The PUBLICATION AS PUBLIC ACTION project considers the print:document as a vital tool for future-history building, inviting local and regional publics into conversation around intentional documentation and dissemination of personal and collective intelligence. This activation / intervention is scaleable and available as an archive or library installation for any sort of cultural organization, and/or can be built to suit for public or outdoor iterations.

Related to precedent FIELD STATION, LIBRARY and LAB projects and to THE OPERATING SYSTEM’s long-running publication experiment (2012-2022), this installation is designed to house an initial “seed library” of already existing volumes, upon which future community materials can build.

PROGRAMMING around PUBLICATION AS PUBLIC ACTION invites individuals, organizations, communities -- any unit of human operation -- to enter work into the archive as an active intervention against top-down accounts of cultural history. Workshops on everything from the physical making of books and zines to modalities for public research and technical advice on creating digital extensions, using distribution networks, and more can be built in for ongoing activation of the site and its growing materials.

These interventions are designed to evolve into ongoing sites of autonomously directed community storytelling, tool-gathering, intelligence collection, and connection-building. Included with the toolkit are autonomous materials for the development and publication of books and objects which can then be added to this collection as well as instructions for the design and building of autonomous pop-up sites using this model.


For the PUBLICATION AS PUBLIC ACTION installation in Crossett Library at Bennington College, a corner of the library is reimagined as a dynamic space for engagement with the possibility of autonomous documentation, drawing the eye upon approach with bright pops of color and vegetal collaboration.

Library visitors are invited to engage with texts and materials produced using the AUTONOMOUS MECHANICS open publication protocols, tools for imagining the possibility of PUBLICATION as PUBLIC ACTION as well as archival volumes from The Operating System

The intervention is active across numerous temporalities: from short visits exploring the display-only volumes, extended borrowing of titles and materials in circulation, to the use of on-site prompts for non-linear bibliomancy, as well as invitational materials for DIY publication.

These tools for community engagement are provided digitally via QR code access, as well as in the form of worksheets and zines available at the library site. Students, faculty, campus workers and members of the larger local and regional community are encouraged to use the open source protocols to develop print:document publications, with the potential for satellite sites and partner organization pop-ups.

Related coursework offered for the Bennington community includes Future Histories, Speculative Sites 1 (F22) & 2 / Year One:Seed Lab (S23), Archive + Access: Publication, Pedagogy + Mutual Aid as Public Action (F23), and Year One: Social Practice as Public Action (S24).

Related YEAR ONE | SEED LAB “Spring into Action” Zine + Public Action Fairs were held at the Left Bank Gallery in North Bennington in the Spring of 2023; project zines from students and collaborators are now available as a Left Bank Open Resource Library and Zine Exchange -- add one using this form! Zines will be added to the OS Open Access Library for public use, access, and distribution.