On Publishing

Building Fictions

Tique asks the same set of questions to an international art book publisher about its motivation, practice and role today.
This week: Building Fictions (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

Publisher Building Fictions
Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Website https://www.buildingfictions.com

What motivated you to start publishing?

I come from a graphic design background and since studying at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam I have developed a certain affinity for book making, probably by proxy considering that quite a few of the teachers around there were rather inspiring book designers (like Linda van Deursen, Sam de Groot, amongst many others). Making books has always been a part of my personal creative output, originally in the form of self-publishing. I enjoy collecting books, attending book fairs since a long time. Though very individual in essence, the experience of books feels like a collective one when seen through this lens. This idea of slowly engaging and creating a small community of collaborators, friends, motivated me a lot to start publishing. The fact that I enjoyed exploring material and editorial questions in the design process was also comforting me in this choice.

How do you define and develop your artistic program?

I think the editorial line is developing quite organically, rather than being fully dictated by a strict agenda. Since the first publication, the ambitions were revolving around exploring forms of storytelling and narration in the context of disciplines that could oscillate between art, design, architecture. As mentioned earlier the sense of community is quite essential to BF, so a lot of the collaborators I have worked with so far are people I got to know over time, through their respective practice, but whom I also often got to know as friends. There are multiple ways for a publication to appear in the catalogue of BF. Some of these collaborations I initiate, others are opportunities that come along the way and seem in line with the intentions behind the publishing imprint.

What is your role in the creation of a publication?

My role constantly varies from project to project, and I put on a few different hats depending on the stage of creation of the book. Sometimes my role starts in forming the initial idea, reaching out to potential collaborators, moving on to figuring out how to secure funding for the production of a project, continuing with the design process, then overseeing production and lastly carrying and supporting the books by making them available through the distribution channels I have available. Within the design process, I often play a role of editor in order to sequence things a certain way, decide to focus on this rather than that content or aspect of a specific practice. For certain books I also become the author or co-author of the project. I like to try myself at things I am not necessarily fully trained for or experienced with. I guess this makes BF’s endeavour appear a little raw, bold and curious at times, but this in depth involvement in each of the project is what keeps me interested in developing this publishing practice.

What do you look for in a project?

I often look for things that wouldn’t allow a book to be defined in one line or in a singular way. I think trust between the collaborators involved is essential, so we can reach projects that go beyond initial ideas or set conventions so that we can always find a challenge both during the making process and in the final outcome. I am most often looking for the right balance between a book that will appear rather opaque, curious, intriguing at first and one that still touches a viewer or reader on a rather direct level while they are invested in the experience.

Do you have any advice to artists planning to make a publication?

To stay experimental in the processes of translation of their work into the printed form.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge as a publisher?

To find the right channels of distribution and self-sustaining financial models.

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