Hogeschool Rotterdam Willem de Kooning Academie

Experimental Publishing

Experimental Publishing

The Experimental Publishing master course (XPUB) focuses on the acts of making things public and creating publics in the age of post-digital networks.

XPUB’s interests in publishing are therefore twofold: first, publishing as the inquiry and participation into the technological frameworks, political context and cultural processes through which things are made public; and second, how these are, or can be, used to create publics.

From app stores to art book fairs and zine shops, from darknets to sneakernets, from fansubs to on demand services, and from tweeting to whistleblowing, the act of making things public, that is to say publishing, has become pivotal and multi-modal in an age infused with myriad media technologies. The tension between the publishing heritage and novel forms of producing and sharing information has shown that old dichotomies such as analog versus digital, or local versus global, have grown increasingly irrelevant given their bond with media practices based on both old and new technologies, and their existence within mixed human and machine networks. At the same time, this expansion of means and meanings of what is publishing create a risk that the public in making things public becomes overshadowed by publishing practices absorbed in novelty workflows and their own techno-aesthetics, that. This is why by publishing we also mean to create publics, to engage with a broad set of intermingled and collaborative practices, both inherited and to be invented, so as to critically explore and actively engage with issues that are:

social, technical, cultural and political;

involving actors both human and algorithmic;

and mediated by networks of distribution and communication of varying scales and visibility.

As a result, XPUB approaches publishing from the perspective of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, in order to explore a broad range of methods and workflows, as well as inventing new ones. XPUB understands reading, writing, prototyping and documentation as core principles for a critical design and artistic research. XPUB strives to balance self-directed research with self-organization to allow empowerment and to support collective thinking and action.

As part of XPUB, and to provide you with the building blocks for your own projects, you will be exposed and taught a wide range of Free/Libre and Open Source software and standards combined with techniques and strategies relevant to do-it-yourself (DIY) publishing. This is a core element in the critical approach to Experimental Publishing, where we value technical (mis)appropriations, modularity, custom applications and collaborative authorship, so as to actively engage and create publics for societal topics and themes linked to contemporary cultural productions, as well as expand the means of discourse circulation beyond print media and its direct digital translation.

During Year 1, you will participate in the making of 3 special issues. Each special issue addresses a specific “issue” coordinated with outside events and collaborations, and culminates in one single or several public releases. The form and production of each special issue varies as a means of critically engaging with the diverse media, scales, and historical specificity of a particular topic. This multiplicity of form rejects the conception of “cross-platform”, “hybrid” and “multi-media” as seamless, uniform, and ever improving. The object that is published is therefore not limited to print media, digital file or website. It could be a vinyl, a software, a repurposed networked appliance, and ideally a combination of different things.

During Year 2, you will dedicate your time to the writing of your Master thesis and the making of an experimental publication, as part of an individual or collaborative effort. This final graduation work can revisit a past special issue theme and work, or explore an entirely new topic.

Master degree offered

The Master Media Design & Communication is fully accredited and reviewed by the NVAO (Nederlands-Vlaams Accreditatie Organisatie), the standard academic accreditation council for the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium, and fully subsidised by the Dutch state. The Master degree we offer is a “Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design: Lens-Based” or The Master degree we offer is a “Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design: Experimental Publishing”.