Joseph Beuys: Coyote (1976/2008)

28 February 2014, dusan

Coyote was the first attempt to capture a performance by Joseph Beuys in book form. Beuys’s Action, I Like America and America Likes Me, took place in May 1974, when he spent seven days and nights in a room with a wild coyote.

The artist’s activities during his confinement with the coyote followed a repeated pattern. He employed a number of objects: felt, a walking stick, gloves, a flashlight and the Wall Street Journal – fifty copies were delivered daily. Over the period of a week, man and beast developed a mode of wordless co-existence, a two-sided performance that became rich with assumed meanings. Caroline Tisdall, a longstanding friend of the artist, who has written extensively on Beuys and has directed films about him, took most of the photographs and wrote the accompanying text.”

By Caroline Tisdall
First published by Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, 1976
Publisher Thames & Hudson, London, 2008
ISBN 9780500543689
160 pages
via Scribd

Commentary (Jan Verwoert, e-flux, 2008)


PDF (226 MB, updated on 2016-6-6)

Libre Graphics magazine 2(2): Gendering F/LOSS (2014)

26 February 2014, dusan

The current issue of Libre Graphics engages with discussions around representation and gendered work in Free/Libre Open Source Software and Free Culture.

Why Gendering F/LOSS? In the world of F/LOSS, and in the larger world of technology, debate rages over the under-representation of women and the frat house attitude occasionally adopted by developers. The conventional family lives of female tech executives are held up as positive examples of progress in the battle for gender equity. Conversely, pop-cultural representations of male developers are evolving, from socially awkward, pocket-protectored nerds to cosmopolitan geek chic. Both images mask the diversity of styles and gender presentations found in the world of F/LOSS and the larger tech ecology. Those images also mask important discussions about bigger issues: is it okay to construct such a strict dichotomy between “man” and “woman” as concepts; how much is our work still divided along traditional gender lines; is it actually enough to get more women involved in F/LOSS generally, or do we need to push for specific kinds of involvement; do we stop at women, or do we push for a more inclusive understanding of representation?

This issue looks at some of the thornier aspects of gender in F/LOSS art and design. In discussing gendered work, the push for greater and greater inclusion in our communities, and representations of gender in our artistic practices, among others, we hope to add and amplify voices in the discussion.

Edited by Ana Isabel Carvalho, ginger coons and Ricardo Lafuente
Publisher ginger coons, January 2014
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license
ISSN 1925-1416
56 pages


PDF (31 MB, low-res version for screen)
PDF (360 MB, high-res version for print)

Leo Marks: Between Silk and Cyanide (1998)

26 February 2014, dusan

Background image on the cover is a ‘Worked Out Key’ (WOK) printed on silk; photograph shows FANY radio operators receiving morse code transmissions from secret agents.

In 1942, Leo Marks left his father’s famous bookshop, 84 Charing Cross Road, and went off to fight the war. He was twenty-two. Soon recognized as a cryptographer of genius, he became head of communications at the Special Operations Executive (SOE), where he revolutionized the codemaking techniques of the Allies and trained some of the most famous agents dropped into occupied Europe, including “the White Rabbit” and Violette Szabo. As a top codemaker, Marks had a unique perspective on one of the most fascinating and little-known aspects of the Second World War.

Writing with the narrative flair and vivid characterization of his screenplays, Marks gives free rein to his keen sense of the absurd and his wry wit, resulting in a thrilling and poignant memoir that celebrates individual courage and endeavor, without losing sight of the human cost and horror of war.

In an interview with Channel Four included in the DVD of the film Peeping Tom, Marks quoted General Eisenhower as saying that his group’s work shortened the war by three months, saving countless lives.

