIS SOCIETY...'New Museum curatorial fellow Desiree B. Ramos meets ‘The Last Newspaper’ artist Rirkrit Tiravanija
Above and below: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (the days of this society is numbered/September 15–October 12, 2008), 2010. Acrylic and newspaper on linen. 13 parts, all measuring 86 1/8 x 84 1/8 x 1 inch each. Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brownʼs enterprise.
There I am; it’s 5pm sharp, and I have just arrived at Gavin Brown’s newly-expanded Meatpacking District art gallery. I’m checking out the new space while I wait for Rirkrit, who suddenly pulls up around the back door with a few groceries; turns out he’s cooking a paella dinner for a few friends. We walk around the space for a few minutes and before heading towards the kitchen in the back of the gallery. There I see a few art handlers setting up pots, tables, and chairs for Rirkrit’s guests. “We don’t have much time, fire away,” he says, looking at the recorder and the paper I am holding in my hands. We sit on a wooden bench and start our conversation. I have met with Rirkrit several times, and besides being a great artist he is really down to earth and approachable. Every time I talk to him it is quite a busy scenario all around.
Desiree B. Ramos: How did you become an artist?
Rirkrit Tiravanija: By accident! I actually wanted to be a photojournalist and then mistakenly took some art history classes and became curious about art. I left the university from the history department, and I went to art school and I went to talk to the counsellor about the idea of studying art. So I had an appointment, I went to the meeting and I had to wait in this kind of lobby library. I was just standing there, looking around the shelf, and there was a book that stood out from the shelf from the Ontario College of Art, so I just pulled it out, took down the address and left. So it was kind of accidental.
DB: What was your first art piece?
RT: Umm, that’s a debate. It was actually an image that my father took of me; I made this plasticine sculpture on my ear, it was like an ear extension so that I looked like a Vulcan. So I would say that was my first sculpture. DB: Do you still have it, or a record of it?
RT: I have a picture that my father took, but I don’t have the actual plasticine. I guess I could always remake it.
DB: That would be fun...
RT: Yeah, that would be fun. Wow, you just gave me a new idea!
DB: What was your first political work?
RT: Well, it depends on what is political, you know, if personal is political. The first work I made in art school, officially made in art school, was about identity, about me being in the West and trying to figure out what that was. It was the first letter of the Thai alphabet drawn on cardboard, and then it had a Thai dictionary explanation with this alphabet in English. So in a way, that had a kind of cultural politics in it. I would say my work is always asking those kinds of personal political questions, I mean, about the self and about identity.
DB: What got you into cooking?
RT: It was the simplest thing I could do. I was working in Chicago on questions of, about, cultural artefacts. I worked on this conceptual work with the idea that these artefacts were displays, again, about identity also, and that they were missing; they were fragmented in a kind of gap, or there was a gap that I thought needed to be questioned. DB: So it was natural for you to mix cooking with art?
RT: Exactly, because I was looking at pots, bowls and plates, and Buddha statues, and these were all objects of everyday use in my culture, so first I basically decided to just cook so that these things would always be in play and from that it became, well, it was always about the people. Of course, these are things that were used every day, which have been taken out of context, put onto display because they were valued in a different situation, and looked at through the Western eye as if they were somehow valuable in relation to the idea of culture. But for me, it was really about the life around the object.
DB: What’s your favorite thing to cook?
RT: I don’t have a favorite thing to cook.
DB: Nothing that gets you more into the act of cooking and engaging with people?
RT: It’s not so much about the cooking, not about the food or any particular dish; it’s about the act and then ... I think it’s always more communal to cook a big pot of curry than to make a piece of steak. But I actually just recently cooked a lot of steak for 2,000 people so I’m actually wrong, I could cook steak for a lot of people but, of course, it’s about the activity of cooking. When we made this kind of barbecue grill, Argentinean style, the asado, it’s a communal activity in itself. So, it was just a matter of scale. People normally do it with families but here we extended it so we could involve even more people at the same moment, so it became something else.
DB: Where do you get your ideas from? Are you inspired by something in specific or do they randomly come to you? Do you get them from looking at things, reading, or conversing with people?
RT: I think it’s all of that. It’s an ongoing process that I have and I think many artists have, which is like you’re always thinking, looking and everything that you experience becomes a question or a possibility. It’s a combination; I’m looking at certain things that I’m interested in but, on the other hand, I’m always very receptive to what is happening around me, and that becomes a trigger for other things. DB: I’m wondering how you go on varying so much in terms of media when it comes to your work. Is it difficult to manoeuvre all these different types of expression, ranging from cooking to investigations about architecture...?
