Kenneth Goldsmith: Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb (2020)

22 June 2020, dusan

“In 1996, during the relatively early days of the web, Kenneth Goldsmith created UbuWeb to post hard-to-find works of concrete poetry. What started out as a site to share works from a relatively obscure literary movement grew into an essential archive of twentieth- and twenty-first-century avant-garde and experimental literature, film, and music. Visitors around the world now have access to both obscure and canonical works, from artists such as Kara Walker, Yoko Ono, Pauline Oliveros, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Duchamp, Cecil Taylor, Glenn Ligon, William Burroughs, and Jean-Luc Godard.

In Duchamp Is My Lawyer, Goldsmith tells the history of UbuWeb, explaining the motivations behind its creation and how artistic works are archived, consumed, and distributed online. Based on his own experiences and interviews with a variety of experts, Goldsmith describes how the site navigates issues of copyright and the ways that UbuWeb challenges familiar configurations and histories of the avant-garde. The book also portrays the growth of other “shadow libraries” and includes a section on the artists whose works reflect the aims, aesthetics, and ethos of UbuWeb. Goldsmith concludes by contrasting UbuWeb’s commitment to the free-culture movement and giving access to a wide range of artistic works with today’s gatekeepers of algorithmic culture, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify.”

Publisher Columbia University Press, New York, 2020
ISBN 9780231186940, 0231186940
x+318 pages

Publisher
WorldCat

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Kenneth Goldsmith: The Ideal Lecture: In Memory of David Antin (2018)

28 May 2018, dusan

“This lecture premiered at The Louvre auditorium as part of FIAC’s public programs in October, 2017. To give it, I loaded the talk into a teleprompter program on my laptop. The linebreaks in the piece are a result of the way the teleprompter program broke them up in order to facilitate the reading of the work. Although I have never written lineated verse, I love the idea that a computer lineated the verse for me. This lecture, then, reads an awful lot like the way I talk, but it is truly nothing like the way I talk.”

Publisher Het Balanseer, Ghent, 2018
ISBN 9789079202522
62 pages

Publisher

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Ilan Manouach: Katz (2011) [French]

1 May 2018, dusan

Katz is a pirated edition of Art Spiegelman’s seminal graphic novel Maus. Katz is an exact copy of the French edition of Maus, with the difference that all the animal characters, have been redrawn as cats. The book was printed on November 2011 and it was seen in public for the first time in January 2012 during the International Comics Festival of Angoulême that ran under Spiegelman’s presidency. Apparently more than 50 copies were sold simultaneously by several independent publisher bookstands, but the book’s ISBN belonged clearly to La Cinquième Couche, a Belgian publishing structure which had already a large catalogue under its belt. The author of this pirated edition was presumably Ilan Manouach. After the Festival, the book was scheduled to be officially distributed by April 2012 and according to Belles Lettres, the distributor, it has already been sold out in pre-order from hundreds of bookshops in France and Belgium. BLDD asks for a reprint but the author and the publisher refuse, underlining the repurposing as a statement.

Two weeks before the book hits officially the book stores, the lawyers of Flammarion, the copyright holder of the French edition of Maus strike back. They send to Mr. Manouach and Mr. Löwenthal, a 500-page document containing spreads from both Maus and Katz, interviews from Ilan Manouach, and his correspondence with Art Spiegelman. Refusing to take on account the conversational nature of the operation and its very limited printrun, Katz is stated as a counterfeit of Maus and Flammarion seeks an injunction against the small Belgian press.

There is also some fuss about the number of copies. The book was printed in Greece and the infringing publisher handled many contradictory proofs of the total print run. The sum fluctuates between 700 and 2000 copies. Flammarion, in the report, states that probably 100 books are hidden in Greece. The same week, in Athens, people break into Manouach’s car and steal 32 books.

La Cinquième Couche and Manouach are positive about the trial. A century of art history, from Duchamp to pop art is enough to prove the validity of this operation. Nevertheless, being already heavily indebted, the publisher, not able to afford the 20.000 starting costs in order to fight the injunction, accepts an out of court settlement: nothing more or less than the total destruction of the books and the digital files. The operation took place in Brussels the 15 march 2012, in a specialised destruction facility.”

Publisher La Cinquième Couche, Ixelles, 2012
ISBN 2930356847, 9782930356846
286 pages
via UbuWeb

Interview with author (M. Hulot, Ough, 2012, English)
Interview with author (Xavier Guilbert, du9, 2012, French)
Commentary: Bill Kartalopoulos (World Literature Today, 2016)

Author
Wikipedia
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (35 MB)

See also Xavier Löwenthal, Ilan Manouach (eds.), MetaKatz, 2013.