The Infinite Library

On bootlegging, reissuing, upcycling

On bootlegging
On reissuing
On upcycling

On bootlegging.

The birth of the printing industry already carries in itself that beautiful paradox that also can be found in the current practiceof “bootlegging”—that electrifying tension between emancipation and exploitation.

After all, what is graphic design but the practice of pushing materialized information from one sphere to another, forever crossing the porous borders between art and industry, between poetry and pornography, between pop and politics?

Graphic design is a practice that was born in the vague borderlands between disparate disciplines, so trespassing feels natural to us. Graphic designers are bootleggers, forgers, smugglers—and because of that, graphic design will always be regarded as a slightly clandestine discipline, as a lumpen-activity, as a practice without any real morals (other than the proverbial “honor among thieves”).

— Experimental Jetset

On reissuing.

A lot has been said already, and if we all keep trying to repeat and improve ourselves in a new way, some of the nicest things might get lost in the resulting pile.

— from Tourette’s ( A magazine by Will Holder & Stuart Bailey)

On upcycling.

Upcycle this Book (Gavin Wade, designed by James Langdon)

Upcycle this book. Rewrite it as a manifesto. 
Steal and take and copy and change this book. Upcycle these twenty-six texts just as I have upcycled so many other texts and responded to many sets of existing conditions. Or unlike I have.

Read this if you are an artist, an artist-curator, a curator, a revolutionary, a designer, an architect, an art-lover, an art-hater, a Frank Ocean fan, a typographer, a teacher, a constructivist or a comprehensivist.

Steal this book. Copy this book. Take this book. Change this book.
- Gavin Wade

Participants: Luka Verelst, Brian Van Lijf, Aline van Hooijdonk, Eva Dumoulin, Eva Bavre, Beau Deneef, Charlotte Fraeye, Arno Huygens, Teodora Oita, Zoe Pecqueux, Jordy Philips, Niko De Clerck, Noemi Plateau, Ayla Vermeulen, Hanna Tsvirbut, Margot De Grave Loyson, Oonah Duchateau, Judith Eckhardt, Arne Nuyts, Naomi Sacoor, Janne Holvoet, Charlotte Decoster, Victor Geldhof, Naomi Greenstein, Stacy Suy, Stef Van Oevelen, Amelie Verleene, Lene Verschaeren, Elisa Wij, Eva De Bodt, Sylvie De Brauwer, Alyne Minnen


Dirk Deblauwe —
Ronny Duquenne —

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Presentatie Pieterjan Ginckels

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  • Batia Suter
  • Bart de Baets & Sandra Kassenaar: Success and Uncertainty

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Over time, the term bootlegging has evolved beyond illegal copyright infringement and moonshine to describe, in essence, a creative act. Debates about homage, appropriation, and theft - which previously felt comfortable in the academic context of the art world - are being reimagined in the worlds of corporate branding, social media, and the creative industry as a whole.

Bootlegging has become fetishized within creative fields as an aesthetic in and of itself, influencing everything from underground record labels to DIY T-shirts, publishing ideologies to acts of high fashion detournement. For many designers, the term seems to resonate with our impulse to exhume the past, our ongoing quest for production and transmission of meaning, and a desire to both participate in and critique the broader industries that commodify the artistic act. It also begs a variety of questions regarding two ideas that are both core to a museum’s mission: history and context. How might the idea of bootlegging relate to a cultural institution’s brand and design practice? Is it possible to bootleg ourselves as a means of archiving our legacy while contextualizing it in the present? Can strategies be developed in which organizations leverage their past in generative and unruly ways to better understand who they are? What happens when a visual identity is thrust into uncomfortable and potentially illicit scenarios?

We found our internal conversations touching on everything from copyright, politics, and race to maker culture, fandom, and memes.


Presentatie Projectatelier.