RT: I’m not interested in style, I’m interested in content and if all the elements make sense, they all have certain roots or they all certainly have a relation to each other. It could be an eight-hour video or a ten-hour cooking session, yet they all bring people to the same place.
DB: Do you consider your piece now on view in The Last Newspaper at the New Museum, Untitled (the days of this society are numbered/September 21, 2009), part of a series along with other text works you have recently produced?
RT: I consider them like signage, like stop signs, road signs. They form a series but they can make you pay attention to a certain place and a certain moment when you are confronted by them. I think about that layering of the newspaper, which is an activity I’m very interested in, and in the activity of information being gathered. There are just a lot of layers there for me, from the ads to the typeface of the newspaper itself. There’s a lot of coincidence – or accidents, or maybe even intentions – in the way that certain things get laid out on these pages. The sign makes you stop and pay attention to the other things happening behind it.
DB: Would you be able to explain further how that text, in particular, explores the social role of the artist?
RT: ‘The days of this society is numbered’ is attributed to the situation in 1968; obviously, at that time it was a provocation within the context of a manifestation against the society, or rather of society against a particular group of people, the institution, people in control. And I would say that, of course, those moments reoccur, those conditions can still exist.
DB: I’m sure everybody asks about the grammar…
RT: Yes, well, it’s a bad translation of French. The mistake makes people react. DB: And the dates on the newspaper…
RT: Well some in the series do make a reference to, for example, the market crash of 2008, just at the end of George Bush’s presidency. It has all been commentary about the Bush years and certainly in conjunction with the market crash.
DB: What will we see from you in the near future? What are you working on now?
RT: I’m working on a film which will be about a retired Thai farmer in the countryside, and I hope that people will get to see it, or that it’s good enough for people to see it.
Cover: 'Without Rain Partial Nights Aerial Days', a special cover by Julia Rometti & Victor Costales (continues page 12) Feature:Artist and writer Kathleen Ritter misreads the incomprehensible newspapers of Mark Manders Focus: Simone Menegoi on Pavimento, Tautologia(1967) by Luciano Fabro; plus notes on 'Fabricating Fabro' by the New Museum Chief Preparator, Shannon Bowser Special pull-out poster: Installation pictures and a checklist of 'The Last Newspaper' and New Museum's Facebook fans and Twitter followers reporting a sentence of personal news Feature: 'Thomas Hirschhorn ♥ Queens' Charity Scribner on Thomas Hirschhorn Feature: 'Red and black all over, again' Irina Chernyakova follows the design and production of 'The Last Evening Sun' Focus: Inaba/C-Lab's 'Cloudy with a chance of Certainty' Media Habits: Michael Rakowitz The Next Newspaper (Profiling the organizations, projects, initiatives and individuals redefining ink-and-paper news): WikiLeaks Dirt Sheet column: Janine Armin at the Taipei and the Gwangju Biennials Picture Agent-Our singular picture agency: Maria Loboda 100 years Ago…: 'Palestine Daily Herald' (Palestine, Texas) 1902-1949, November 17, 1910 Cartoon: 'The Woods: Flavor of the month' by Francesc Ruiz 'Advertising Department': Ester Partegàs
Joshua Edwards, Exhibitions Manager at the New Museum, mops the floor and lays the previous day’s New York Times to create Fabro’s Pavimento, Tautologia (1967). Photos: Latitudes
FLOOR TAUTOLOGY Curator and writer Simone Menegoi on Luciano Fabro’s ‘Pavimento–Tautologia’, the earliest work in ‘The Last Newspaper’ My grandfather had a sports car, a Lancia Fulvia coupé. He always kept it polished and would only use it on certain occasions. He was so afraid of getting it dirty that he never took off the plastic wrapping that covered the seats when he bought it, even after years of use. His zeal was not particularly unusual in Italy those years (the 1970s), as many people left on the protective plastic film that brand new sofas or chairs would have when purchased. This habit came from two decades earlier when memories of war and poverty were still lurking. The first consumer goods purchases were the result of laborious saving, so things had to last for as long as possible. Pavimento–Tautologia (Floor–Tautology) by Luciano Fabro is based on the same logic that drove people like my grandfather to keep the car seats wrapped: a logic that gave up the pleasure of being able to touch the leather or the fabric of the seat in exchange for the satisfaction of knowing that, beneath the protective plastic, the surface was kept intact. In Fabro’s work, a portion of the floor (sometimes an entire surface) is cleaned, polished with wax and then covered with newspapers. Beyond the ephemeral protection of paper – “a cheap and lightweight Carl Andre” as Jörg Heiser has written – the floor disappears, we cannot appreciate its lustre, but we know it’s being kept immaculate, and we know this will be preserved, even if we walk on the papers. In 1978, a decade after presenting the work for the first time in Turin, Fabro wrote "in my town... the floor is cleaned and then covered, at least for the first day, with papers, newspapers or rags to avoid getting it dirty... on that first day, in those two or three days that it was covered with paper, no one saw the floor clean. This particular way of accounting for the labour and its preservation, not for ostentation but as a private affair, seeks to ensure that the effort made doesn’t end up in anything too quick.”
