Mediawork Pamphlets

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Mediawork Pamphlets explore art, literature, design, music, and architecture in the context of emergent technologies and rapid economic and social change. Mediawork Pamphlets are "‘zines for grown-ups," commingling word and image, enabling text to thrive in an increasingly visual culture. But the aims of the series extend beyond creating theoretical fetish objects. Mediawork Pamphlets transform private theory into public discourse, visual experimentation into cultural intervention. Private theory refers to those ideas that circulate within the hermetically sealed spheres of academia and the techno-culture. The pamphlets select texts from these discourses, distill insights and interventions from them, design a supportive visual context, and launch these hybrids out into a greater public. The Mediawork Pamphlets series is not intended to "replace" other forms of discussion – from books to journals to listservs to Web zines – but rather to create a new category of public visual intellectuals, and new categories of audience as well.

This series draws from a range of inspirations, including the 1960s collaboration between media theorist Marshall McLuhan and designer Quentin Fiore that resulted in the marvelous little mind bombs, The Medium is the Massageand War and Peace in the Global Village. In the early 1980s, Sylvère Lotringer founded Semiotext(e) and published Jean Baudrillard’s Simulations, that small black volume which ignited a fury of theoretical activity. Lotringer began with industrial design: Semiotext(e) books were sized to fit directly into the vest pocket of a leather bomber jacket.Mediawork Pamphlets don't have that specific a destination, but consider those sling packs, messenger bags, and attachés that both men and women now shoulder to hold their pens, pads, pagers, phones, PDAs, and, of course, laptop computers. These pamphlets are the perfect size and weight to toss into one of these bags or slip into an outer pocket. Expect to see people paging through Mediawork Pamphlets while they wait for their laptops to boot up. Interstitial times demand interstitial literature.

Making theoretical fetish objects requires support and funding. Major ongoing funding for Mediawork Pamphletscomes from the Rockefeller Foundation. The first three Pamphlets have been supported by a start-up grant from Jeffrey and Catharine Soros. Additional funding has been provided by the Office of the President, Art Center College of Design. 

(Source: MIT Press online catalog)

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Eric Dean Rasmussen