ə/uh/-books is an artist-run project and programme of exhibitions, artists’ talks and publications led by paula roush. Founded in 2016, it aims to provide a research framework for photographic art as publishing practice. Throughout the history of the project there has been a questioning of how artists, photographers and publishers can experiment with and develop critically reflexive forms of exhibition practice for photobookworks.
Projects have taken on various formats ranging from installations and presentations in institutions, and the production of editions through commissions and collaborative workshop formats. This work has been shown nationally and internationally at All Inked up Kentʼs International Artist Book & Print Event UCA Canterbury & The Brewery Tap Folkestone, KHiO Publishing Studio Oslo National Art Academy, PRINTed #4 Singular publications EINA Centre Universitari de Disseny i Art, UAB Autonomous University of Barcelona and Arts Llibre Worshop ESDA LLotja Escola d’Arts i Oficis de Barcelona, Spain.
Project’s archive: http://uh-books.tumblr.com/
ə-books #10 May 15-18, 2018 Unveil’d Photobook #01
ə-books #9 Mar 9th- Mar 23th 2018 Jens Masmann L ND N
ə-books #8 Tuesday 25 April – Friday 26 May 2017 Tadej Pogačar + Dejan Habicht: HU? Pre-Brexit Tour
ə-books #7 March 28th – April 21st 2017 Héloïse Bergman: The Dying Art
ə-books #6 March 21st – March 24th 2017 Andreia Alves de Oliveira: River Boats & Inner Thoughts
ə-books #5 January 31st- February 25th 2017 Jessica Brouder: I Believe in You
ə-books #4 October 18th- November 18th 2016 Marc Vallée: Vandals and the city
ə-books #3 September 14th- October 12th 2016 Amy Warwick: Blame your parents
ə-books #2 June 28th- August 28th 2016 Martin Toft and Gareth Syvret: Atlantus
ə-books #1 May 25th- June 24th 2016 Lara Gonzalez: made and published
During its first year of programming, the space operated out of the London South Bank University Student Centre. With its two walk-in vitrines, the space acted as a folio (a double side printed page) between the interior and exterior of the university, as well as an experimental and reflexive form of exhibition practice for photobook works. For the second year of activity, the project has used the University’s Borough Road Gallery.
The space’s aim is to supplement and extend both the teaching contents and practices of the photobook publishing programme as well as making a contribution to current debates in photobook publishing and curating. The programme alternates the presentation of students photobook works with photobook publishing projects by guest photographers, aiming to promote a dialogue between students, lecturers, invited artists, curators and theoreticians.
About [ə] the upside down e or schwa:
It is the ‘uh’ sound found in an unstressed syllable, like the final vowel of “sofa.” It’s the most common vowel sound in English. Before people started calling it “schwa” in English (around 1895) it had a lot of nicknames: the murmur vowel, the indeterminate vowel, the neutral vowel, the obscure vowel, and this is why it is a good vowel to refer to photobook works, a contested term that remains under scrutiny (the eternal debate: is it a ‘photobook’, a ‘photographic book’ or a ‘photographically illustrated book’?) in spite of its established position within the history of photography.
It is that inexplicable thing…a kind of a “huh?” … described by Ed Ruscha to Willoughby Sharp in a 1973 interview, as a feeling evoked by some photobook works …
WS: … It seems to me that this approach is something you pioneered withTwentysix Gasoline Stations precisely because the idea had priority over the execution, which you made as anonymous as possible. You shot fifty stations and pared them down to twenty-six so the original idea carried. I’m interested in your reaction to that.
ER: I realized that for the first time this book had an inexplicable thing I was looking for, and that was a kind of a “Huh?” That’s what I’ve always worked around. All it is is a device to disarm somebody with my particular message. A lot of artists use that.
WS: Give me some examples of “Uh.”
ER: I don’t know, somebody digging a hole out in the desert and calling it sculpture. You know, it’s a surprise to people.
WS: Would Duchamp be the first “Uh” artist?
ER: I think that would be spelled H-U-H, with a question mark. […] I just use that word to describe a feeling that a lot of artists are attempting to bring out, and some are doing it very well.
In “…A kind of a “Huh?”: An interview with Ed Ruscha” by Willoughby Sharp, originally published in Avalanche 7- 1973
THE SCALES OF PUBLISHING/ ə-books #1 zine
conversation between paula roush and Lara Gonzalez
On the occasion of the exhibition made and published [ProCreate Project]
ə-books project space for photobook publishing
May 25th- June 24th 2016
ATLANTUS NEWSPAPERS: AN OCEAN BETWEEN HIGH- AND LOWBROW INDIE PUBLISHING #2 zine
conversation between paula roush,Martin Toft and Gareth Syvret
On the occasion of the exhibition Atlantus A transoceanic photography project
ə-books project space for photobook publishing
June 28th- August 28th 2016
BLAME YOUR PARENTS: DOING IT YOURSELF WITH VINTAGE FILM CAMERAS AND GOOD OLD PAPER ZINES/ə-books #3 zine
conversation between Amy Warwick and paula roush
On the occasion of the exhibition Blame your parents [a photozine of post-teenage years] September 14th- October 12th 2016