Newspaper placed on top of the mopped floor. Photo: Latitudes
The comparison between the newspapers on the floor and plastic on the new car seats, however, applies only within certain constraints. There is a fundamental difference between the work required for you to buy a car and the work involved in cleaning the floor. In Italy, in those years, the second had a clear gender dimension: it was a domestic job regarded as part of the housewife’s duties. Fabro was fully aware of this and it is no accident that he presented Pavimento for the first time in a gallery inside a private apartment, a space that preserved a domestic environment. Fabro was also aware of the position he was adopting as a male artist presenting it as a piece. The sculptor sided with the housewife, with her modest and under-appreciated task that was repeated daily. "We experience seeing our work destroyed daily" Carla Lonzi, a friend and admirer of Fabro, wrote in 1970 in the Manifesto di rivolta femminile (Manifesto of feminist revolt), a key text of Italian feminism. Forty years onwards, what is the effect of Pavimento in the context of an American museum, one so different from when the work was presented for the first time? Is it still effective? The vernacular appearance of the work, its provincial and quotidian dimension is probably hard to grasp today, particularly outside Italy. The political aspect – gender politics – is certainly less visible now than it was in the late 1960s, although its historical importance cannot be questioned. Pavimento remains current with the idea of "care", caring as an essential dimension of the relationship with a work. Pavimento consists only of this: in taking care. "Every experience related to this handmade piece is linked to maintenance," Fabro wrote in 1967. A piece that is not to be contemplated, but to be done. Its only legitimate spectator is the one who realised it and looked after it. In short, perhaps it is its only spectator. (Since to the rest of us, the polished floor remains invisible.) Fabro referred to caring in a material sense, as a symbol of all the other ‘cures’ that a piece would require: of a critical or political kind, for instance. In this sense, Pavimento was for him a sort of manifesto, as he stated that a work can never be taken for granted, but must be constantly redefined, reiterated, and defended. In its ‘infrathin’ layer of paper and floor wax, Pavimento–Tautologia guards a surprising depth of meaning. – Translated from Italian by Mariana Cánepa Luna. (sidebar) FABRICATING FABRO
Installation view of Luciano Fabro's Pavimento-Tautologia (1967) on the 4th floor of the New Museum. Courtesy of the Luciano Fabro Estate. Photo courtesy: Katie Sokolor / Gothamist.
Shannon Bowser: "I've been installing the piece every weekday since the exhibition opened in October. The layout uses all the pages of an issue yet the arrangement can be a little haphazard. We can lay the pages facing different directions and it doesn't need to be too precise or follow a set dimension, even though the barriers that surround the piece help as a guide to square it up to the wall. I throw down extra sheets here and there but it usually works out to be the same size each day overall no matter how many pages there were in the previous day's issue. We have a specific subscription for the New York Times for this piece. Every morning I pick up a copy to keep it for the following day and I have with me the one from yesterday ready to go. I find myself reading the news while installing the work and so sometimes I have to pause to read properly, and I end up finding out about stuff that I would normally wouldn't. I wish I had time to read the New York Times every day because there are so many good articles. Sometimes I flip through pages when I'm laying them down, so if there's an annoying full page with glaring women facing upwards I can choose to turn it around. It's really interesting to see yesterday's newspaper all laid out on the floor and realize the actual physical size of it because you cannot really read TheNew York Times on the subway for example, because it's so big – it's so impractical! Doing it definitely adds time to my morning routine so I've been coming in early every morning to be able to install the Fabro and then get everything else sorted as all these shows require a lot of maintenance. But it has been really interesting, I definitely feel like I'm participating in an artwork."
Watch a 'making of' video of the piece here. Shannon Bowser (Chief Preparator) installs Pavimento–Tautologia on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays. Victoria Manning (Registrar) takes charge on Saturdays and Joshua Edwards (Exhibition Manager) on Sundays.
