Save the date! Join ILSSA members during the holiday of practicing: the annual Festival to Plead for Skills.
Each summer, on the 7th day of the 7th month, ILSSA celebrates its own version of The Festival to Plead for Skills. The festival is derived from the Chinese holiday of Qi Xi and the Japanese festival of Tanabata, in which celebrants wish for the betterment of their own craftsmanship. Instead of wishing, the ILSSA festival is a holiday of practice.
We hereby invite all ILSSA Members to observe this holiday by practicing a skill: using a tool, trying a method, honing a technique. Imagine your fellow Impractical Laborers across the lands, practicing together in observance of the holiday. Document your practice through a photograph and caption to share with your fellow impractical laborers. Further instructions forthcoming!
Time. What is it? How do you save it? How do you spend it? Can you make more of it?
ILSSA It's About Time: A Workbook for the Working Person, asks these questions and 24 more. In return, the questions are visually and verbally explored by 50 participating members of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA), an organization for makers who use obsolete technology in conceptual or experimental ways. The completed workbooks comprise the exhibition, ILSSA It's About Time, which opened on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at Colorado College.
The workbook was written, designed, handset, and letterpress printed by Local 719 Shop NLP (Aaron Cohick, New Lights Press) and the ILSSA Co-Operators (Local 347 Shop FS Bridget Elmer and Local 917 Shop RC Emily Larned) in order to be shared with the 100 current members of the ILSSA Union. ILSSA, or Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts, is a socially engaged art project consisting of a Union and a Research Institute. Founded in 2008 by Elmer and Larned, ILSSA is an ongoing and evolving publishing and social practice platform committed to investigating the value of labor and mining the potential of the obsolete. This workbook is the most recent in a series of ILSSA projects that ask members to reflect upon their process, and to share this reflection with the public. An online component of the exhibition is in the works.
ILSSA members, thank you for your participation in this project! We can't wait to share what you've done. All participating members wil receive a fresh copy of the workbook with our next mailing in June.
Do you experience AUTONOMY? How well are you CHALLENGED? Do you experience BELONGINGNESS? Are you adequately RECOGNIZED? Do you have the OPPORTUNITY to develop NEW SKILLS? Do you experience pressure toward ECONOMIC GROWTH? Are you COMMITTED to your personal GOALS, NEEDS, and VALUES?
In early 2012, the ILSSA Co-Operators posed these questions to the ILSSA Union as the State of the ILSSA Union Survey. The results were published as the State of the ILSSA Union report. In July 2013, all ILSSA members are invited to Asheville, NC to address and/or celebrate our shared joys, issues, and concerns. The convergence will include an open studios walking tour, a members' meeting with targeted roundtables, the opening of three exhibitions (at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design; Asheville BookWorks; and Harvest Records), a film screening curated by Mechanical Eye Microcinema, and a shared observance of the 5th Annual Festival to Plead for Skills at Asheville BookWorks. All events besides the members' meeting are open to the public. Download the complete schedule and join us!
FRIDAY JULY 5, 1:00-5:00 pm
Impractically Asheville Self-Guided Walking Tour
Visit the shops and studios of local Impractical Laborers, including 7 Ton Letterpress, Asheville BookWorks, The DryGoods Shop, Harvest Records, and Small Terrain, among others. Printed guides will be available at all participating venues. Free and open to the public.
FRIDAY JULY 5, 5:00-7:00 pm
State of the ILSSA Union
Exhibition Opening and Book Release with Artists' Talk at 6 pm
Location: Asheville BookWorks
In our fourth year as Impractical Laborers, we felt it was time to survey the State of the ILSSA Union, as a means for self-assessment and with the intention of better serving each other. To that end, the ILSSA Co-Operators mailed a survey to all members, asking each to assess her or his labor conditions as an art worker. This exhibition features the 42 returned surveys, letterpress printed and answered with loving care, as well as an edited compilation of the results: a collective and contradictory voice recounting the State of the ILSSA Union. Exhibition will be on display from July 5-August 31, 2013. Free and open to the public.
FRIDAY JULY 5, 7:00-9:00 pm
ILSSA Hands & Tools
Location: Harvest Records
This exhibition of ILSSA Hands & Tools will be on display through the month of July. Free and open to the public.
