msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush

TITLE PROJECT: ə-books project space for material publishing
CURATOR: paula roush
MEDIUM: Experimental space for photobook publishing
LOCATION: Student's Centre London South Bank University
103 BoroughRoad, Elephant & Castle. London 
YEAR: 2016-2018


ə-books project space, opened in May 2016
was created to explore the reciprocal
relationship between gallery and publication
as exhibition spaces.
Its intention:
 to expand on  the taught
photobook publishing programme,
at the School of Arts & Creative Industries,
well as contributing to ongoing debates
around photobook publishing and curating.
The programme alternated the presentation
of students' photobook works with
photobook publishing projects by guest photographers,
aiming to promote a dialogue
between the School and independent practices.

An exercise in the use of liminal space for indie publishing, 
the project started with the occupation of two vacant spaces
at the front 
and back entrance to the Students’ Centre
at the London South Bank University 
With its two walk-in vitrines, the spaces acted as a folio
(a double side printed page) between the interior and
exterior of the building, offering a public display interface
for photobook works.

ə-books project space was evicted when the Students' Union
(without due consultation with the students and lecturers)
gave the space to the Amazon corporation
to place one of their lockers. 
The project's signage is still visible on site.

For the second year of activity, the project used the
University's Borough Road Gallery.

ə-books #1  Lara Gonzalez:
made and published 

ə-books #2  Martin Toft and Gareth Syvret: Atlantus

ə-books #3  Amy Warwick:
Blame your parents [a photozine of
post-teenage years] 

ə-books #4 Marc Vallée:
Vandals and the city

ə-books #5  Jessica Brouder:
I Believe in You

ə-books #6  Andreia Alves de Oliveira:
River Boats & Inner Thoughts

ə-books #7  Héloïse Bergman: 
The Dying Art

ə-books #8 Tadej Pogačar + Dejan Habicht:
HU? Pre-Brexit Tour

ə-books #9 Jens Masmann:

ə-books #10 Unveil’d:
Photobook #01

Project's archive:

ə/uh/-books research programme

ə/uh/-books research programme has taken on various formats ranging from installation and presentations to the production of editions through commissions and collaborative workshops,
This research  has been disseminated nationally and
internationally, including
 -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 at EINA  Centre Universitari
de Disseny i Art/ UAB Autonomous University of Barcelona
- Arts Llibre Worshop  at ESDA LLotja Escola d’Arts i Oficis de Barcelona, Spain.

About  ‘uh’:

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 with Twenty-six 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


 ə/uh/-books publications

Jessica Brouder
new photobook work crossing the boundaries between sculpture, weaving and publishing.
edition 0f 100
See here

RS FILES London – Munich To Be Continued
collective photobookwork,  based on a set of rules created for the workshop Self-Publishing and the Photobook, March 9th 2018
paula roush and Jens Masmann
Featuring folios by:  Amelia Attle / Raluca Babos / Emma Bircham / Razvan Bronda / Iga Cegielko / Kate Gentry / Jessica Hansson / Isabella Hewlett / Peter Di-Mola Jordan / Kyle Jackson /Charlotte Joseph / Tomasz Klimara / Jai Mills /Daisy Morey / Micah Morgan / Regan Ross / Sam Sutton /Isaac Watson

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

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

/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

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.

 mobile strategies of display & mediation

by appointment only
request private viewing 

paula roush 

London SE

school of arts  & creative industries  
london south bank university