Issue 6: 'The Last Observer' (READ IT ON ISSUU) Table of contents: Cover: 'Truth Study?', Wolfgang Tillmans' 'Truth Study Center (NY)', 2010 Feature: London correspondent Lorena Muñoz-Alonso meets Wolfgang Tillmans whose table top installation 'Truth Study Center' is featured in 'The Last Newspaper' Focus: Greg Barton & Collin Munn pay a visit to Judith Bernstein, who presents 'The Last Newspaper' visitors with two works from 1967 Picture Agent - Our singular picture agency: Renzo Martens Media Habits: City-as-School Students Feature: Curator and writer Manuel Segade – who opened his Facebook account four years ago and now has 872 friends– comments on the profile of the 'click self' Feature: Art Historian and curator Lars Bang Larsen went to high school with Jacob Fabricius, the fellow Dane behind the non-profit free newspaper 'Old News', featured in 'The Last Newspaper' Feature: Editorial Curatorial. ‘The Last Post’, ‘The Last Gazette’, ‘The Last Register’, ‘The Last Star-Ledger’, ‘The Last Monitor’ and now ‘The Last Observer’ have set out in part to address the role of the curator versus the role of the editor. Our Cluj-Napoca correspondent Marcel Janco takes up the story. The Next Newspaper: Patch. Andrew Losowsky interviews Warren Webster, company president Focus: Irina Chernyakova on the 'Perpetual Peace Project’ of ‘The Last Newspaper’ partner organization the Slought Foundation. Fit to Print: Adam Chadwick attempts to get in touch with 'The Huffington Post' founder for his documentary film about the news industry. 100 years Ago…: 'The News-Herald' (Hillsboro, Highland Co., Ohio) 1886-1973 (changed title to 'The Hillsboro Press-Gazette' (1973-1985), November 10, 1910. Cartoon: ‘The Woods: Backcover’ by Francesc Ruiz ‘Advertising Department’: Ester Partegàs
IS THIS TRUE OR NOT? ‘The Last Observer’ London correspondent Lorena Muñoz-Alonso meets Wolfgang Tillmans, whose table top installation ‘Truth Study center’ is featured in ‘The Last Newspaper’.
A door buzzer is activated on a busy street of East London on a rainy Saturday evening; I push and find myself in Between Bridges, the non-profit gallery space Wolfgang Tillmans opened in 2006 to show artists that “are overlooked in the London scene”. (The current exhibition is by Gerd Arntz, a fairly unknown German artist and activist of the Weimar era.) I climb the spiral staircase to the studio and Tillmans welcomes me upstairs and offers me tea. He is tired but talkative, having just returned from Nottingham, where he has been installing his works for the British Art Show 7. His studio is a huge open space, full of desks and wooden tables, where newspapers and magazines pile under the neon lights. “Last year at the Venice Biennale I had four table works. And I had a whole room table installation (Space, Food, Religion, 2010) at the Serpentine Gallery show. But having The Last Newspaper and the Nottingham show opening in the space of three weeks has reactivated the Truth Study center project in a very significant way”, he says while pointing to the build-up of world-wide printed media that towers on every surface of the studio.
Lorena Muñoz-Alonso: What is or are the origins of your Truth Study Center works?
Wolfgang Tillmans: The project started in 2005 with a show in London at Maureen Paley which coincided with the publication of my third book for Taschen, also titled Truth Study center. It was a contradiction, somehow, because the contents of the book had nothing to do with the tables. That first show included sixteen tables. Then, in 2006, I had a big mid-career survey in the U.S., a show that toured between Chicago, Los Angeles and Mexico City which included a twenty-four-table installation. In 2007 I had a show at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hannover where I showed thirty tables, which then become part of the exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. So there have been two very big installations so far. The U.S. installation was altered from city to city; I was adding and adapting the contents depending on the context.
LM-A: So the way you can work on the tables is quite quick and reactive?
WT: Yes, pretty much. The tour was a year and a half long, and they were heady times in the American political arena, so it was interesting being able to incorporate all that to the work. There was a particular piece that was then published in The Guardian called ‘Ten easy steps for a fascist America’ by Naomi Wolf – a very heavy statement indeed. It was very striking and beautifully illustrated, so I made a table incorporating that on the spot. That table piece is again in The Last Newspaper exhibition. Americans don’t really like foreigners to criticise them. They are good at self-criticism, but the moment it’s a foreigner who does it, they can get defensive. But Wolf is American, so that couldn’t be accused of coming from European prejudices.
