What is Publishing? What does it mean to make things public?

The new study path experimental publishing is the merging of two stories:

The singular story is the one of the Media Design and Communication Master, which for a decade has established a critical approach to the ambiguous notion of media. In the past years we have welcomed a wide range of practitioners from the culture field, visual and digital artists, graphic designers, musicians, performances artists, architects, fine press book makers, and computer programmers, to help them develop a practice that explore the social, technical, cultural and political dimensions of their work, and ultimately as we took the habit to say, to encourage them to design their own media. Such an approach has resulted in a rich variety of projects and writings, from browser plugins to connect Amazon purchase button to Pirate Bay torrent links, chat system and audio feedback loops working with networks of tape reels, autonomous phone and computer based voice mail networks, theatre scripts based on Wikipedia page histories, peer-to-peer workflows for graphic designers, generative artists book and concrete poetry epub, secret social networks and file sharing hidden in the trash can of your computer desktop, wikis to publish precarious materials and weblogs of emerging forms of online artistic publishing , and many other amazing things.

The common point of these projects is they all look at particular issues, tensions, and conflicts relevant to the field of practice of their authors, and communicate concerns that are relevant to a much broader public. Why? Because they all offer a conversation about the cultural diversity, the systems, the networks, of humans and machines, that constitute our society.

This aspect of communication, sharing, informing, and thinking about how things are made public, and circulate in a public space is what link us today with this other, more general story, that is the one of publishing. Originally rooted in print media, the notion of publishing has in the last decades been both culturally diffused and appropriated well beyond its original domain of preference. It does not mean that publishing has lost its sharpness, in fact, this Cambrian explosion of new publishing potentials, has demonstrated how publishing has become central to a diversity of networked practices.

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 became pivotal in an age infused with myriad media technologies.

What is more, 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 hybrid media practices based on both old and new technologies, and their existence within mixed human and machine networks.

In sum, by experimental publishing we mean 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 an ecosystem in which multi-layered interactions occur that are:

For this journey, we seek students motivated to challenge the protocols of publishing (in all its (im)possible forms) using play, fiction, and ambiguity as methods and strategies of production and presentation, in order to experiment on the threshold of what is possible, desirable, allowed, or disruptive, in this ever expanding field.

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