Lia Forslund

Royal College of Art:
The Ecologies of Publishing Futures

The Book Test Unit is an experimental, interdisciplinary research entity under Book Futures Lab, School of Communication, Royal College of Art. BTU is comprised of staff and 12 students from MA programmes in Visual Communication, Critical Writing in Art & Design and Curating Contemporary Art who were invited to explore the future of the book, its condition and move towards a set of new propositions.
Set-up to make experimental and speculative enquiries, the Unit’s given points of focus—reading, translation and distribution—quickly grew into an unconventional, exploded view of publishing.

By trying out new things, constantly challenging and convincing each other, not only about content but the way things are narrated, the Unit successfully incorporated levels of surprise, entertainment and constructive chaos. Collectively, the students made a comment on the effect that e-commerce has on our perception of consumption, distance and distribution.

The result was Hyperstore, two fast-paced exhibitions set in retail spaces across London. Functioning as a united critical voice, the Book Test Unit’s multi- disciplinary contributors still continue to acknowledge the turbulence of change, at a time when the disjuncture between physical and digital presence is widening and diminishing at the same time.

The project has been generously supported by Thames & Hudson Publishers.

Book Test Unit: Teal Triggs, David Blamey, Joseph Pochodzaj, Gareth Long, David Crowley, Kit Hammonds, Robert Hetherington, Elizabeth Holdsworth, Franek Wardynski, Charles Rickleton, Roxanne Gatt, Stine Deja, Lia Forslund, Charlotte-Maëva Perret, Xueling Wang, Sun Jaegal, Jennifer Lam, Jane Scarth.