SATURDAY JULY 6, 10:00am-5:00pm
ILSSA Working Group
ILSSA Members' Meeting and Roundtable Discussions
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD)
The first ever ILSSA member meeting! Roundtable Discussions will address themes that emerged from our State of the ILSSA Union survey, including: Union as Model: Organization as Art Project; Art-Craft: Impractical vs. Practical; Obsolete Technology: Intrinsic Qualities & Embedded Values; Belongingness: Community-Building & Social Engagement; and Time: Shortages & Strategies. The Gallery at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design will provide a picturesque project space, with the ILSSA Library, a collective collection of resources, on-hand. Our goal will be to consider the results of our survey and brainstorm ways to better serve each other. Our efforts will be documented and left for visitors to consider in the exhibition space, on display through July 24, 2013. Lunch will be provided and we will celebrate our achievements with a gallery reception at days end, featuring locally brewed refreshments generously provided by CCCD. Current ILSSA members only. Join ILSSA!
SATURDAY JULY 6, 5:00-7:00 pm
ILSSA Working Group
Exhibition Opening and Reception
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD)
For this exhibition, The Center will see its galleries turned into a project space as ILSSA members converge for their first conference. This Working Group will occur on July 6th and the documentation of their meeting as well as the ILSSA Library will be on display through the end of the month. Exhibition will be on display at from July 6-24, 2013. Free and open to the public.
SATURDAY JULY 6, 8:00pm
Heroines of Handmade Cinema
Mechanical Eye Microcinema Film Screening
Location: BeBe Theater
A screening of handmade films brought to you by our fellow Impractical Laborers at Mechanical Eye Microcinema. $5 suggested donation; open to the public.
SUNDAY JULY 7, 10:00am-2:00pm
5th Annual Festival to Plead for Skills
ILSSA Holiday of Practicing
Location: Asheville BookWorks
Each year on the seventh day of the seventh month, ILSSA celebrates its own version of The Festival to Plead for Skills. The festival is derived from the Chinese holiday of Qi Xi and the Japanese festival of Tanabata, in which celebrants wish for the betterment of their own craftsmanship. Instead of wishing, the ILSSA festival is a holiday of PRACTICING. Join us as we observe this holiday by practicing a skill: using a tool, trying a method, honing a technique. We imagine Impractical Laborers spanning the continents, practicing together in observance of the holiday. Join us at Asheville BookWorks or practice wherever you may find yourself on July 7th! Send a photograph and a paragraph documenting your activity to operator(at)impractical-labor.org for inclusion in the 2013 publication. Small donation suggested. Space limited. Pre-registration required, 828-255-8444.
Can't make it to Asheville for the ILSSA Convergence? We'll miss you, but remember that wherever you may find yourself on Sunday July 7, you are invited to participate in the 5th Annual observance of the Festival to Plead for Skills. Every year on July 7, all ILSSA members are encouraged to practice a skill, process, or technique of their choosing. (This practice does not need to result in an object or series of objects, as it did in years 2009-2011.) Members are asked to take a picture of their practice, and to send this photo along with a brief paragraph description to the Co-Operators (operatoratimpractical-labor.org). All submissions will be documented in a forthcoming publication (see above for the 2012 edition), mailed to all ILSSA members as an insallment of the ILSSA Quarterly. Read more about last year's festival; this year, why not join us?
In early 2012, as part of the ILSSA Quarterly, the ILSSA Co-Operators mailed a 8.5x22" letterpress survey (above left) to all ILSSA members, asking each to assess her labor conditions as an art worker. 42 members responded with great insight, clarity, and thought. The resulting report (above right) is an edited compilation of the returned surveys: a collective and contradictory voice recounting the State of the ILSSA Union. After many months of typing, typing, typing and designing in AppleWorks and movable type, we're happy to announce that the long-awaited report is complete, published, and on its way to all ILSSA members as the first ILSSA Quarterly of 2013.
Are you in the NYC area, or attending the 2013 College Art Association (CAA) Conference? ILSSA Co-Operator Emily Larned will be presenting a paper about the project on Friday's Craft after Deskilling? panel. ILSSA members will receive a copy of this paper along with the report.
ILSSA is very pleased to be exhibiting the completed State of the ILSSA Union surveys at Columbia College Chicago as part of the Almost Metal Collective show at the A+D Gallery. The ILSSA Co-Operators will be reading from the Survey results at the opening on January 31, 5-8pm. Join us!
ILSSA is happy to be tabling at Printed Matter's NY Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens NY. Come find us under the courtyard tent in the Schoolyard!
Our 2012 Festival to Plead for Skills is lovingly documented by Elaine Bleakney over at online magazine At Length. Thanks Elaine!
