The Artic Art Book Fair brings together a diverse group of materials (artist books and small scale publishers) that both celebrate productions from the north and also show how printed matter connects with larger social movements. We gave tried to highlight works and voices that have been left out of the canon- publishing, photography, literary works, etc. The north has historically been considered a periphery- and if it has been included at all- it is largely by outsiders (tourists, anthropologists, ethnographers) and is often mis-represented. We see the bookfair as one little part of a larger decolonial process, which aims to highlight an area and perspectives that have, in one or another, been under-represented. Below you will find a small selection of works that will be on view during the bookfair.
Monarch Press was founded by Henrik Sørlid in 2012 as a DIY distro for anarchist and artist zines. The name derives from the suitcase which was the first premises of the outlet. Since 2016 Monarch has been hosted by Mondo Books, and continues to produce anarchist and esoteric publications out of Tromso, Norway.
Tundra Kids, by Ikuru Kuwajima, is a beautiful accordian book that documents Nenets school children residing in the suburbs of Vorkuta. The carefully constructed photographs show the children as active and enthusiastic participants in his project; the classroom has become a photo studio, capturing many of the childrens objects and traditional forms of ornamental drawings. Kuwajima communicates to us the magic and the energy of this distant children’s world; at the same time, he allows us to sense the gradual disappearance of the old ways, set against the backdrop of contemporary Russia.
After growing up in Japan and studying in journalism in the University of Missouri, Columbia, Ikuru Kuwajima has been living and photographing in various post-Soviet states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia including Kazakhstan and Ukraine in the past 8 years. He now lives in Moscow, Russia, where he continues to explore historical, social and identity issues of post-Soviet space through photography, video, books and installations. Other books by him that we will be showing as part of AABF are I, Oblomov (pictured above) and Volga after Volga
Kimberly Edgar is a comic artist living on Tr'ondek Hwech'in land in so-called Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. Kim’s work reflects on their experiences of both the medical system and the ennui that comes with being sick with no end, often comparing human bodies with the land-as-body. Kim holds a Broken Pencil Zine Award for best comic (2019), and is the recipient of grants from Cue (2018), Canada Council (2019), and from On Yukon Time (2020). They also have pieces in two permanent art collections in Canada, and are currently working on a graphic novel.
Disko Bay is an independent photobook publisher that focuses on photography and are dedicated to exploring the possibilities of photography on paper. Disko Bay works closely together with photo-graphers, designers and print makers to curate and craft unique books in very limited print runs. Their aim is to promote Danish photographers on the international scene of photography and in the world of photobooks. Disko Bay was founded in 2018 by Stinus Duch.
Amongst many books, they´ve also published Inuuteq Storch´s book Flesh- a both fun and heart-throbbing piece about trying to be in two places at once. One with the body, another with the mind. Young photographer Inuuteq Storch based this series on a formative time of his life, when he lived in New York. Through 72 full-colour pictures, captured with his little sister's pink plastic analogue camera, the reader is taken on a journey of lurking fortune tellers, mysterious cats and freaky red bar toilets. In each picture lies a fascination with the city's façade, but behind it there’s a longing for the nature that Storch has grown up in. Inuuteq Storch (b. 1989) grew up in Greenland in the 1990s. His photographic work involves studies of his own nationality and cultural heritage. Innuteq will be present in Tromsø for the month of November as part of the Nordic-Baltic Art Residency program and one of our keynotes at the AABF.
The Nomadic Library
The Nomadic Library is a research and re-printing project that investigates counter-cultural publications from the circumpolar North, particularly Northern Norway, Sapmi and Russia. The project aims to shed light on the importance of printed matter and its role in political acts of disobedience, resistance and social movements. The project was started in 2016 by Joar Nango and Tanya Busse, both based in Tromsø, Norway.
So far they´ve highlighted three libraries, with more to come: Charta 79 (published during the Alta uprising, initiated by the sami action group, artists and activists, transindigenous perspectives and canadian contributions. 1979-1981, 10 newspapers). Vandbæreren (countercultural magazine with heavy focus on alternative ways of living, eco-feminism, self-sufficiency, printed outside of Tromsø. 1974-1978, 15 volumes) and Transponans Journals, published by Transfurists as Samizdat dissident publications. All re-prints are risograph printed (by Mondo Press) and each includes an interview with the original founders of the publication/ movement to give more weight, and context, to the conditions they were created in. The library will be on view at the AABF.