LM-A: How did you begin the process of incorporating the table as a new element in the vocabulary of your practice?
WT: It actually started in 1995 with a show at Portikus in Frankfurt where I used five flat cabinets to show images I had published in magazines. Also in the Turner Prize show in 2000 I used the same idea of laying out elements on a flat horizontal surface, so it was already settling within my practice then. While I was editing the Truth Study center book I came to this really obvious realisation that all my work happens on a table. A table provides a space for a loose arrangement, where things are laid out in a certain way, but can be easily rearranged. On a wall, you have to pin or tape the stuff, but a table is more fluid. There is clarity and complete contingency at the same time.
LM-A: And why did you start using newspapers as a raw material in your work?
WT: I had worked with found newspapers before, in the ‘Soldiers’ series (1999). I have to confess I am a bit of a newspaper junkie and have collected them since childhood. I often think that a day’s newspaper contains the essence of the whole world. But I guess that around 2002–2004, the years post 9/11, a clearer picture of the world we live in emerged – all the insanity that surrounded us – after what had seemed like the less politically charged 1990s. I was enraged and concerned and spending a lot of time reading media and thinking about all these different claims to the truth, ‘the big truth’ which was the ultimate justification behind all that violence and those wars. I realised that all the problems that the world faces right now arise from men claiming to possess absolute truths.
Detail of Truth Study Center (NY), 2010. Wood, glass, and mixed media.
WT: Of course it would be very desirable to have a completely neutral ‘Truth Study center’, but that will never be possible. So even though it has this big title, it is not claiming to be delivering truth, but rather looking at all these different, opposed truths. But it is not at all saying that everything is relative or subjective. I do think there are certain truths that are not negotiable, that some events and attitudes are wrong, and I am straightforward about in the work, which I think is precisely what makes it interesting. It takes a moral stand on the one hand, but on the other is always aware of its absurdity and of its extreme limitations. So it presents all these issues, like the impact of AIDS denial in Africa or the question of the existence or not of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – the whole war came about from a single question: is this true or not?
LM-A: Are the tables fixed in their arrangements and subjects?
WT: The tables are, or can be, pieces in their own right. They do not always have to come in the same installations. But it’s the same as with a wall installation when I think a grouping really works, I try to maintain it. But the working process is quite flexible and not set in stone. LM-A: So you color–photocopy all the newspaper that are on the tables, which is already a process of translation in itself…
WT: Very much so. That is the essential part of the visual composition because we have been talking a lot about content but of course, if the table works were not interesting to look at, they wouldn’t have an artistic justification. I use the color photocopy because of aesthetic reasons, but also because the color copy is amazingly permanent, as opposed to the newspaper. I couldn’t use the original newspaper cause it wouldn’t look good after a year. But media-wise there are also real things, like a lottery ticket, a bus ticket, a vegetable wrapper…
LM-A: You have a very strong relationship to printed matter. You have even said: “Everything I do happens on paper”, which I think is a simple but very meaningful realisation, with a lot of implications...
WT: I have a double interest in The Last Newspaper show. Not only do I use newspapers and magazines as material, but also my work is heavily featured in printed media and I use media as both generator and distributor of my work.
LM-A: What are the main subjects of your tables are in The Last Newspaper?
WT: There is one table about soldiers and war, one about religion, another about the depiction of war, games and violence on the internet. I also have some images of airlines and the experience of flying and there is one about Americans’ attitudes to food. There are a lot of critical messages there, but you could find all of them in very mainstream publications. Information and criticality is there for everyone, which is also one of the issues I want to highlight in this work.
LM-A: Is this series your outlet for political expression?
WT: There is definitely a bit of that. I use these works to make statements on subjects that I feel very strongly about but that I can’t or don’t want to tackle in my photographs. At the same time, though, the reason why I started to work with images from the very beginning was that I wanted to be involved with what was going on the world. Questions of taste or of beauty have always been politically charged for me. Do you find two men kissing disgusting or beautiful? That is a question of aesthetics but also of politics. I’ve always had this very strong awareness that every freedom that I enjoy as a gay person has been hard fought for by many people before me, and that gave me a great sense of public responsibility. I think every person counts. I might be very traditional in that sense, but I really think it does matter.
