soulellis.com / writing



I delivered a short talk titled “Bad Archives” on April 18, 2022 at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University, for the event “Archiving in the Age of (Im)Permanence,” organized by Kristen Iemma and Fletcher Bach. The talk attempts to locate the Queer.Archive.Work project in a larger, historical context of network culture and community organizing, referencing AIDS pandemic activism, computerized bulletin board services, and other early internet activity, and the “bad, leaky archives” that result from queer, non-cooperative impulses in survival. The text can be read here.




Queer.Archive.Work was invited to create the open call and jury the New Prints 2022 exhibition for International Print Center New York (January 20–March 26, 2022). The QAW team included me, Nafis White, and David Kim, and we selected 49 works by 36 artists from the US and abroad. The result is unfinished, which includes this curatorial statement that I wrote to accompany the show:


unfinished

Capitalism rewards perfection—as defined by those in power. This is especially true in the art world, where the demand for smooth resolution and predictability creates unsustainable standards for who or what is allowed to be considered “successful.” Too often, artists are judged along values centered on heteronormativity and white supremacy: easily reproducible results, collectability, exceptionalism, and the illusion of meritocracy. New Prints 2022 steps away from traditions of polish and perfection by making space for incompleteness, rawness, messiness, illegibility, risk, vulnerability, non-linearity, care, queerness, and non-normativity. Within the loose theme of unfinished, we push up against capitalism’s relentless drive towards market-based success by making way for other kinds of stories. New Prints 2022 includes actual works-in-progress, abandoned work, failed work, and work that is simply unfinished due to the myriad aspects and conditions artists experience while living and working during crisis—the radical turbulence of racial injustice, police brutality, class inequity, global pandemic, and climate emergency.

Each artist in New Prints 2022 has written a statement to accompany their work; collectively, their language adds depth and dimension to the idea of unfinished. Words like messy (Katie Kaplan), destabilized (Ruvan Wijesooriya), queer strength (Sheila Goloborotko), imperfect (Jesús González), and Black feminine utopia (Corrine Slade) work to expand what’s here; they invite careful attention. Together, the 49 works gathered here are incomplete evidence of the ongoing labor (and joy) in the collective struggle that aims to “push against.” Benjamin Merritt’s before they’re sung (2021) brings the “endlessness of chronic illness and disability” into conversation with Mended (2021) by Terry Schupbach-Gordon, who speaks “from the margins that I know . . . to create a new definition of who is beautiful and what strength looks like from there.” In writing that “the work here is unfinished on every possible level” (OutOfTheDarkPaul, 2021), dan keith williams refers not only to the individual artist’s condition, but to “our collective relationship with darkness.” And as cairo mo writes about their unreproducible linocut (白蛇娘娘 (bai she), 2021), “none of the previous versions can be repeated exactly,” challenging fundamental assumptions around reproducibility, legibility, time, and the need to keep going anew.

Pushing against capitalism is an endless labor. “There is, hypothetically, no end to this installation (s alvarez, de generacion, 2021),” and there is no limit to what’s possible when released from heteronormative, market-based metrics of success. As we organize, make, gather, and assemble in the non-linear, uncertain space of the unfinished—change happens, and we make way for others.



What is queer typography?”—a new talk delivered on May 7, 2021 at the Type Drives Communities conference, a 2-day event hosted by the Type Directors Club. Published as a zine in July 2021. Interviewed by PRINT in August 2021.




A talk for CalArts, delivered on March 19, 2021.




I delivered the talk “Urgent Publishing After the Artist’s Book: Making Public in Movements Towards Liberation” at the 2021 Contemporary Artists’ Book Conference at the Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair, on February 27, 2021. The talk (with slides) can be read here, and the talk itself can be viewed here. GenderFail published the talk as a book (edition of 200, sold out).




I’m very happy to be included in Reading Now, a new book published by dispersed holdings, edited by Sal Randolph and David Richardson. Contributors: Kyla Arsadjaja, D. Graham Burnett, Michael Cunningham, Jeff Dolven, Alan Huck, Alyssa Loh, Joshua Mathews, John Muse, Leonard Nalencz, The Nooy-Millers, Sal Randolph, David Richardson, Luc Rioual, Paul Soulellis, Hermione Spriggs, Sofia Theodore-Pierce, and Nicholas Weltyk. It launches at Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair, February 24, 2021. Order here.




