Courtesy of Badlands Unlimited

E-books published by
Badlands Unlimited

November 7 2012
8:12 AM

In contemporary art theory and practice, the issue of an artwork’s “authenticity” in relation to the processes of reproduction has been strongly informed by Walther Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” that described the shift in the notions of authenticity, aura, and in the role of an artwork’s physical presence. Now, artist Paul Chan has founded Badlands Unlimited, an art e-books publishing house to address the way the significance of this shift is compounded by digitalization. Badlands Unlimited’s e-books capitalize on the versatility of the digital format and tackle our usual reading habits by turning it into a one-of-a-kind experience combining audio, video and analog elements in a single “object.” How to Download a Boyfriend, for example, one of the first ever group shows presented solely in the e-book format, features fifty artists addressing Internet standards through the lens of romance. Chan also recently reissued as a hi-res e-book Made in USA, Bernadette Corporation’s seminal magazine produced between 1999–2000. Also, a digital version of On Democracy by Saddam Hussein – an idealistic and contradic- tory pamphlet that was published by the dictator before he became president of Iraq – premiered this September at New York Art Book Fair. Upcoming releases include AD BOOK by BFFA3AE, another digital exhibition featuring this time over 200 artists. (Natalie Esteve)