Mark your calendar for the 4th annual Festival to Plead for Skills! This year's Festival will be documented via photography. On Saturday July 7, all ILSSA members are encouraged to practice a skill, process, or technique of their choosing (this practice does not need to result in an object or series of objects). Members are asked to take a picture of their practice, and to send this photo along with a brief caption to the Co-Operators (operatoratimpractical-labor.org). All submissions will be documented in a forthcoming publication, which will be mailed to all ILSSA members this fall.
ILSSA Co-Operators will be practicing publicly at the Bridgeport Arts Festival, binding the Every Day Work envelopes into books. Come say hello!
Every Day Work chronicles one full year (January 1 - December 31, 2011) of Impractical Labor as practiced by a dedicated group of ILSSA members. On every day worked, members saved remnants of their process in a dated envelope. In early January 2012, members sent their envelopes and/or a representative tool to the Hammes Gallery at Saint Mary's College. One envelope is posted on the gallery wall for each worked day. On the gallery floor, the saved remnants are grouped by month, with remnants from each day organized in rows. The exhibition is a visual chronology of every day worked by union members, wherever they may have been. Together with the tools, the show provides a glimpse into the nature of such work.
Upon the show's closing, Saint Mary's College students will be offered the remnants for their own creative reuse. In the next installment of this exhibition, members' envelopes will be chronologically collated and bound into a collection of books. The collection will be displayed and then distributed to all participating members.
Many thanks to ILSSA member Krista Hoefle (Local 574 Shop KH) for the opportunity to install the show, to Saint Mary's College for their support, and most especially to all participating ILSSA members, without whom this exhibition would not have been possible!
The ILSSA Co-Operators spoke happily with Eleanor Whitney of the New York Foundation for the Arts!
ILSSA Co-Operator Local 347 Shop FS will participate in the Printmaking Collaborations for Commmunity panel at the much-anticipated Ladies of Letterpress Conference in Asheville, NC. From the panel description: Printmakers can help community groups share their message while building relationships, practicing teamwork, and creating useful objects. There is as much power and meaning in the process of printmaking as there is in the product. Likewise, there is power in how and with whom you share the product. When these ideas are applied to communities who are trying to build cohesion or work on a particular issue together, both product and process can be valuable tools. If printmakers share their skills, techniques and equipment in accessible ways, many art-making and printmaking processes are group-friendly and can provide a valuable model for how a group can work well together towards a common goal. The panel is scheduled for 2:30pm, location TBD.
Hello Craft! speaks with Bridget about ILSSA, yoga, trucks, and more. Hello, hello!
Mark your calendar for the 3rd annual Festival to Plead for Skills!
Thanks to our generous host, Washington University, ILSSA Co-Operator Local 347 Shop FS will be in town for the Southern Graphics Council, publishing An Obsolete Technology Guide for the Citizens of St. Louis in collaboration with (ILSSA members!) All Along Press. Stop on by, say hello, and pick up your own copy!
ILSSA will be in full effect at the CBAA Conference at Indiana University. ILSSA Co-Operator Local 347 Shop FS will present about book arts/publishing as social practice, citing Temporary Services, ILSSA, and ILSSA member Book Bombs as examples. Happily, Co-Operator Local 917 Shop RC will be speaking on the same panel, presenting about the social distribution networks of 90s zine culture.
In preparation for an ILSSA exhibition at St. Mary's College, Notre Dame IN, January 2012: on every day of 2011 in which their labor is impractical, all ILSSA members are invited to save a remnant of their process. Remnants are to be placed in identified, dated envelopes, and stored in chronological order. In early January 2012, members will ship their boxes to the gallery. The culminating exhibition will display all remnants grouped together by day, uniting the labor efforts of impractical laborers wherever they may be, whatever they may be doing. New members are invited to begin saving their process at any time they join the Union during the year. After the exhibition, remnants will be used by St. Mary's sculpture students in a new project, and envelopes will be collated, bound into books, and shipped back to each participating member. Here's to the many days of work ahead in 2011!
ILSSA will be tabling at The Big Crafty this coming Sunday. Represented will be the ILSSA Research Institute as well as work by various contributing ILSSA members. Come out, say hello, & pick-up some handmade action for your loved ones!
The ILLSA Co-Operators will discuss technology & collaboration with our friends SCAP and Preacher's Biscuit Books on a panel entitled Unevenly distributed: high, low, and mixed technologies in three artists organizations. This is all happenin at the Mid-American Print Council (MAPC) New World/Old World Conference at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Hope to see you there!
The second annual Festival to Plead for Skills will transpire per usual on the seventh day of the seventh month of this year. Please join us in practice!