e-flux (artists Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda) began Time / Bank in 2009, with the "hope to create an immaterial currency and a parallel micro-economy for the cultural community, one that is not geographically bound, and that will create a sense of worth for many of the exchanges that already take place within our field." Previously presented during Frieze 2009, the project is now being presented in New York, with a store located on the ground level of 41 Essex Street. Based on existing time banks such as Paul Glover's 1991 initiative in Ithaca, New York, e-flux's Time / Bank "will allow individuals to request, offer, and pay for services in Hour Notes" (designed by Lawrence Weiner and issued in half, one, six, twelve and twenty-four hour denominations). "When a task is performed, the credit hours earned may be saved and used at a later date, given to another person, or contributed towards developing larger communal projects." Members can obtain Hour Notes by opening an account and earning hour credits by helping others. On the website listings are organised under categories such as Handy Works, Communication, Organization, Education, General Assistance, Transportation, Food, etc. Quotes taken from http://www.e-flux.com/timebank/
Issue 5: The Last Monitor (READ IT ON ISSUU) November 3, 2010 Cover: ‘Today & Yesterday’. Gustav Metzger, Eichmann and the Angel, 2005. Exclusive interview: Janine Armin on 'The Last Newspaper's work 'Eating the Wall Street Journal' by William Pope L. Cover Story: Sophie O’Brien on Gustav Metzger ‘Picture Agent: Our singular picture agency’: Jordan Wolfson, artist The Next Newspaper: Irina Chernyakova on ‘The San Francisco Panorama’ Fit to Print: Adam Chadwick on the digital divide 100 Years Ago…: ‘The Bisbee Daily Review’, 1901–1971, November 3, 1910 Media Habits: Mark von Schlegell, science-fiction novelist and art essayist Focus: Marcel Janco on Sarah Charlesworth ‘Readers’ Lives’: 'Paper-Weight Champion', Inveterate collector Harley Spiller – who recently completed a masters thesis, ‘On Newsstands Now! A History of Paperweights and Newsstand Advertising’ – weighs up the ‘pisapapeles’, ‘Papierbeschwere’, and 鎮紙 of the world. Feature: ‘Heralding the Gizmo’ Max Andrews on Kirstine Roepstorff ‘Readers’ Lives’ by Marc D’Andre Infographic: Facebook poll: where does the New Museum's audience get their information? Cartoon: ‘The Woods: Tools’ by Francesc Ruiz ‘Advertising Department’: Ester Partegàs with Holly Coulis and Ridley Howard
All images courtesy Harley Spiller. Photos: Micki Spiller
Inveterate collector Harley Spiller – who recently completed a masters thesis, ‘On Newsstands Now! A History of Paperweights and Newsstand Advertising’ – weighs up the ‘pisapapeles’, ‘Papierbeschwere’, and 鎮紙 of the world. Newsstand paperweights – the usually cast-iron weights that saw their heyday in the 1950s on newsstands across the world – bear the insignia of newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Toronto Star, Saturday Evening Post, Time, Life, and Newsweek. The Mortimer Spiller Company, Inc., my parents’ advertising and sales promotion business, manufactured and sold these weights from the late 1940s through the mid-1980s. A century of their concerted collecting and documentation efforts has resulted in an archive of 151 unique international newsstand weights, plus the original carved mahogany prototypes, news-dealer aprons and caps, business correspondence, photographs, almost 1,000 news clippings, and more. Advertising and the media have always been linked. The nation’s first mass-market newspapers and magazines arrived in the 1890s and 1900s, their very existence made possible by advertising fees collected from large corporations and retailers. The first weights to hold down newspapers may have been well-worn horseshoes, which were readily available at the onset of the 20th century, about the time automobiles started replacing horses. Paperweights forged expressly for newsstand use started appearing shortly thereafter, and by mid-century, they were a fixture on the urban scene. In the 1950s and 1960s, some of the thousands of weights Spiller was making were shipped overseas by Life, Time, and the Herald Tribune. These weights were deployed on the handful of major newsstands that sold international publications in London, Paris, and other European capitals. Of the 45 total weights my father collected overseas, from the 1970s until 2005, there are 37 in languages other than English. The weights Spiller collected on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, where throngs of people go shopping, sit in public, people-watch, and while away the time, run the gamut from a rudimentary and well-used bent-steel ingot with its painted name La Visión, almost completely obliterated, to gorgeous heavily lacquered enamel and polished metal specimens from periodicals like ABC and El Mundo. One of the heaviest weights in the collection is a 3 1/4 pound (1.5 kg) metal and plastic rectangle for the German weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, its colors reminiscent of Germany’s national flag. Less sophisticated weights made from blocks of wood in countries like Thailand and Venezuela reflect these nations’ less-industrialized position in the world, yet the New York Times has also used wooden weights, and other American publications, such as The National and BackStage have found it cost-effective to produce low-end particle board models. In the late 20th century people in the United States bought, according to Thomas C. Leonard, “less than half as many newspapers per capita than the Japanese, the Finns, and the Swedes; the British and the Germans also were better customers”. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s 2009 Human Development Report, these six nationalities have the same 99% adult literacy rate, but New York City, perhaps because it is a great city for walking, seems to have the most newsstands and weights per capita in the world. Literacy is but one crucial factor in the sale of print media. Three other important factors in the prominence of newsstands and weights are a well-established culture of media advertising; locations within swarming transportation hubs where people have time to kill, or near heavily trafficked pedestrian areas (or in the case of Los Angeles, near slow-moving traffic jams); and a lively competition among an abundant array of publications. Despite the fact that Cubans are voracious consumers of news and boast an adult literacy tied for first in the world at 99.8 per cent, for example, politics on La Isla are such that news dealers are few and far between. One scantily stocked Havana news shanty opens on Sunday mornings only. Its lines are long, its newspapers are much in demand.
