Using Senses, Software, and Archives in the Twenty-First Century
336 pp., 6 x 9 in, 52 b&w illus.
- Published: January 16, 2024
- Publisher: The MIT Press
How to level up to the next transformative phase of publishing—with a critical methodology that transcends the dichotomy of paper and digital media production.
Publishing is experiencing one of the most transformative phases in its history. In Tactical Publishing, a sequel to Post-Digital Print, Alessandro Ludovico explores the forces driving this historical phase, highlighting the tremendous opportunities it presents. Our task, he believes, is to develop an alternative publishing system that transcends the dichotomy between paper and digital media. He focuses first on the two activities on which publishing is premised—reading and writing (with an emphasis on writing machines and post-truth in the latter)—and then deconstructs the concept, proposing alternative strategies inspired by recent practices and unconventional uses of technology.
Ludovico shows how the radical and strategic use of print in the past can serve as the basis for our transition to the next phase of publishing. He argues that the new ecology of publishing should be based on three main elements: the stimulation of our senses, the role of software in forming the publishing infrastructure, and the importance of archives. During this transition from the current post-digital phase to the next phase, independent publishers and artists, as well as readers and machines, will enable new structures and actions that realize the potential of publishing and the preservation of content, thereby enriching social practices. The author also considers the crucial social role played by new forms of libraries, as artists and publishers shape the coming publishing world in its various manifestations. Combining analytical accounts of tactical strategies with examples from artworks and experimental practices, the book concludes with a manifesto for publishing in the twenty-first century and an appendix with a selection of one hundred publications representing the “periodic table” of future publishing.
“Tactical Publishing succeeds not only in accommodating the interconnecting continuities and disruptions of old and new publishing platforms, it also does so within a conceptual matrix of genuine explanatory power. This book will be an invigorating point of reference for many years to come.”
David Garcia, Professor of Digital Arts & Media Activism and Director of Experimental Media Research Centre (EMERGE), Bournemouth University
“Guiding us from tactile to tactical, from smellable volumes to the seemingly infinite scroll of texts on the internet, Tactical Publishing takes the reader on a wild trip through the experimental fringes of contemporary publishing, finding new roles and missions for books, publishers, and libraries in the media ecology of the present and into future.”
Scott Rettberg, Director of the Center for Digital Narrative and Professor of Digital Culture, University of Bergen
“A much-awaited sequel to Post-Digital Print, Ludovico offers nothing less than a stunning manual to what publishing and libraries are in computational culture. The book is an entire critical vocabulary of the computational media landscape.”
Jussi Parikka, Professor in Digital Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus University
The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding and support from MIT Press Direct to Open