Recent events

Want some more in-depth information on our organizational outreach strategy?  Take a look into our latest productions and participations.

2019

In collaboration with artist Maria Arnal, Coro is a 3-day workshop that explores how Shapereader’s tactile resources can be steered towards the elaboration of an alternative system of musical notation for professional and amateur singers /vocalists.

During the international Seminary of Film Archive held in Tabakalera that explores non-conventional and para-institutional uses of archival practices, Ilan Manouach and Maria Arnal are going to present the process and outcome of the 3-day Coro workshop previously held at Hirikilabs. Other invited guests were Xabier Erkizia, Jorge Jácome, Pauline Julier, Aya Koretzky, Helena de Llanos, Jumana Manna, Uriel Orlow, Jessica Sarah Rinland and Ibon RG. The programme was curated by Lur Olaizola and Victor Iriarte.

Hackathens 2019 invites theorists to share their ideas on the issue of ownership of the city in the era of “platform economy” and is therefore a form of collective critical thinking. Furthermore, calls on groups not only to critically think about the questions posed, but also to plan, in the same way, objects, scenes or situations that reflect their understanding of the importance of common Athens and their response to the question “to whom Athens belongs”. This three-day project aims to analyze both the economic and business aspects of the phenomena we are dealing with. The Symposium asks participants to consider the underlying economic and business models and the formal and informal economies behind perceptions of what, who or what are they to whom Athens belongs.

OutScore curated by Dr. Sozita Goudouna is a research program that generates encounters between dance, sound, performance and the visual arts in relation to the complex notions of notation and score, and the ways scoring elasticity can be conceived in the second decade of the century. Ilan Manouach presented the score for an upcoming Shapereader perfromance. Other artists were Maria Hassabi, Kelly Nipper, Michael Portnoy, Duke Riley, Alexandros Georgiou, Delia Gonzalez, Eleni Kamma, Kostis Velonis, Raymond Pettibon, Erlea Maneros Zabala, Christian Wassmann, Vassilis Salpistis and Marie Voignier, Dionysis Kavalieratos, Maria Georgoula, Nikos Charalambidis, Olga Venetsianou, Angela Svoronou, Sotiris Karamanis and Mark Aerial Waller. The second edition of the project will be presented at ‘T’ Space Rhineberg New York designed by Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Dimitra & Eirini Tsachrelia and Nicholas Karytinos (Tacet Creations).

Following the invitation of Daniel Jimenez-Quiroz, Ilan Manouach gave a detailed presentation of Shapereader’s different formats of engagement, discussed about the modality of touch in comics and proposed a short exercise with the Metope plates.

Presentation of an academic paper from Ilan Manouach that explores the conditions for user diversity in comics and examines the formal, syntactical and material properties, and technologies that contribute into forging communities of users/readers. St.Ambroise University, Davenport.

National Comics is one of the main frames of analysis in comics… or is it too old-fashioned now that the ‘transnational’ is trending? We will discuss the upsides and limitations of the concept of national comics in the case of Canada, an officially multicultural and bilingual country in constant search of national identity: Does Canadian Comics matter? What is national comics? Most popular comics? Best comics? What about immigrants and emigrants? What are the roles of institutions? A reading session by Kim Jooha.

Comics in India are being treated as cheap objects. People feel they have no inherent value, and are often discarded. Through a documentation of different raddiwalas (paper recyclers) who sort through the pile of books and magazines they get and rescue comics from there, Aarthi will talk about books that are representative of different points in the comics jouney of India: from the Pattachitra and Kaavad, to Indrajal Comics, to Amar Chitra Katha, to Tinkle Comics to Graphic Novels and finally zines. One of the books she will have with her is a rescued comic! By Aarthi Parthasarathy.

Sadly, comics have a longstanding tradition of sexism. Primarily focusing on North American / Canadian comics, we will discuss how sexism has affected the writing of the history of comics (erasing women) and the lack of historiographical discussion in comics. We will also see how contemporary creators (including men), publishers, and readers reflect the rise of feminism (including sexuality) in recent years. Discussed works by Julie Doucet, Carel Moiseiwitch, Fiona Smyth, Jillian Tamaki, Ginette Lapalme, Hue, Jessica Campbell, Aaron Manzyck, Eric Kostiuk Williams, Eli Howey, Victor Martins and Tings Chak. By Kim Jooha. 

