The world of self publishing has long been a competitive place, and this week it looks set to get even more so. Well, that’s what Lithuanian Visual Communicator, Karolis Kosas, is hoping for with his virtual zine generator, Α–Π.
Could computers really replace the need for human authors? Using keywords and Google’s long-limbed ‘spiders’ to search for relevant (and often not so relevant) images, Kosas’ generator pulls together an online mini magazine on any subject you choose. Your zine is then archived online and a physical copy can be bought for just $3. A novelty piece, a comment on the rise of fan fiction, or the future of publishing? We met with Kosas to ask him just that.
Blub: Kosas, what’s this all about then?
Kosas: Anonymous-Press (Α–Π) began with my interest in autonomous systems. My intention was to observe whether it would be possible to remove the designer from the design process and what value that could create, if any.
Blurb: What compelled you to do this study?
Kosas: For a long time, I’ve been concerned that the web search query has become a ubiquitous solution to finding information. Α–Π combines people’s interests with a corresponding, easily digestible slice of web data. I think it could even serve as a source of anthropological data. On the other hand, it’s an illustration of how we perceive culture today: while traditional DIY fanzines are very much about author’s passionate relationship to the subject, Α–Π limits the subjectivity to just 40 characters. The user makes a simple information request and is provided with an end result in a matter of seconds. I am excited to observe, if individuality can emerge in such limiting circumstances.
Blurb: Why are you interested in self publishing?
Kosas: My initial interest focused on the differences between digital and analogue content. While digital media has the capacity to store pretty much anything, content that gets translated into a physical form has to meet certain criteria, e.g. quality or economic value. As such, the internet has become a weird greenhouse, where the most bizarre and absurd cultural phenomena are thriving. The content in printed media, on the other hand, is more elitist, filtered and, naturally, delayed. I am fascinated to see if it’s possible to develop an effective model of instant transition from digital to print.
Blurb: What else are you working on?
Kosas: I’ve recently collaborated with Julija Goyd, an artist from Berlin. We worked on a series of silk scarves, based on the structure of language, take a look here.
Blurb: What’s next for digital media?
Kosas: I think it’s inevitable that digital media will become a copyright-free environment. Since it is almost impossible to enforce any kind of control, it will change how we see copying, plagiarism, stealing, etc. I can see this shift change already beginning, and I’m very excited about the creative possibilities it introduces.
Blurb: What’s next for you?
Kosas: I am thinking about taking Α–Π one step closer to hyper-realism and code a little trojan software that tracks all the buttons pressed on your keyboard. Perhaps the data could become a good material for the book.
Discover more of Kosas’ work on his website.