This seminar analyses the role of Ulises Carrión (Mexico, 1941 - Holland, 1989) in conceiving new strategies to disseminate and distribute art from the mid-seventies, and the emphasis he placed on reinventing the uses, forms and appearances of the book as a device for action. It also looks to acknowledge and highlight Carrión’s capacity for conceiving publishing as a relational practice and understanding the archive as a set of performance protocols from which to reorder, or at least shake up, the art system.
Carrión’s awareness of and interest in new art forms and innovative trends propelled him to actively participate in the majority of the artistic disciplines of his time. His diverse works mix and combine, and become distanced from one another to form an indissoluble ensemble reflected in the entirety of his works as a writer, poet, essayist, artists’ book author, creator of videos and films, founder of the bookshop-gallery Other Books and So, editor, organiser of exhibitions and diverse projects, collector, much to his regret, and a pioneer in various works in the international Mail Art community, together with artists such as Clemente Padín and Felipe Ehrenberg, during his most creative period. Therefore, his artistic figure and approaches are in force in current and pressing debates on the production, circulation and reception of knowledge or issues related to archive.
Halfway through the 1970s, Carrión established himself Amsterdam, founding in 1975 Other Books and So, which he turned into an archive in 1979; an experimental and experiential centre articulated around a concept of the archive as an acting, living and relational element. With this initiative he transformed the constitutive identity of the archive - accumulation, organisation, systemisation and homogenisation - into a series of strategies for approaching artistic activity as a life exercise. Another of his concerns was “breaking free” from literature and putting forward liberated writing linked to the critique of the meaning of avant-garde movements throughout history, so as to appropriate the book and publishing as artistic materials. “Dear reader. Don’t read”, one of his most widely recognised aphorisms and the title of the exhibition held alongside this seminar, explores his perpetual challenges, the will to construct and deconstruct.