The creative challenge presented by comics does not begin or end at the drawing table. How does new work find a readership? What makes for a sustainable art practice? How do financial pressures and challenges drive aesthetic decisions, and vice versa? Join publisher and author Josh O’Neill, co-founder of the publishing collectives Locust Moon and Beehive Books, for a group discussion of small press economics, experimental methods of comics production and distribution, and the communities that create — and are created by — comic books. By Josh O’Neill. 

Deskilled Comics are intentionally poorly drawn comics. Why do some of us like deskilled comics? How do we distinguish the deskilled and just unskilled? Or do we need to distinguish them at all? Are skills important in art? Why are deskilled or unskilled comics so much popular online? Discussed works by Mark Connery, Kendra Yee, Mushbuh and Patrick Kyle. By Kim Jooha. 

The workshop on gender and comics is basically to take people through different images, that Aarthi has collected for here research project and at each image, stop to have a discussion, as well as a visual/written reaction. We could engage in detail with each piece of representation, and have a conversation about it. Then we would either note down our observations on context, character, creator to understand why that image exists in that way, or re-imagine/ re-write that image. By Aarthi Parthasarathy.

Comics’ entry to the fine art world was the source of the appropriation art (Lichtenstein). But now many comic artists deploy the method of appropriation includes collage. There are exciting similarities of heterogeneity and methodology that collage and comics share, especially with the development of photo editing software. We will discuss collage works of comic artists; comics employing collage; comics influenced by collage; collage as comics; and comics as collage. Discussed works by Julie Doucet, Marc Bell, Michael Comeau, Kendra Yee, Hue, Patrick Kyle, Tings Chak and Ginette Lapalme. By Kim Jooha. 

An experimental workshop on comics distribution. The workshop arises from the need to think radically the distribution of any cultural material and in particular of comics from a negative perspective. Through different exercises we will create a protocol for massive elimination of all comics worldwide. Later we will identify spaces of resistance where comics could survive under extreme adverse conditions. By Francesc Ruiz.

This paper from Ilan Manouach regards the complex relationships between comics, conceptual art and post digital affects. The conceptual project Noirs that is discussed in this paper is a detournement facsimile of Les Schtroumpfs Noirs: By shedding light on the industrial fabrication of a book though offset printing technology, a supposedly transparent and mechanic process, it reveals it to be a powerfully meaningful signifying device.

2018

Ilan Manouach is known through his comic books appropriations that changed the paradigm of what can and can not be considered as an authorial comic. Together with Daniel Bueno, they lead an ambitious project: to publish a collection of unusual graphic narratives in Brazil since the beginning of the last century. Searching for the crossroads of visual arts, concrete poetry, poema proceso and graphic design, Bueno and Manouach propose an acute reflection on a vast production little known by the general public creating a scenario of vanguard narratives undocumented in other countries with longer comics traditions.

The Conceptual Comics Workshop emphasises the directness of a subversive, marginal art form whose democratic potential depends on its ability to be criticised within itself. In which language may one describe artistic practices that swear fealty to no single history, no major canons and established critical methodologies? In which terms and by the use of which jargon can one describe the unfixed substances of a subcultural production negotiating linguistic and extralinguistic meanings in a globalised world, other than as realms of affects, potentials and strategies? The workshop will explore practice-based research related to the comic book industry. It will be conducted in English. A certificate of participation will be given to all registered participants.

In 2005, Jean-Christophe Menu, the publisher of L’Association publishes a biting manifesto, Plates Bandes. In an attempt to insulate his own catalogue from the ‘sensibilities‘ of the mainstream, Menu christens the term 48cc to describe the industrial national standard for Francobelgian comics, from its material properties (48 pages, hardcover). In offset printing jargon, a dummy is an unprinted book, which allows the publisher to test the finished object before its manufacture especially when a book goes out from conventional formats. Manouach’s book Blanco is an ode to standardization, 48cc dummy printed in 5000 copies and distributed in bookstores. By multiplying a publishing artifact, whose use is nulled by the popularity and ubiquity of its format, Blanco celebrates the signifying force of the industrialization of comics.

