It’s that time of year! The NY Art Book Fair will be in full swing, November 5–7, 2010 and IFS, Ltd. will be there on the 3rd floor at booth CC01. The site specific collaboration and publication The Book Trust Prospectus is, in non-equal parts: a local currency, a stock prospectus for The Book Trust, an exploration into the nature of small-scale publishing and its presence at the NY Art Book Fair (Rob Giampietro), a survey of precedented alternative currencies (Benjamin Critton), a platform for hyperbolic re-representations of anonymous fiat money (Rafaël Rozendaal), a foray into corporate branding and rebranding (Metahaven et al.), a proposal for a time-based repurposing of existing banknotes (Nikolaus Hirsch & Zak Kyes), an analysis of the current state of [art] book-publishing and -design (Linda van Deursen et al.), a venue for research into non-essential commodity futures like tulips and Beanie Babies™ (Harry Gassel), a profile of independent art book vendors (Golden Age), and a podium for experimentation with anti-counterfeiting guilloché renderings (Brendan Griffiths & Zak Klauck). It is the story of its own making and financing as well as an evaluation of the context in which it was made and financed.
(left to right: Harry Gassel, Benjamin Critton, Brendan Griffiths, Mylinh Nguyen, Zak Klauck. Portrait by George Prinos.)
The Book Trust was born out of a shared interest in publishing and distribution, and from a desire to investigate the micro-economy of the art book market. As the overall demand for printed matter allegedly shrinks, specific books manage to retain their worth or even appreciate in actual and intangible value. Though the Prospectus seeks to act as a signal of literal trust and investment, it simultaneously attempts to enter a specific economy as a proposed alternative currency. Our observation of previous iterations of the NY Art Book Fair prompted IFS, Ltd. to imagine a publication that serves as both commodity and currency—an object meant to engage in transactions that bypass the traditional cash economy of the Fair. In that sense, the Prospectus hopes to stand as a book unto itself, and as a physical manifestation of the hyper-local economy to which this currency speaks. Both temporal and site-specific in this way, you are invited to invest through one of two means:
1) Your physical presence at the Fair from 5–7 November, 2010 at PS1 MoMA or
2) Your monetary or intellectual contribution to the creation of the publication
Via the Prospectus, we intend to build a Trust, of which your contribution will be a part. Our agenda is the physical construction of a value-appreciating, curated collection of publications; a literal book bank in which you can hold one share. Our holdings, however, are more than publications; they are tangible representations of the abstract value of intellectual and creative capital.
At the close of the trading day, 5PM on 7 November, IFS, Ltd. will assess and catalogue the contents of the Trust with the intention of circulating its holdings in appropriate domestic and international venues, at which point new editions of the Prospectus may be issued in context- specific reenactments of the initial trading period.
In framing the project in a format similar to that of a stock exchange, the performance emphasizes the tenuous and abstract value of the book as a designed object, as a medium for content, as a traded commodity, and as a symbol of participation in the project itself.
The Book Trust, a project by IFS, Ltd. is brought to you by Benjamin Critton, Harry Gassel, Brendan Griffiths, Zak Klauck, and Mylinh Nguyen. Our booth features a custom designed bookcase and various seating by Minneapolis-based design studio ROLU/rosenlof-lucas/ro-lu.
Previews, November 4th; opening bell, November 5th. Online at www.ifs-l.biz.