One Thousand Books – On Publishing

Long time collaborators of Wandering Bears, we caught up with Flemming Ove Bech about Lodret Vandret’s next project – One Thousand Books art book festival in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 

How did one thousand books come about, what was the inspiration behind the project?

The idea for One Thousand Books (OTB) materialised, basically, from some of the same reasons that we started publishing for, wanting to engage with a community of artists making interesting projects instead of simply watching from the sidelines. In big cities like London, NYC and LA, artists (who publish) are very easily accessible to one another and reap the fruits of being part of a scene, so to speak. We didn’t feel we had that here in Copenhagen or at least we hadn’t found it yet. Thus, the first two iterations of OTB had a Nordic focus to bring together artists and bookmakers in our region for them to find each other.

Another obvious reason for putting on an art book festival is to present art and artists’ books to the local art crowd, and in our case, citizens of Copenhagen who normally would not be consumers of art. For this reason, in 2013 and 14, we set up shop, quite literally, inside of a (fully functioning and operating) supermarket, Rema 1000, which is also how the festival got its name.

In 2015 we took a breather to work on other projects but now for 2016 the festival is back in full effect. This time, however, with a slightly different focus. More on that later.

 

I understand funding plays a large role in the ability to run the project. what are you experiences / challenges you face throughout the process?

Well, yes. Funding is an absolute necessity for us to run OTB. Many other book fairs and festivals rely on money made from charging a fee from the participating artists and publishers. This model, however, is only sustainable if you, as the organiser, can offer a very high number of visitors so that revenue from book sales makes up for travel, accommodation and participation fee expenses. In a small city such as Copenhagen this is not realistic so instead we have chosen to apply for grant money to pay those expenses for the publishers, thus making it financially viable (and at all possible) for them to come and be a part of OTB. Going about it like that, however, has you at the mercy of whoever it is that sits behind those boardroom doors and that can be frustrating for sure. You obviously have to put in the work and make a solid, considered application with good proposal and a sound budget but still, once you have sent it off all you can do is cross your fingers and wait (and write more applications, of course haha). Practically, this means that we have to work slower than we would like to but it is totally worth the wait. We have been very fortunate to have now funded three festivals like this and for that we are very grateful. And OTB is run as a nonprofit (as is Lodret Vandret) so accepting that this is a labor of love is an absolute precondition!

 

Johan Rosenmunthe

“Going about it like that, however, has you at the mercy of whoever it is that sits behind those boardroom doors”

 

Talks and workshops are a key part of the fair, what do you consider exciting about offering these additional aspects of the event?

We want OTB to be more than a temporary art book sales point and giving the artists, writers and publishers involved with OTB a venue to talk about their practices and fields of research is a big part of this. The publication is a physical end product but there is so much interesting history, thoughts and reflections behind and surrounding the theme of artists’ books. We have planned a full day of talks outside of fair hours so that the publishers and artists can be in the audience without having to worry about manning their tables. This seminar day hopefully help create a sort of shared experience between everyone involved, which is important for us as this year’s festival is a bit of an experiment and challenges a more traditional book fair format.

 

How will this year’s instalment be different from previous editions?

The theme of this year’s fair is “art(ists’) books and exhibition making”. We have moved out of the supermarket setting and into Kunsthal Charlottenborg where thirteen publishers, or publishing entities, will act as curators to suggest ways of exhibiting a chosen title of theirs while at the same time offering said title for sale directly in the gallery. We wanted to change things up for the sake of trying something new and chose this focus and approach because we feel that exhibitions on books of which there are a quite a few these days are a bit stiff and fail to represent the book works in a fair manner. Books in vitrines or as projected video flip throughs doesn’t really cut it for us there must be better, more interesting ways of exhibiting books and some of the ideas within them. This is the ambition of One Thousand Books 2016 to suggest and carry out experiments as to how artists’ books may exist in the gallery space.

 

Flemmin

Flemming Ove Bech

 

What / who are some of the most exciting publishers that capture your imagination?

Here we have to highlight the thirteen participating publishers who span a wide a very interesting spectrum of approaches and practices in contemporary artists’ book making.

 

BBBBooks / Klara Källström & Thobias Fäldt (SE)

ECAL: MAAD & Designbolaget / Students at Master of Art Direction (CH/DK)

Forlagetemancipa(t/ss)ionsfrugten / Absalon Kirkeby & Kasper Hesselbjerg (DK)

Études Books / Aurélien Arbet, Jérémie Egry & Nicolas Poillot (FR)

Gottlund / Nicolas Gottlund (US)

Joachim Schmid / Joachim Schmid (DE)

Kodoji Press / Winfried Heininger (CH)

Lugemik / Indrek Sirkel, Laura Toots & Anu Vahtra (EE)

Officin / Louise Hold Sidenius (DK)

Pist Protta / Jesper Fabricius, Aase Eg, Jesper Rasmussen (DK)

Shelter Press / Bartolomé Sanson & Felicia Atkinson (FR)

Self Publish, Be Happy / Bruno Ceschel (UK)

Theophile’s Papers / Théophile Calot (BE)

 

This list could, however, be many times longer. There are so many amazingly talented new imprints right now! Travel to book fairs or browse your local (or internet based) independent art book store and discover new, beautiful titles. There is a lot!

 

What was your favourite book you picked up last year ?

It is unfair to pick any one book so let’s name a few… And these will all be published by imprints who are not a part of OTB just to stress once more how many fantastic book that are being made at the moment. First one is ‘Klein Calvin’ by Justin Morin published by French imprint Bunk Edition. Vintage Calvin Klein underwear ads printed in Yves Klein Blue. Simple but genius concept that speaks beautifully to art history, fashion and photography. Second one is even tighter in its conceptual approach. Swedish artist Peder Alexis Olsson has printed the lines and netting of a tennis court at 1:1 in a whopping 772 page book that is just a crazy, amazing and beautiful object. ‘Tennis’, published by Drucksache. Lastly, ‘Lange Liste’ by Christian Lange published by Spector Books is a transcription and photographic abstraction of a diary/spreadsheet kept by the artist’s mother from 1979 through 1997. This beautifully designed book shows us not only intimate family relations spanning almost two decades but also the change of the sociopolitical milieu as the DDR was assimilated back into Western Europe. An amazing quasi scientific document!

 

“There are so many amazingly talented new imprints right now”

 

Context

LV

Lodret Vandret ({adj.} vertical {adj.} horizontal) is a collaborative platform for independent publishing and exhibition making based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Collaboration is at the very core of our practice both when working with individual artists and on group projects. Our publications have been represented at NY and LA Art Book Fairs, Offprint Paris and London, exhibited at the MoMA Library and short listed for Aperture’s First Photobook Award. Several of our publications were shown at the 2013 ICP Triennial and as part of the 10×10 American Photobooks project. Lodret Vandret was founded in 2010 by artists Flemming Ove Bech and Johan Rosenmunthe and operates notforprofit.

OTB

One Thousand Books is an experimental art book festival in Copenhagen celebrating and showcasing the dynamic and very rapidly growing independent publishing scene to the Danish and international public. In 2013 and 2014 One Thousand Books took place inside a REMA1000 supermarket.

The aim of One Thousand Books is to elevate the level, number and quality of art books coming out of our region by hosting an event where players in the field can meet, connect and share ideas and perspectives on current issues in the frame of publishing. We are very happy to present to you the One Thousand Books experimental art book festival 2016!

 

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