The ILSSA Co-Operators will talk about ILSSA *live* accompanied by our friends the overheard projector & a portable anachronistic sound system. 6 pm at Apex Art, 291 Church Street, NYC. Hope to see you there! If you miss it, you'll be able to listen to the podcast via Bad at Sports, who kindly organized this event.
Yes, it is indeed overdue, but Members and Boosters may expect to find the first 2010 Quarterly in their mailbox, sometime between March and May. Yes, that is a large window, but due the amount of production of this Quarterly we must stagger the mailing. Thanks for your patience!
ILSSA Co-Operator Local 917 Shop RC will be presenting about ILSSA at the 2010 College Art Association Conference in Chicago. The panel is entitled Hypo-technology: Artists Remix the Anachronistic and the Obsolete with the Present; fellow presenters include Walter Kitundu, Robrecht Vanderbeeken, Robert Mertens, and Victoria Bradbury. You can find us from 2:30-5 pm on Thursday February 11th, at the cryptically named Gold Coast, Bronze Level, West Tower of the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Recent work of ILSSA Co-Operator Local 347 Shop FS, aka our dear Bridget Elmer, is the subject of an exhibition at Florida State University's Strozier Library Special Collections. The show includes recent books, ILSSA publications, as well as student work from her Book Structures course at FSU. Check it out if you're in town!
|Art Work, the new publication from Temporary Services.|
ILSSA's essay Impractical Laborers: Unite! is published in the recent Temporary Services *free* newspaper Art Work. To quote the site, "Art Work is a newspaper that consists of writings and images from artists, activists, writers, critics, and others on the topic of working within depressed economies and how that impacts artistic process, compensation and artistic property. The newspaper is distributed for free at sites and from people throughout the United States and Puerto Rico." You may download a PDF of the paper from the Art Work site, or order a paper copy from the fine retail establishment Half Letter Press for the cost of postage.
|The trusty Vandy at rest.|
ILSSA Co-Operator Local 917 Shop RC will be printing letterpress holiday cards on-demand for two days only. That's right, while-you-wait letterpress printing! December 5 & 6, from 10am-5pm, as part of the city-wide Artful Gifts Trail. Many other studios in the former American Fabrics factory will be open: AmFab Art & Design Center, 1069 Connecticut Ave, Bridgeport CT.
|A sneak peak at the results of our members' skill practicing.|
The ILSSA Operators are hard at work producing the boxed sets to house the spoils of the first annual Festival to Plead for Skills. The Festival was a huge success; some mad skills are in evidence. Participating Impractical Laborers, expect your package to arrive before the end of 2009.
|16 July Update: See images of ILSSA Members observing the Festival!|
This summer, on the 7th day of the 7th month, ILSSA will celebrate its own version of The Festival to Plead for Skills. The festival is derived from the Chinese holiday of Qi Xi and the Japanese festival of Tanabata, in which celebrants wish for the betterment of their own craftsmanship. Instead of wishing, the ILSSA festival will be a holiday of practicing.
We hereby invite all ILSSA Members to observe this holiday by making 55 small objects as iterations of their practice. The 55 objects should be no larger than 2 inches in any dimension, and should be the natural result of practicing a skill: using a tool, trying a method, honing a technique. Conceive of this project as something you can complete entirely on July 7th. We imagine Impractical Laborers across the land, practicing together in observance of the holiday.
After the Festival, we ask that you mail your resulting 55 objects to ILSSA. We will then collate the objects into 55 custom-boxed sets which will house one object from each participant. Each participating ILSSA Member will receive a set as a commemorative archive of the holiday and a physical manifestation of our collective action.
|Local 347 Shop FS workin' the ILSSA Table.|
ILSSA will be tabling at the Hybrid Book Conference in Philadelphia. See you there!
ILSSA Co-Operator Local 917 Shop RC speaks about ILSSA, DIY self-publishing, and the Letterpress Renaissance at the Center for Book Arts. She'll be in most excellent company: also on the panel is Vandercook-expert Paul Moxon and The (mighty) Arm's Daniel Morris, the latter of whom has since joined us as an ILSSA member!
ILSSA Co-Operator Local 347 Shop FS will be presenting at the Southeastern Women's Studies Assoication (SEWSA) 2009 Conference, Women & Environments, at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. The panel is entitled Women in the Book Arts: Community Building, the Environment, and an Attempt To Transcend and the five panelists will address their work as it relates to feminism, capitalism, the body, and the environment.