Press Play

Opening 26 April 18:00 – 22:00. Also activated on 27 April 13:00 –18:00 and 28 April 13:00 –18:00

By Bebe Books, at Cas-co Leuven, Vaartstraat 94, 3000 Leuven

Press Play is a speculative printing service co-operated by the constituents of Bebe Books to explore the potentiality of queer processes of printing. The collective proposes the open platform featuring various print techniques facilitated through distributed agency and collaborative labor.

Bebe Books reflects on the history of graphic design and labor, where the unquestioned pursuit of spectacular printed surfaces made the design workers more precarious. As a critical response to problematics of the print culture in the West, instrumentalized for the reproduction of normative power, the copy store brings attention to slow, anachronistic, hacked, low-tech print techniques. Furthermore, it expands the concept of publishing to include broader mediums such as rice cookers and cassette tape recorders, reflecting the etymological meaning of “publishing” as “to populate.” The use of “untimely media” suggests a possibility to break the chain of chrononormativity, the endless repetition of the homogenized mechanical rhythm of a printer that forces workers' bodies to conform.1

The diversity of tools available at Press Play accommodates the performative experiment on distributed agency of print processes. Each constituent of Bebe Books will be held accountable for operating specific print techniques, making production a process of negotiation among these agents, akin to that of a live action role-play game. The print house, in this case, is a diagram, an abstract machine, “the map of relations between forces,” “the dynamic, fluctuating process occurring between static structures.”2 Without relying on schematized representation, the diagrammatic copy store will be what the operators “become” through the playful ritual.

Participants invited to Press Play will be encouraged to engage with the facility in all possible ways. Even the most banal prints, namely tax invoices and instruction manuals, could be emancipated into this queer process. Their involvement in the diagram will be mediated through the mock-up bank notes issued by Bebe Books. Through the introduction of the fictional currency, the copy store proposes diverse economic models and systems of exchange beyond consumerism.

The project of Bebe Books.

Read more: printed cash, xenoestrogen printer, riso printer, rice-cooker, projector, 3D printer, performative printing.

Download and install the drivers before you come to attend to the open technical capacity of Press Play.

1 Amit S. Rai, "Untimely Media: Subversions of Obsolescence in Decolonial Print," Radical Philosophy 2.13 (Autumn 2022): 77-87.
2 Jakub Zdebik, Deleuze and the Diagram: Aesthetic Threads in Visual Organization (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012).