Public Collectors - November 2017 Newsletter:  New Publications, new Residents, Guest Lectures and Teaching
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It has been a busy Fall, with  a new Hardcore Architecture 'zine, a new Library Excavations publication, teaching that connects with recent developments in Public Collectors' practice, class visits, lectures and workshops, and of course, some trips to Joong Boo Market's Snack Corner with recent residents.

— Marc Fischer / Public Collectors

New publication:
Hardcore Architecture: 47 Years of Living / 1988 Playlist

A surprise quickie Hardcore Architecture publication reflecting on my first zine from way back in 1988. Despite being only a folded card-stock sheet, this has about 2500 words worth of new writing. From the back cover:

I published my first zine in April 1988. I was 17 years old.

I was a junior in high school, living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My zine was called Primary Concern and the first issue was ambitious: 26 double-sided, photocopied 8 1/2 X 11 inch pages with five band interviews, record, concert and zine reviews, opinion pieces, and a couple articles. I printed at least 150 copies. The copying was done on weekends at the downtown office where my dad worked. He let me use their machine and I went through a ton of paper and toner. I kept publishing after I moved to Pittsburgh for college in 1989 but by my junior year I was too busy with school and having a girlfriend to continue. I started publishing again as part of my art practice in 1997 and I’ve been going non-stop since.

Today is November 2nd and it’s my 47th birthday. Tonight I’m going to a punk show in Chicago, where I live, and the show is having One Page Zine Day. This idea is new to me. The invitation to make a one page zine to exchange with others is excellent. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the creativity of attendees who may not be musicians, but don’t just want to be spectators either. One double-sided page is an unusual format for a zine but in the 1980s, Mike Bromberg, who published the chaotic handwritten punk zine Bullshit Monthly from New York City, made at least one issue that was nothing more than a single 11 X 17 inch sheet. It was filled with energy and information and I hope this attempt feels as solid.

Inside this sheet, I reprinted a scan of the playlist that appeared in issue #1 of Primary Concern. This is what I was rocking out to in 1988. All of the commentary that follows was written between October 31st and November 2nd, 2017. The printing was done on a RISOGRAPH duplicator.

Hardcore Architecture explores the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of underground American hardcore bands in the 1980s. This booklet is intended as a supplement to the Hardcore Architecture website.

Buy copies of the new booklet for $3.00 here. Limited copies of the complete Hardcore Architecture Archive remain. It now includes this publication. You can get that for $35.00 here.

New publication: Library Excavations #7: VHS R.I.P.

Library Excavations #7 mourns and explores VHS tapes in the public library lending collection. In addition to text and photos from the collection and the discard piles, this booklet also contains reflections on the history of VHS at Chicago's Harold Washington Library Center by librarian Bob Sloane, and thoughts on the state of VHS relative to videos by artists from Abina Manning, the Director of Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From the back cover:

If you still own a videocassette player and wish to borrow a Video Home System tape from the library, I would jump on that opportunity at your earliest convenience. VHS tapes are quickly vanishing from public library lending collections. This is certainly true at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center, where they’ve been appearing in the Secondhand Prose discard nook for some time.

Recently I began photographing these tapes on their way out of the library. I’ve also started taking pictures of what remains, while it’s still circulating. An on-line review of all of the city’s branches shows a total of about 3,600 tapes in circulation or available for library use. Other tapes have yet to be cataloged. By comparison, there are over 24,000 cataloged DVDs in Chicago Public Library collections.

Many obscure educational titles from the 1990s were among the discards. There have been VHS tapes focusing on consumer awareness of scams, art and music instructional tapes, anti-drug films, job training tapes, author profiles, legal primers, films about workplace problems, and other items that seem unlikely to migrate over to the dominant DVD or web-streaming formats. Unless some dedicated archivists are willing to rip these tapes to digital and upload them onto one of the web-based streaming sites, with or without permission, a lot of this material will likely vanish. Consider this booklet a paper memorial to VHS in the public lending domain.

Copies are available from Half Letter Press for $6.00.

Available as a set: Library Excavations #1-7

Be a Library Excavations completist! Get the first seven issues and avoid having nagging holes in your archives. Issue #1 is no longer available individually. Sets are available from Half Letter Press for $40.00.

Library Excavations on Instagram

If you've ever wanted to haunt public libraries with me (particularly Harold Washington Library in Chicago) I've been steadily adding new photos to the Library Excavations page on Instagram. Visit or follow: @libraryexcavations

Alternative Archives, Guest Lectures, Teaching and a
Library-Related Resource List

Last October 5th, I had the pleasure of presenting my work about Malachi Ritscher at the Alternative Histories, Alternative Archives conference organized by Video Data Bank and held at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Chicago. If you still haven't read my essay on the important work of Malachi Ritscher, you can find that here.
In Chicago, Harold Washington Library (my new home, in case you haven't noticed) is just blocks away from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which has made it easy to bring two classes there for workshops. For one Freshman Research studio class, students found all sorts of books pertaining to their interests. An Art Education class (shown above) dug in even deeper and learned how to use the library's Microfilm readers to research old articles. The group is developing lesson plans related to Chicago's Jon Burge Torture Reparations Ordinance, passed in response to the city's history of torture committed by police. In a class of 18 students, only one had ever used Microfilm before.

I have also been teaching a five-week Applied Material Practices workshop with grad students at Columbia College Chicago. The public library is our classroom and we have been using the collection at Harold Washington Library as a catalyst for new creative works in a variety of mediums. We are only in week two, but it has already been great to see the students exploring the tactile wonders of the library, unearthing film and print treasures that will inform their art.

In preparation for my grad seminar, I pulled together a resource list of library-related art projects. A ton of friends and colleagues contributed ideas. There could always be more, and the formatting isn't particularly sexy, but it's a start. If there are other things I should know about, please send links my way! You can download this list here.

The public library is a powerful civic institution. With each visit I spot new moments where library staff are using their positions to supply handouts informing citizens of their legal rights and other critical information for these disturbing times. If you haven't visited the branches in your town recently, take a closer look and dig in. I am constantly surprised by what I find.

The Public Collectors Joong Boo Residency Program

I launched the Public Collectors Joong Boo Residency Program in August 2016. The residency consists of me buying Korean lunch for the resident at Joong Boo Market on 3333 N. Kimball Avenue in Chicago. I also take a photo and write a little report. Now in its second year, I continue hosting residents at the same rate of up to two per month. Recent Residents since the last Newsletter have been: Grace Ambrose (above), Dan S. Wang, Jordan Knecht, Cornelia Lein, Antoine Lefebvre, Zeke Williams, Todd Lerew, and Alison Kuo.

The Joong Boo Residency is open to creative individuals that like Korean food and are interested in sharing lunch with me. There is no cost to be a resident. A typical Joong Boo Residency lasts about an hour. Residencies can be expanded to include additional experiences and conversation time. Shopping at Joong Boo Market (at the resident’s expense) after the completion of your Joong Boo Residency is highly encouraged.

To apply for a Joong Boo Residency, simply contact me, tell me about what you do (links to any websites would be great) and let me know the date and time that you would prefer. Note that residencies are intended for individuals and, under normal circumstances, Chicago residents are not eligible for Joong Boo Residencies. There are still two openings in December so if you are going to be in Chicago, get in touch! You can read more about this project and all of the past residents here.

Thank you for scrolling through this update and for supporting this work. 2017 has been a brutal year, made somewhat more bearable by spending more time with many of the people on this mailing list. Thank you for being part of what I do and I hope to see more of you soon, in the streets or in the stacks.
— Marc / Public Collectors

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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