Urgentcraft—Radical Publishing During Crisis (A Narrative Syllabus in 19 Parts)” was commissioned by Post Documenta, a joint project between the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (Germany) and the Athens School of Fine Arts (Greece), supported by the German Academic Exchange Service.




“Feed Time” was commissioned by V-A-C Zattere, Venice and published in 2019 in Time, Forward!, edited by Omar Kholeif. I’m now making it available to read here. My thinking around the feed as a contemporary form in network culture began with “Notes on Feeds” in April 2017 and “Performing the Feed” in November 2017, continued in “The Post As Medium” for Net Art Anthology, and concludes (for now) with “Feed Time.” Together, these essays propose ideas about the evolution of media consumption in relation to narrative, publishing, platform politics, and surveillance capitalism.




I’m on sabbatical for Fall 2020, but I’ve got visits and talks at several schools coming up—at RISD (October 8), Kansas City Art Institute (October 29), ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena (November 19) [video], MICA (December 2), and Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (December 10). I’ll link to them here as they happen.




A tiny piece of writing was included in Software for Artists Book: #001: Building Better Realities, edited by Willa Köerner, published by Pioneer Works Press with The Creative Independent and Are.na, 2020. The writing was originally posted on are.na as a digital diary submission, and the piece was selected for the book, which is now available for download and in print.




Wendy’s Subway invited me to give a talk as part of “Artist-publishers, care, and social action” on July 30, 2020, on the occasion of their online residency with Libby Leshgold Gallery and READ Books at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada. Also presenting was Beatrix Pang, founder of Small Tune Press and co-founder of Hong-Kong-based collective ZINE COOP.
[Read: “Urgentcraft (July 30, 2020)”]




I was interviewed by Elise By Olsen for her contribution to the online Russian Federation Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale, launched July 15, 2020. (PDF)




“On the power of mutual aid publishing during crisis—Artist and educator Paul Soulellis on creating urgent artifacts, radical DIY publishing, and a call to document this moment.” in The Creative Independent, June 4, 2020.




A new talk that I gave at Otis College: Urgentcraft (April 27, 2020). I spoke about mutual aid publishing during crisis, urgent artifacts, and how art and design can loosen power. This is a revision to my Urgentcraft text from last summer (given at the Eyeo Festival and The Conference in Malmö), updated in response to COVID-19 and incorporating Queer.Archive.Work and Urgency Reader 2. I shared the URL with viewers as I presented, which turned out to be a very good way to do a talk on Zoom, using the visuals on the web page to present but giving the audience the ability to follow links and spend time with resources during the talk and afterwards.




With less than 24 hours remaining in 2019, I’m reflecting on the work I’ve produced in the last decade. And trying to gather together the writing that’s mattered to me the most. Writing where I attempted to work something out in public. This isn’t everything that I’ve written, but in hindsight, these are the 20 texts that mark significant pivots in my thinking/making over the better part of a decade. They trace my wanderings here and there, and inform who I am in 2020 as an educator and an artist. I’m excited to do more.

