Aram Bartholl - The Speed Book
Conception and design for Aram Bartholl's monography for Gestalten. Research: Parallel World
The title “The Speed Book” might not only refer to the exhibition format “Speed Show”, that was invented by Aram Bartholl and is carried out many many times worldwide, it also speaks for a fast & dynamic book, which was made within weeks. I can remember Bartholl coming to my studio with a harddisk (on it the fragmentary documentation of his projects) and a general inquiry: “Gestalten wants to make a book with me - can you help me.” And so the story began and I'm pretty happy to have realised together with Domenico Quaranta, the editor, an unconventional and entertaining monograph for Gestalten.
Aram Bartholl's workscope is pretty brought and therefore 5 chapters divide them*. The more picturesque projects were classified in “Internet Aware Art” (Chapter A), “Out of the Game” (Chapter B) & "Picture Elements" (Chapter C) and designed in a reduced layout with space for images & tiny, beautiful type details. In between these parts different other projects, playing significantly in a social space (for example “Speed Show”) are shown in a newspaper-ish, even fanzine-ish look (on uncoated paper) to maintain their communicative aspects as they are looking mostly for participation.
The book features an interchaning dynamic with its both paper qualities and different design approaches. It's rising speed and still offerning wider gaps to look closer or read deeper into the topics of Bartholl’s work.
* "So: what a weird kind of artist Aram Bartholl is? This question resurfaces in some of the texts in this book. Bruce Sterling compares him to Max Ernst, discusses Dead Drops as art, but then calls Aram an architect and a curator, and ends up saying that, as an artist, he doesn't either belong to the net or to the white cube, but “in a self-created twilight zone”. Discussing Dead Drops and Speed Shows, Brad Troemel talks about their usefulness, because “through their usefulness we may evaluate their quality”. But wasn't art supposed to be useless? Evan Roth talks about Aram as an hacker, and Josephine Bosma, from the first to the last question of her interview, seems really interested in Aram‘s background in architecture." Domenico Quaranta, editor of Speed Book
Excerpt of an Interview: “AB: Digital space is very much an extension of ourselves (like McLuhan put it) and it is becoming massively big in that sense currently. It is not so much about wearing AR glasses to see hidden layers of the city or cyberspace. It is more the way we think and are emotionally connected through just a tweet or a gif.”
About Aram Bartholl:
Aram Bartholl is probably Germany's most wellknown artist dealing with adaption and transitions from virtual to physical spaces - long before people were talking about "New Aesthetics"... His work explores the power structures of digital networks or rather Today's social systems. The newest cultural innovations and their inner dynamics and languages are reflected through a simple but strong visual approach - giving his ideas and messages a mostly popular, universal and comprehensible form.
Different from his work as artist his Speed Show concept is a sharable exhibtion format, where online art gets presented in an more or less occupied internet café.
Walkling with the "open" "intern@t" LED signs through New York, Bartholl turns himself into a sandwich man by advertising his own service—an open internet network available for everyone in the surrounding area through a 3G hotspot on his mobile phone.
One of the works Bartholl gained most attention from is "Dead Drops" - an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. It might be seen as a reaction to the endless discussion of sharing, hosting or rather surveillance of (private) data.
Bartholl invited people to join and install dead drops all over the world. The most beautiful thing on this project is its enormous contribution. Within one year over 500 dead drops were installed, counting now almost 1000 usb sticks worldwide. Provided with the installation pictures they are documentated in this table. The book features an 9 pages list of the first dead drops, among others:
Here is the offical trailer for the Speed Book by Gestalten:
This is me stammering at the presentation of The Speed Book at Gestalten Space, Berlin: