Side by Side
Fucking Good Art

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Yes, we write. Since we started Fucking Good Art, writing has become part of our art practice. In the first years we developed our skills writing short art critiques. We were inspired by the fierce and funny short art critiques Michael Bulka wrote for his FGA Chicago. The small booklet, What Happened to Art Criticism, by James Elkins served as our reference. It was learning by doing, parallel to our ‘normal’ art practice. We decided to write in a non-academic way, different from what we read in art magazines and theoretical publications. We were artists that also took the role of artists-as-art critics, artists-as-writers, or even artists-as-journalist, maybe. Not so much later, Fucking Good Art became a travelling magazine and our writing became our material. It took the form of conversation pieces and fictional dialogues. At this point we are artists-as researchers, and we publish the things we find urgent to publish. We are interested in oral history, anthropology, investigating and documenting, counter and sub cultures, self-organization and anarchism. The bubble, the existing despicable art system of winners and losers, will eventually burst. And we hope that ultimately we will find ways for a more sustainable art world.

The text we are contributing is called Side by Side, and started in February 2013, during our three month residency at the Embassy of Foreign Artists in Geneva. The reason for starting an online parallel diary or blog post was the wish to publish in a more direct way about our ongoing research on Art and Anarchism. To open up the editorial studio, so to say. We felt that this research would take a while to lead to a new issue of Fucking Good Art. We also wanted to experiment with juxtaposing our individual perspectives more prominently than we did before. Side by Side means there is a Nienke side and a Rob side to the story. When we found this title fit for our project, we had to smile and think of the book sculpture Gilbert & George published in 1971. In April 2015 we did a second version of Side by Side during our one month residency in the small watchmakers city of Le Locle in the Swiss Jura, known as one of the birthplaces of Anarchism and the anti-authoritarian labour movement. Bakunin and Kropotkin came here, and historical journals like Bulletin de la Fédération jurassienne issued by James Guillame, and Le Révolté, founded by Kropotkin, were made here. We narrowed our research down to focus on the Bulletin as a case study, a material history of a journal and its whereabouts, a story that we can easily relate to from our experiences as small independent publishers.

This time we decided to diffuse Side by Side as an analogue blog post, through our existing social network. In our network we contacted friends, curators and artists who run art spaces, who we thought would be interested to be partners in our project. Fifteen agreed to be recipients—and in a way distributors—including Cabinet du livre d’artiste (Rennes), CAN (Neuchatel), Cité des Arts (Paris), Die Diele (Zurich), EOFA (Geneva), Jubilee Warehouse (Penryn, Cornwall), Kunst Werke (Berlin, Germany), MOTTO (Berlin), Musée des beaux-arts (Le Locle), Nomas Foundation (Rome), OOR (Zurich), Printroom (Rotterdam), Studio’s Plantage Doklaan (Amsterdam), Smooth Space (Buckfastleigh), and Soundart Radio (Dartington). We invented a nice and easy format for how the paper blog could be printed out and displayed, but each of the hosts (partners) had the freedom to present it in their space as they saw fit. Almost every day we emailed a short text, and their commitment was to print it out and stick it up on the wall.

Now with the invitation by the editors of the online magazine We Write, Right?, we made edits and adapted our entries to make the content more condensed. In the near future we will publish a paper version.
Enjoy reading!

Continue reading Side by Side and download COMPLETE TEXT here