Talk ✨ Sming Sming Books at College Book Art Association

December 24, 2019

CBAA 2020 Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana
January 2–4, 2020

Conference location & hotel:
The Ace Hotel
600 Carondelet Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

January 3, 2020, 4:45–6:15 p.m

What Was Knowledge: Artist Books and Interventions

Michele Carlson, Associate Professor of Printmaking, George Washington University

Michele Carlson is an artist, writer, curator and educator in the Washington D.C area who recently joined George Washington University as an Associate Professor in Printmaking. She is one third of the arts collective Related Tactics, who have exhibited projects at SFMOMA, The Berkeley Arts Center, and Southern Exposure.

LJ Roberts, Part-Time Faculty, Parsons School of Design

LJ Roberts is an artist working in installation, textiles, collage, and text. Their work addresses queer and trans politics, material deviance, alternative kinship structures, archives, and narrative. LJ lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches at Parsons School of Design. They are a 2019–2020 Artist-in-Residence at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY.

Vivian Sming, Independent Artist-Publisher

Sming Sming Books is a Bay Area–based publishing studio run by artist Vivian Sming, producing a wide range of artist books, zines, and editions. Sming Sming Books experiments with publishing as a form of art, archive, and exhibition and is committed to promoting critical discourse and advancing cultural equity.

How can artist books provide intersectional and critical approaches to history and systems of power through disseminating interventionist perspectives and alternative narratives? This panel presents four artist books that through a range of formal and conceptual strategies reframe and intervene in oppressive histories and systems of power. These projects ask questions about narratives of history and knowledge production by employing artistic actions such as refiguring found archival material from ‘trusted’ publications such as National Geographic or the New York Times to asking participants to assess their own book collection as an archive of knowledge that may unintentionally reinforce troubling narratives of power.

This panel brings together four artist books: bricks and stone (2016–17), was sparked by rage experienced when mainstream narratives published about the Stonewall Rebellion erased lesbians and transpeople in the years preceding the event's 50th anniversary. SHELF LIFE (2018) is a series of actions that ask one to approach their own books as a collection of knowledge by sorting them in categories such as “add a pink sticker if this book is authored by or if the narrative is focused on a white man.” White Gaze (2018) works with an archive of National Geographic magazines to explore the mechanics of the "white gaze." Finally, Kentrifications: Convergent Truth(s) and Realities (2018), examines what happens to bodies in transit and how they are contextualized culturally, depending upon historically sanctioned, dominant signifiers of race and culture.