1—“Design Humility,” for The Manual, my first commissioned piece of writing (2012). Cringe-worthy now, but it was an important start for me.
2—“*Resistance* Scenes from a designer’s counter-practice” for the Build design conference in Belfast, Ireland, my first public talk (2013).
3—“The Generosity Echo,” commissioned by Wendy Richmond for Communication Arts. I had just completed Weymouths and needed to write about the experience (2013).
4—“Search, compile, publish: towards a new artist’s web-to-print practice,” first delivered as a talk at The Book Affair, in Venice, Italy, and later printed as an edition of 500 newsprint zines and distributed freely at the NY Art Book Fair, to introduce Library of the Printed Web. Published in 2019 by MIT Press in Publishing Manifestos (2013).
5—“Performing Publishing: Infrathin Tales from the Printed Web,” a text I wrote for Hyperallergic for the launch of Printed Web #2. I was at NEW INC and had just started teaching at RISD, and this piece would form the basis for Experimental Publishing Studio a few months later (2014).
6—“Digital Publishing, Unzipped,” my first commissioned piece for Rhizome, written while I was in residence at NEW INC, at The New Museum (2015).
7—“The Download: sorry to dump on you like this.zip,” written to accompany the first of seven Download commissions that I curated for Rhizome, by Christopher Clary. A “must-read art essay,” according to artnet (2015).
8—“The Distributed Monument,” written to accompany Morehshin Allahyari’s Download commission, and later published in Allahyari’s 3D Additivist Cookbook and Rhizome’s Net Art Anthology (2016).
9—“Carrying, embeddedness, printedness. Window-into-the-page. A grand assembling.” A talk performed at Printed Matter (2016) for the launch of 3D Additivist Cookbook.
10—“Occupying Plöger’s Library,” commissioned for Wolfgang Plöger: Inherited Lies at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Dusseldorf, Germany 20 January–18 March 2017 (2017).
11—“Notes on Feeds,” which evolved into “Performing the Feed,” a talk delivered at the Cybernetics Conference (2017).
12—“Urgent Archives,” commissioned by Charlotte Cotton for Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of Self, co-published by Aperture and the International Center of Photography (2017).
13—“Sanctuary,” included in Safe, a pavillion curated by Christopher Clary for The Wrong Digital Art Biennial (2018).
14—My Design Insights talk at the Walker Art Center (2018).
15—“Publishing as practice as resistance,” a talk delivered at a number of venues (2018).
16—“Queer.Archive.Work #2, 1923 Internet Archive Edition,” written while in residence at the Internet Archive and published on their blog (2019).
17—“The Post As Medium,” a long-form essay commissioned for Rhizome’s The Art Happens Here: Net Art Anthology, edited by Michael Connor and Aria Dean [full text will be posted here soon] (2019).
18—“At Home in the Archive,” for Queering the Collection, published by GenderFail and ICP (2019).
19—“Feed Time,” for Time Forward!, a catalogue that accompanied the exhibition of the same name, at V-A-C in Venice, Italy [full text will be posted here soon] (2019).
20—“Urgentcraft,” a talk written for the Eyeo Festival, also delivered at The Conference in Malmö, Sweden, and self-published/distributed at the NY Art Book Fair (2019).




Time, Forward! V-A-C/Zattere, Venice
The Art Happens Here: Net Art Anthology, Rhizome
Publishing Manifestos, MIT Press
QUEERING THE COLLECTION, GenderFail
^^ All published in 2019



Document Journal invited me to write a short piece about my memory of December 31, 1999.




I was invited to write a brief text for “Nothing’s Lost In Numbers” (2019), a work by Felix Gärtner and Romano Dudas, installed at Galerie Kernweine in Stuttgart, Germany (August 8–October 6, 2019). My piece was included in the installation as an email printout, pinned to the wall with the photographic works. The images were found on 31 used memory cards purchased by the artists on eBay and displayed without any permission or identification of the original authors.

Who profits here? All signs point to artists Felix and Romano and the gallery that hosts this project. Financial, intellectual, and artistic capital will be generated by this exhibition, if all goes well. Meanwhile, what has been lost? The people who created these images and unknowingly supplied them to the artists go uncompensated and uninformed. The artists’ promise to “reveal things that were not originally intended for the viewer’s eyes” does exactly that, exposing the act of grabbing property to claim as one’s own as a classic colonialist gesture, disguised here as artistic practice. The unacknowledged collaborators may never know how their work has been used, but does it matter? The artists’ deletion of authorship, attribution, and agency remains on view in this gallery, fully exposed as an enormous debt. “Nothing’s Lost in Numbers” claims to question whether the act of deleting has any meaning in the digital realm, but goes far beyond this simple inquiry. The project replicates the loss of privacy it claims to critique, asking us instead to examine the ethics of an art world that engages in practices of neglect, invisible labor, and erasure.

“Nothing’s Lost In Numbers” by Felix Gärtner and Romano Dudas, Galerie Kernweine, Germany (2019)



“Urgentcraft”—a talk delivered at the eyeo festival on June 6, 2019 (video). A shorter version of Urgentcraft was presented at The Conference in Malmö, Sweden in August 2019 (video). Distributed 350 copies as a self-published zine at the NY Art Book Fair in September 2019 (PDF).




“Feed Time,” essay in exhibition catalogue Time, Forward! for V-A-C/Zattere, Venice (exhibition May 11–Oct 20, 2019; book published September 2019)




“At Home in the Archive” has been published in QUEERING THE COLLECTION, (Be Oakley, Christopher Clary, Patricia Silva, Emily Dunne, editors) GenderFail / International Center of Photography, March 2019



“The Post As Medium” in Net Art Anthology, Rhizome (2019)



“The Post As Medium” has been published in The Art Happens Here: Net Art Anthology, Rhizome / New Museum, April 2019




“QUEER.ARCHIVE.WORK 2 (1923 INTERNET ARCHIVE EDITION),” published by the Internet Archive, January 2019




Paul Soulellis turns the internet into tangible art,” interview in Document Journal, December 17, 2018




Publishing as practice as resistance.” Different versions of this talk have been delivered at the Boston Art Book Fair (10/13/18), Boston University (11/13/18), California College of the Arts (1/24/19), Parsons School of Design (3/25/19) and Stevens Institute of Technology (3/26/19).




