The Journal, if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, its a duck, is an editorial project conceived by Ana João Romana, Catarina Leitão, Isabel Baraona, and Susana Gaudêncio (Professor EAAD-UMinho, researcher at LAB2PT), in the affinity of artistic and research practices related to publishing. Being visual artists, at different times and according to the most varied contexts and personal projects, each of us has assumed the role of maker, editor, and publisher (invented word that derives from the English “to publish”, a verb that designates something very different from “to edit”).
If the title is self-explanatory, we hope the subtitle underlines the (still) difficult task of circumscribing or defining what an artist’s book is. The phrase is taken from a manifesto by Lawrence Weiner on what an artist’s book is, with Weiner quoting a statement by the celebrated Senator Joseph MacCarthy, who in turn referred to the poet Whitcomb Riley. Confusing? Good, because, to be clear, we seek to embrace and study the most varied formats of author’s edition and the heterogeneous contextualization in artistic practice, we want to debate about the poetic and political dimension intrinsic to the gesture of editing and publishing, we want to question the sinuous intricacies of the circulation of these works, and inquire about many other related subjects.
In short, each issue of the Journal will critically address one of the various aspects that circumscribe these peculiar objects which, as Lawrence Weiner states in the aforementioned text, allow artists to get out at that moment what they had to say in relation to the art context, in relation to the brutality of our society, or in relation to the ecology of our society.
We seek to embrace and study the most varied formats of author’s edition and the heterogeneous contextualization in artistic practice, we want to debate the poetic and political dimension intrinsic to the gesture of editing and publishing, we want to question the sinuous intricacies of the circulation of these works, and inquire about many other related subjects. Each issue of the Journal critically addresses one of the various aspects that circumscribe these peculiar objects and is the subject of a call for papers for texts that are selected by peer review method.
The entire layout of the Journal was designed by Nayara Siler a.k.a Animal Sentimental, as we bet on producing a graphic object “good to handle”, that is, with a pleasant format, printed on quality paper. There are several reasons that lead us to make the contents available online for free and they are not only related to the restrictions of the pandemic context experienced in previous years: the Journal is funded by Lida – Laboratory for Research in Design and Art and by the Foundation for Science and Technology (UIDB / 05468/2020); and existing in the context of a school, in addition to the 250 printed copies and free distribution, we want it to exceed geographical and temporal boundaries. All issues of the Journal are accessible online to other researchers and future students from ESAD.CR or any other educational institution.
The Journal thus serves as an object of knowledge exchange and a place of experimentation since the center pages host visual essays proposed by the student community and selected by the scientific committee; it also serves to make known poetic and politically engaged projects such as the Brazilian collective Papel Mulher that collaborated in Journal 2. Like Alexandra Maia in collaboration with Jessyka Ribeiro and Julyana Mattos, the founders of Papel Mulher, we believe in the beauty of diversity, in the potential of exchange and the power of these modest printed objects, in the importance of giving and sharing the word, and that the most varied forms of artistic expression, such as literature, can be “a means of transforming subjectivities and, who knows, of transforming society.”