In Japan, newspapers and magazines are commonly sold at train stations and other relatively wind-free indoor or semi-sheltered locations. Publications are ordinarily kept in pristine condition until they are handed over to the customer. Outdoor newsstands are uncommon but some Japanese dealers put their publications in outdoor wire racks specially designed to obviate the need for weights. The paperweight for The China Press (which goes by the name ‘Overseas Chinese Newspaper’ in Chinese) claims its “rich content” can “heal the homesickness of overseas Chinese” by allowing readers to “contact the feeling” of the mainland. No matter where they are published or distributed, newspapers and magazines provide a link to their land of origin. Back in Manhattan, for many years, the place to find print journalism from near and far was Hotalings, also known as the Out of Town Newspaper Agency. Hotalings was often the only link between people in New York and their lands of birth. For many others, it was the best place to look for jobs and news from outside Gotham. Its huge selection meant customers could find everything from Pravda to Paris Match to Polish Engineering. Founded in 1905, Hotalings newsstands were located over the years in various parts of Times Square, from teeming street corners to the former New York Times Building to a tourist information kiosk on Broadway and 46th Street. New York City’s ever-shifting demographics have long been paralleled by Hotalings’ clientele. “We don't get the crowds from the theater district anymore. People don't roam in Times Square like they used to. It used to be mostly Western Europeans or people interested in Europe,” said Arthur Hotaling, the founder’s grandson, in 1988. “Now we get a lot more people from Latin America and the third world.” Despite efforts in the 1990s to spruce up the store and expand its offerings, the 105-year-old business is today a wholesale-only operation. The pageantry of print media is in flux. Single-copy sales are down and impulse purchases are more sporadic. Will newspapers and magazines go the way of buggy whips and coin-operated telephones? No one knows, but one thing’s certain – the cast-iron cameos known as newsstand paperweights will last a long time. Submit your story by emailing ‘The Last Monitor’: [email protected]
'The Last Star-Leger' – Issue #4 (READ IT ON ISSUU) Table of contents: Picture Agent - Our singular picture agency: Haegue Yang (cover) Media Habits: Nicoline van Harskamp Focus: Collin Munn on 'The Last Newspaper's work 'Untitled' (2006) by Dash Snow Feature: Latitudes on the 'The Last Newspaper's partner organisation StoryCorps & archive interview between journalist Ed Pierce and his grandson Scott Cole Interview: 'Rank & File' Ignasi Aballí on his 'Lists'series The Next Newspaper: Latitudes interview with Nick MrozowskiCreative Director of Portugal's newest newspaper 'i' 1989 Patricia Esquivias on…: Communism 'Dirt Sheet': Janine Armin's column 100 Years Ago...: 'The Tacoma Times' (Tacoma, Washington) 1903–1949, October 27, 1910. Weekly cartoon strip: Francesc Ruiz Advertising department: Ester Partegàs with Rob McKenzie
Nick Mrozowski during his visit to 'The Last Newspaper' exhibition holding a copy of that days' New York Times. Photo: Latitudes.