Publisher Free Press, New York, 1998
ISBN 0743200896
416 pages



PDF (Alt link)

Discourse 31(1/2): On The Genealogy of Media (2009)

26 February 2014, dusan

“‘On the Genealogy of Media’ invokes a tradition for thinking about technology, which passes from Nietzsche through Heidegger and Freud. As a collection on media, however, these texts gathered together in this special issue include few Nietzsche readings—or even Nietzsche references—in their thread count. Indeed, Nietzsche is not typically considered a thinker of media technologies. But his genealogical interpretation of the Mass media as being on one uncanny continuum of valuation from Christianity to nihilism influenced, together with either Freud’s or Heidegger’s input, the media essays of Walter Benjamin as much as the media oeuvre of Friedrich Kittler. Following Nietzsche, then, a genealogy of media means, as in Heidegger’s questioning of technicity, that whatever technology may be it presupposes assumption of a certain (discursive) ready positioning for (and before) its advent as actual machines to which the understanding of technologization cannot be reduced. Freudian psychoanalysis views media technologies as prosthetically modeled after body parts and partings. A primary relationship to loss (as the always-new frontier of mourning where reality, the future, the other begin or begin again) is, on Freud’s turf and terms, the psychic ready position that is there before the event or advent of machinic externalities.” (from the Introduction)

With texts by Friedrich A. Kittler, Klaus Theweleit, Craig Saper, Gregory L. Ulmer, Rebecca Comay, Laurence A. Rickels, Barbara Stiegler, Tom Cohen and Avital Ronell.

Guest Editor: Laurence A. Rickels
Publisher Wayne State University Press, 2009
ISSN 1522-5321
182 pages
via Project Muse



Gerd Arntz, Otto Neurath, et al.: Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft: Bildstatistisches Elementarwerk (1930) [German]

26 February 2014, dusan

Economy and Society: Elementary Pictorial Statistics is an early example of socially-engaged piece of graphic design. The work was commissioned by the Bibliographical Institute in Leipzig, an important publisher of reference works and dictionaries, to the political economist and Vienna Circle philosopher Otto Neurath and his initiative, the Museum of Society and Economy.

The city-funded Museum was conceived as an institution for informing the public about the results of sociological and economical research. It staffed Marie Reidemeister, the University of Göttingen educated mathematician, Josef Jodlbauer and others. Since 1928 they also worked with graphic artist and council communist Gerd Arntz. The team developed their own method of visual education, picture statistics, hoping to ensure that even “passers-by [..] can acquaint themselves with the latest sociological and economical facts at a glance,” and later to become known as Isotype.

Economy and Society was made as a collection of one hundred statistical charts printed on loose leaves, depicting the state of world affairs of their day, with thirty text tables of source statistics included in an appendix.

“Isotype was conceived as a picture language for teaching purposes and as a lingua franca, not a universal code. Its signs were constructed as clearly as possible in themselves, so they could be used without the help of words. The signs were arranged into ‘fact pictures’ according to certain rules, which were set up by a ‘chief organization’ – as Neurath called his workrooms at The Hague. Thus a picture language emerged from the consistent use of expert graphic design. Its elements or pictograms were reduced to the smallest possible detail of what they represented, for example starting with the outline of a ‘man’, and if necessary, adding attributes to identify the man as a ‘worker’, a ‘coal miner’ or an ‘unemployed person’, and so on. Perspective was abandoned in the pictures, illustrating details were banned and any use of colors would be standardized. Starting with Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, the picture books produced show the struggle to build up a visual system of rules and signs. As its goal, Neurath identified the ‘education of public opinion’ and, on the utopian level, access to knowledge for all: ‘The Isotype picture language would be of use as a helping language in an international encyclopaedia of common knowledge’.” (this paragraph is taken from Frank Hartmann, Humanization of Knowledge Through the Eye, 2005)

Elementarwerk. Das Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien zeigt in 100 farbigen Bildtafeln Produktionsformen, Gesellschaftsordnungen, Kulturstufen, Lebenshaltungen
Publisher Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig, 1930
130 leaves

Commentaries: Nader Vossoughian (2003), Sybilla Nikolow (2006), Ed Annink and Max Bruinsma (n.d.), Robin Kinross (2008).

PDF (15 MB)

See also International Picture Language: The First Rules of Isotype, 1936

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