Publishing Needs to Get More Radical,” A conversation with Annette Gilbert in Kunstforum International, Germany. Sept, 2018.




Urgent Archives,” essay published in Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of the Self, Charlotte Cotton, ed., co-published by Aperture and ICP, 2018. Also appears in Library of the Printed Web: Collected Works, 2013–2017, published by Paul Soulellis, 2017.




Search, Compile, Publish.” Originally delivered as a talk at The Book Affair, Venice, Italy, May 2013. Self-published as a newsprint broadsheet, edition of 500, distributed for free at the NY Art Book Fair, September 2013. 2016 update delivered as a talk at Miss Read, Berlin, June 2016. Included in Publishing Manifestos, edited by Michalis Pichler, May 2018, and published by MIT Press, March 2019.




“Muddy Waters” appears in a special broadsheet on the occasion of Nicholas O’Brien’s Treatment, the Plan for Rain at Knockdown Center, NYC, May 8–July 1, 2018.




Urgent Archives,” Design Insights talk delivered at Walker Art Center, March 27, 2018.




Sanctuary,” essay included in Safe, a pavillion curated by Christopher Clary for The Wrong Digital Art Biennial, January 2018.



Kunstforum International


Rozendaal: The Path to Abstraction,” text accompanying the presentation of into time.com as part of Net Art Anthology, Rhizome, Dec. 2017.




Performing the Feed,” a talk delivered at The Cybernetics Conference, NYC, November 2017. Published by Rhizome in its Seven on Seven 10th Anniversary Magazine What’s To Be Done?, May 2018.


The Download


Merging with the Network,” interview with Eva and Franco Mattes accompanying the presentation of Life Sharing as part of Net Art Anthology, Rhizome, Oct. 2017.




Occupying Plöger’s Library,” essay published in exhibition catalogue for Inherited Lies by Wolfgang Plöger, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, 2017.




“An improvisation,” an 8-page work for White Zinfadel magazine, with the John Cage Trust, May 2017.


White Zinfandel


“Notes on Feeds” (PDF, text only), talk delivered at Interrupt 4, Brown University, April 28, 2017.




The Download 6: A Desktop Lamentation,” Rhizome, Sept. 2017.


Konrad Fischer Galerie



Library of the Printed Web: The Guy Who Makes Art Out of the Internet,” Vice Magazine, The Future of Tech Issue, Feb. 2017.




Carrying, embeddedness, printedness. Window-into-the-page. A grand assembling.” Talk performed at Printed Matter on Dec. 2, 2016 for the launch of Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke’s 3D Additivist Cookbook.


Kunstforum International



2016: The Year According to Paul Soulellis,” Walker Art Center, Dec. 2016.




The Download 5: Dennis Cooper’s GIF Novels,” Rhizome, Nov. 2016.




The Download 4: Technologies of Care,” Rhizome, Oct. 2016.




Artist Profile: Lorna Mills,” Rhizome, September 2016.




Artist Profile: Travess Smalley,” Rhizome, July 2016.


Walker Art Center



A conversation with Paul Soulellis,” interview with Kate Palmer Albers, July 2016.




The Download 3: Incantations for the Birth of a Network,” Rhizome, May 2016.




The Download 2: The Distributed Monument,” Rhizome, Feb. 2016.




After the Hookup, An App,” Rhizome, Dec. 2015.




A BOOK IS THE BOOK: A READING IN 142 PARTS,” talk performed at Printed Matter for the launch of Code X (Danny Aldred and Emmanuelle Waekerle, eds.), Nov. 2015.




“The Printed Web,” essay in SPAN: Conversations About Design and Technology, the first Google Design Reader, edited by Rob Giampietro and Amber Bravo, Google Inc., Nov. 2015.




The Download: Sorry to dump on you like this.zip,” Rhizome, Nov. 2015.




Poor Media on Demand: All the files of Printed Web 3,” Rhizome, May 2015.




Digital Publishing, Unzipped,” Rhizome, March 2015.




From way back in 2013: a talk I wrote for the Build Conference in Belfast, Ireland. “Resistance: scenes from a designer’s counter-practice.


Rhizome Seven On Seven


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