Volumes Archive

archive and mediation project
April-December 2020
School of Commons


with Anne-Laure Franchette, Gabriel Gee, Adriana Domínguez, Camille Regli, Miwa Negoro, Giovanna Bragaglia
The VOLUMES Archive is a LEARN within the School of Commons that aims to research news forms to organize and understand the paradigm of the archive. Archives are normally understood as a coherent form of organization, having as objectives to unify, identify, and classify the elements within a determined body of documents, objects, etc. The VOLUMES Archive is on the contrary a diverse collection of material that has been mostly donated through the International Open Call Exhibition within the VOLUMES book fair since 2013. Therefore, it presents a challenge to the classical idea of archival categorization because there hasn’t been any systematic process of selection and articulation – besides the different sections that have been donated as such. Probably, the one common aspect within the collection is the medium: it consists of printed material, but because they are embedded in the DIY-facet of art publishing, the variety of their aesthetics, goals, themes etc, reinforces the idea of a distinctive collection that lies beyond the “rules” of archiving. Taking this contradiction as a starting point, we would like to research new forms of categorization and activation that take differences, associations, interstices and lacunas as categories to re-think the paradigm of the archive and permit us to develop new appropriate tools for the VOLUMES Archive.
VOLUMES is a non-profit organisation and collective which was created in Zürich in 2013 to support the local and international DIY-facet of art publishing and introduce it to a larger audience in Switzerland. Operating in various locations, the organisation’s main event is an eponymous book fair which takes place annually in Zürich at the end of November. The fair showcases the production of local and international independent publishers as well as self-editing artists who use small means of production. The School of Commons (SOC) is a community-based initiative dedicated to the study and development of decentered knowledge, located at the Zurich University of the Arts. Promoting a broad, integrative understanding of knowledge, we focus on matters of organization surrounding the production and mediation of knowledge. Founded in 2017 as a student-run space for self-organized education, our aim is to build an open environment that enables participants to collaboratively innovate, scrutinize, and discuss knowledge practices under their own direction.
VOLUMES 2019 was kind of a turning point, I had the possibility to meet such incredible people with whom I started to exchange so many ideas. One of them was Anne-Laure Franchette, her passion and energy for the independent publishing scene are simply contagious. And how could I refuse to work with a LOT of books and with Adri, Gabriel, Paloma, Miwa, Geovanna and Camille! No way! Thanks to the Volumes Archive project, I got to know the beautiful people of the School of Commons as well, so much positive energy and caring, just incredible!

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