THE NEXT NEWSPAPER: i
Fresh from putting together a 40-page on-site weekend newspaper for the Society of News Designers conference in Denver – Michigan native Nick Mrozowski, the Creative Director of Portugal's newest newspaper, simply called 'i', stopped by 'The Last Star-Ledger' newsroom. The Last Star-Ledger: Tell us about the origins of i [pronounced ‘ee’] – was there a lot of research done into what people wanted from a newspaper in 2009? Was it independently started? Nick Mrozowski: The guys who launched the paper are seasoned pros in the Portuguese market. They've been directors of other newspapers so they're well-versed in the economy and business. i was started by a public-works construction company in Portugal. They happen to have a publishing branch – they publish regional newspapers – and wanted a national newspaper. Innovation Media Consulting, started in Spain, consulted on the editorial ideas and design before it launched. Even more than their knowledge or research of the market, they tried to create a newspaper based on their instincts and ideas that was totally different from anything else. The staff we hired is very young and capable of serious journalism, but with a lot of spirit, energy, and humor. That naturally found its way into the newspaper and because of that our audience is even younger than we initially thought. The newspaper has about 55 or 60 people in the newsroom now. I'm the sole art director, though I didn't design the initial project. The graphic model was done by Javier Errea, who is the most famous Spanish newspaper designer now. He just won the Society for News Design's Lifetime Achievement Award at forty-three years old! In the last fifteen years that his studio has been going, they've probably been involved with most of the newspapers in Spain and Portugal.
Cover i, 7 October 2010
TLS-L: The design is obviously a critical part of the newspaper. To what degree did the staff have either design or press backgrounds which came together in its visual journalism?
NM: We have reporters and designers of different functions. My degree is in journalism, but I focused on design. In all the newspapers I have worked on, I've been asked as much to be an editor as a designer. Our newsroom at i is a total open-plan. We work in the same room without cubicles or dividers with zones designed for communication. In the center are the top editors and then spiralling out are the various news desks, designers, and photographers.
TLS-L: Is there a typical way an article is put together?
NM: An editor or reporter decides there is going to be a story about something. They would then come and speak to one of the designers about what they're going to have for the page. We have our own jargon for types of stories or design elements to make it faster. That's pretty standard. The thing we do that's a little bit different is how we start a page. Throughout the course of a day we change it a million times, not only because an article comes in longer or shorter, we change it because somebody has a new idea. There are five designers, one design editor, and myself for the design portion.
Cover i, 26 July 2010
TLS-L: And you have 4 sections which are not at all based on traditional newspapers...
NM:i is 25 x 35 cm (9 8/10” x 13 8/10”) x with 48, 56 or 64 pages. It starts with ‘Opinion’ on the first four pages to get you thinking. The following short section ‘Radar’ is all the news you need to know from the last 24 hours in different formats: a few briefs, a portion of quotations, a photo that tells a story by itself, an info-graphic that has no text accompanying it. The big ‘Zoom’ section is more in depth, more analytical, with longer format, bigger stories, mostly two-page spreads. At the end we have a section called ‘Mais’ (meaning 'more') which has culture, sports, and lifestyle. We don't have this feeling that we need a 'national' or 'international' section with a set number of pages or stories with a certain length, the editing is much more fluid. Although we have developed some habits over time, nothing is set in stone. It changes from one hour to the next, making it harder to work but producing a better result. For some newspapers, it’s a way forward: to be more aggressive, not just in reporting, but in the way we think about how we report.
TLS-L: You must hear people talking about the decline of the traditional newspaper all the time?
NM: I see what's happening but I don't believe it. I think there are a lot more to come. They're going to change, they have to change, but it's good change. Obviously the internet is not going anywhere. We talk about it a lot in the industry. Everybody has different points of view and every couple of months there is a prevailing strategy, idea, or criticism. News used to be a printed newspaper – it's not anymore – but a newspaper isn't necessarily an online thing. I read the online version of the New York Times all the time in Lisbon because you can't buy it (you can only get the International Herald Tribune), so I read it in the morning before I go into work, I read it during the day.
Cover i, 19 June 2010
TLS-L: Yet in a traditional newspaper you find things you wouldn't otherwise read.
NM: When I go online I read a lot of stories because there's little investment in clicking a link, if a headline caught my eye, or an illustration. Funnily enough, now that I’ve been reading the New York Times on printed format here these last days, I find it really strange to navigate as an object.
TLS-L: Can you give our news team any advice?
NM: A good newspaper should have texture and a feeling of some immediacy. Try to highlight the liveness of it. Save yourself one part each time and only do it in the last thirty minutes so you have no idea what it's going to be. Desperation is a reality of newspapers! – Interview by Latitudes. Edited by Greg Barton. + images of i covers here.