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New publications from preexisting obsessions and an offer for people with a paper shortage.
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It has been a few months or more since the last newsletter and it has been a productive season of work, travel, observing, exploring, and publishing. Public Collectors continues to be primarily sticking to its current obsession with two of America's most critical institutions: Criminal Court and public libraries. But there is always time for a little detour...

As always, thank you for reading and supporting Public Collectors and I hope to see you at an event sometime soon. — Marc / Public Collectors
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The Public Collectors Courtroom Artist Residency

The Courtroom Artist Residency has continued throughout the Summer and earlier this month I produced the third collection of reports.

For this residency program, artists and creative workers are invited to observe approximately three hours of court proceedings with me at Cook County Criminal Court on 2650 S. California in Chicago. Following court, I treat the resident to a meal at Taqueria El Milagro on 3050 West 26th street in Little Village, where we talk about our observations over lunch. Each residency lasts approximately six hours including transportation within Chicago, to and from court. Each residency is also accompanied by a $20.00 donation to the Chicago Community Bond Fund (the approximate value of two meals at Taqueria El Milagro).

Featured in this new booklet are discussions with Dana Sperry, Bea Malsky, Eric Von Haynes and Melinda Fries. During these four residencies we observed well over a hundred defendants who saw numerous judges for all manner of issues, including one situation where a lawyer wanted to be found in contempt so that he could be given a new judge for his trial. We observed a skunk try to cross from the jail to the court by way of the parking lot, and we watched over two hours of juror questioning in a gun case—learning the hobbies of nearly three dozen Chicago citizens as well as the various crimes they've been the victims of. We also heard a lot about electronic monitoring and challenges posed by evidence that depends on technology. We also watched the watchers when Dana Sperry and I sat behind a victims advocacy group who were waiting for one defendant's hearing.

The Courtroom Artist Residency Report was recently the subject of a thoughtful article by Jason Foumberg for The Art Newspaper that you can read here. Earlier this month I was invited to be a visiting artist at the residency ACRE in Steuben, Wisconsin where I gave my first full-length lecture specifically devoted to the Courtroom Artist Residency. If you'd like to have me visit your class or wish to host a talk about this project, please get in touch.
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Library Excavations #10: Health & Safety

After a bit of the break, the Public Collectors Library Excavations booklet series is back, this time with a focus on a 1970s booklet series published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Library Excavations is a project and publication series that highlights and activates physical materials found in public libraries. Library Excavations encourages intensive browsing of paper and print resources, particularly those that are under-utilized, or at risk of being withdrawn and discarded.

For the latest updates on what I'm learning about and finding in libraries, follow me on that Insta thing or just have a look.

Inventory of earlier issues is starting to run low and some are sold out. At this point, complete sets are only available to public institutions that inquire directly. These are some of the issues I'm running low on, but they are all still available from Half Letter Press.
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SOLD AS BLANK / POSSIBLE LOST MEDIA

Another new booklet that I completed in June.

SOLD AS BLANK / POSSIBLE LOST MEDIA explores the phenomena of eBay sellers who market used VHS video tapes with desirable content as “blank” to skirt eBay rules. Copyright and bootlegging are surely at issue here; there is also plenty of home movie material for voyeurs or others with a camcorder-shot footage fetish. Some of these tapes have sold for over $200.00; others make it to $50.00. Many more sell for just a few dollars or don’t sell at all.

Are eBay sellers with a lot of TV time on their hands and the need for cash becoming our new media archivists? These video data farmers are an important link in the digital preservation chain for all kinds of material. Local history and newscasts, commercials, broadcasts that stations never saved, films that never officially made it onto VHS or DVD or are out of print, key social and political events, and more wind up on home recordings. Once watched, described, listed and purchased, these tapes may be converted from analog to digital and uploaded to various websites for wider public consumption by other video obsessives, researchers, and historians. As the magnetic tape in these objects degrades, the clock is ticking for people who want to view and save this stuff.

The reprinted excerpts in this booklet were selected from completed eBay auctions held in 2019. The most obsessive of these listings reveal hours of watching and note-taking with the obvious hope that some nugget of footage will be the precise thing a buyer has been searching for. Photos of the image quality shot off of a TV screen are also included in some listings.


Be a PUBLIC COLLECTORS Publication Booster!

In an effort to distribute my most recent work into your loving hands and fund upcoming projects, I'm offering all ten publications in this photo for the discounted price of $40.00 postpaid in the US (inquire for a postage quote if you live outside the US). This collection includes the booklet STRETCH IS STILL SOFT which is not sold through stores or events. Feed your library! Give duplicate copies to your friends! Hide copies in surprising public places! Paypal purchase link here.
You found the end of the email! You are amazing and deserve to give your scrolling finger a spa treatment. Thanks for reading!

Public Collectors organizes exhibitions and events, participates in exhibitions organized by others, creates exhibition opportunities for collectors, teaches, lectures, responds to research inquiries, and makes its own publications. The administrator of Public Collectors is Marc Fischer. He is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Our mailing address is:
Public Collectors c/o
Half Letter Press
P.O. Box 12588
Chicago, IL 60612

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