In an age where public libraries are an endangered institution, media collections run by amateur librarians emerge as new, vital topographies of sharing. UbuWeb, a web-based educational archive founded by Kenneth Goldsmith in 1996, proposes a different sort of art history. It provides free and unrestricted access to a remarkable, idiosyncratic collection of film and video art, critical documents and essays, sound poetry and art recordings, among many other unclassifiable strands of the avant-garde. We believe that the Ubuweb has a special meaning for Greece today, as it highlighted, through its spartan, low-bandwidth distribution, important questions regarding the notion of the periphery in an interconnected globalised world. Through talks and workshops Ubuweb in Athens proposes to explore the uses of the archive in regards to artistic production, and examine Ubuweb and other shadow libraries, through the lens of its users and makers. The event is curated by Ilan Manouach and Kenneth Goldsmith.

Compendium of Franco-Belgian Comics takes as a starting point the 48cc (48 pages, colour printing, hardcover) comic book format. The name contemptuously christened by the alternative publisher l’Association, points to the product of a normative and just-in-time book industry that dominates the French speaking publishing landscape. During a single afternoon Manouach purchased a selection of forty-eight second hand 48cc books and after careful reading he built a non-exhaustive idiosyncratic index of the elements considered to generally define the tradition of francobelgian comics. Among a variety of comics proto-memes, metanarrative devices, paratextual elements and other hovering dark clouds, shark wings, identity stereotypes and body-shaped holes, the Compendium presents itself as an orchestral comic book, where instantiations of his typology, freed from the imperatives of specific narratives can be read as the in situ building blocks of the European BD. Compendium comes as a co-production of 8 different European publishers, with a print run of 1500 and demonstrates the inherent linguistic properties of the comics medium. This book and its relation with contemporary art has been discussed extensively in Lorenz Antognini’s MA thesis (UNIL, 2018).

The Conceptual Comics Workshop emphasises the directness of a subversive, marginal art form whose democratic potential depends on its ability to be criticised within itself. It brings to the fore practices that are unaffiliated with the commonly accepted history of the medium and holds that if a comics genealogy exists, can only be individual and idiosyncratic. The unlocatedness in the medium’s spectrum is more than an abstraction: works operate on the margins of distribution and reception, artists uncomfortable with the entrenched roles perform under multiple identities and capacities and readers, in the absence of critical discourse engage with the works in forensic, at times nonspecified, ways of examination. I argue, through the workshop, that this condition, more than a minor drawback of a normative industry, induces new behaviours and forms of social relationships. Each of the different assignments explores the very substrate of the comics medium not as a culturally neutral site, but as a way to build alternative historiographies, replete with their own material properties and signifying potential. In the absence of passionately critical discourse in comics, the erratic insights of curatorial and publishing initiatives have failed to produce the conditions for a fluid transdisciplinarity. The workshop, by arguing and claiming the unlocatedness of conceptual comics, entrenched between more respected form of expression, such as poetry, artist books or contemporary art, posits the issue of legitimacy and raises questions to be explored and discussed: In which language may one describe artistic practices that swear fealty to no single history, no major canons and established critical methodologies? In which terms and by the use of which jargon can one describe the unfixed substances of a subcultural production negotiating linguistic and extralinguistic meanings in a globalised world, other than as realms of affects, potentials and strategies?

Manouach’s talk focused on conceptual comics (CoCo) and explores the very substrate of the comics medium not as a culturally neutral site, but as a way to build alternative historiographies, replete with their own material properties and signifying potential. Revuelta en el cómic was curated by Francesc Ruiz and other invited artists were Fatbottom, Gutter Fest, Máquina Total, CCCCC, Efrén Álvarez, Mery Cuesta, Conxita Herrero & María el Problema, Irkus M. Zeberio, Un Faulduo and Martín Vitaliti.

Over the past three decades, academic librarians and archivists have developed a rigorous, yet circumscribed, set of best practices for long-term data preservation. Meanwhile, amateur file sharers have worked out their own approaches to the preservation problem, often with little concern for institutional authority or the strictures of copyright law. Unfortunately, these two groups rarely cross paths. In this workshop, we will present several techniques for distributing and preserving large-scale data collections under adversarial conditions, drawing primarily on methods used by shadow libraries and among individual collectors. Our aim is to foster critical awareness of each of these systems’ benefits and limitations. First, we will teach how to use rsync for real-time mirroring from a centrally hosted data collection. They we will walk through the process of launching a decentralized BitTorrent repository, using Docker and Transmission to create torrents on a virtual private server. Finally, we will discuss the promise and pitfalls of emerging blockchain storage systems. The workshop was delivered by Steven McLaughlin.

Dina Kelberman is an artist from Baltimore, MD whose work often utilizes procedural accumulation of found digital images and video to create artworks that are more than a sum of their parts. Such projects include I’m Google, an ongoing tumblr project which has been shown internationally and featured in The New York Times Magazine, and the browser-based Smoke & Fire, which was commissioned by the New Museum. In this workshop Kelberman will discuss her artistic process of Intuition > Rules > Execution and lead participants in the creation and execution of their own procedural experiments. These experiments will invite participants to avoid overthinking, focus on intuition and whim, and create work within a game-like structure. The workshop was conducted by Dina Kelberman.

The workshop means to extend the most genuine qualities of the Internet, as we love it, to some physical incarnation. If I need to summon this online feeling and there is no electricity, what can I do? What are the textures, the smells, the weight we could to associate to digital feelings? Here the feeling serves as an element of preservation, and the physicality of things as a way to think perennial in digital. Based on each participant digital practice and knowledge, and crossed with David Desrimais (Jean Boîte Éditions) know-how, this workshop is a round-trip from digital to analog feelings, and back.

Using pre-existing selected found physical/conceptual material, participants will engage in a game of Exquisite Corpse to generate ideas for new work. The game ‘Exquisite Corpse’ (also known as ‘Consequences’) is related to the creative process, whether that be the laying out of notes for a text, making a storyboard or the construction of a film narrative. It is an index of possibilities and daydreams that in fact need no end outcome, it is all about the journey. When played as a ‘game’ it’s an entertaining way of finding out about one’s own memory, making visible the hidden patchwork quilt of an individual’s knowledge banks – hinting at how we make connections within ourselves and to each other all the time. We are able to visualise the scope for making tangents within the overall journey where every direction is permitted, and sometimes discover the limitations of our own hard circuitry (our memories). With internet search engines, forums and databases we are not limited to just our own recollection of a song or a text or a movie scene, we can search other peoples memory banks too through keyword searches – the whole of the internet is a massive thesaurus of unrealised new connections and potential creations.

Ilan Manouach’s collaboration through the Galerie Anne Barrault to the DRAWING NOW Art Fair, the leading contemporary art fair in Europe dedicated to drawing, and the first to have dedicated an entire fair to the contemporary medium.

Un Monde un Peu Meilleur is a stretched fac-simile edition of Louis Trondheim’s 48CC book. The unsolicited, unauthorized and unwelcomed pirate version that sells in the same book circuits than the original version, revisits with a bitter eye the claims to which the publisher Association didn’t live up to: That the question of format in comics is a political arena that overrides mere complicity of interests bringing together paper bulk orders, industrial workflow standardization, optimal formats and economies of scale, reader attention spans, shelf space and collectors’ best practices.

2017

For the Hippolyte show ECHO CHAMBER introduced the Shapereader Light Booth, an implementation of the Shapereader tactile language. The intertwining of vision and tactility has inspired several aesthetic analyses: from Johann Herder’s theory of feeling (Gefühl) in architecture and sculpture to Alois Riegl’s conceptualisation of a ‘tactile look’ in ancient Egyptian art, and from Michael Taussig’s notion of ‘optical tactility’, to Merleau-Ponty’s concept of vision as a ‘palpation’ with the eyes. The Light Booth was presented as an idiosyncratic luminous dictionary of discrete shapes, that can function as either nouns, verbs or modifiers. Not unlike other constructed languages, the arbitrariness of a limited list of signifiers highlights the working of a highly speculatively use of a tactile language that operates approximately through ambiguous metaphors. The exhibition was produced with the help of the Kone Foundation.

The Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) is the largest literary fair in the world. For the 2017 edition, the invitation of honor of France and the French language at the Frankfurt Book Fair is a historic opportunity for the French language to show its openness to the world, to promote the talents that make it live, to present the innovations that make it their engine for the future. The invitation to show the works produced with Shapereader, a tactile communication system for the visually impaired, is a way to achieve but also to enrich the universal ambitions of the French language with a more inclusive vision, this time regarding visually impaired people. The CFWB trusted ECHO CHAMBER ASBL to develop this exhibition project, with common goals and values. The inclusion of a Shapereader exhibition at the Frankfurt Book Fair was an ideal opportunity to give the project a media presence and anchor the project also in the literary events circuit.