Public Library

Paper Struggles

Friday, Oct 16, 2020 @ Galerija Nova, MaMa

— 18.00h : Tomislav Medak & Marcell Mars: Politicising Piracy, presentation and screening programme*, (MaMa, Zagreb)
— 20.00h : Exhibition opening (Gallery Nova, Zagreb / exhibition will be open until 24.10. 2020.)

Exhibition guided tours with the authors of the project will be possible on Saturday 17.10. and Tuesday 20.10. from 5 to 8 p.m.



The exhibition Paper struggles is an extension of the Public Library project. Since 2012 Public Library has developed exhibitions, publications, digital tools and public debate to further the cause of the universal access to knowledge and culture. The project is a critical and practical investigation of how the intellectual property regime limits that right and serves as a regulatory mechanism of uneven access to culture, science and research that results in a growing gap in education, expertise and social development between the economically most advanced countries and countries of (semi-)peripheries such as Croatia.

The exhibition features projects: Rameshwari Photocopy Services legal case, Kenneth Goldsmith’s Printing out the Internet; Monoskop’s Architercture & Anthropocene, Memory of the World’s Catalogue by Slowrotation, Walt Willis & Bob Shaw: Začarana kopirka (illustratated by Mance).

The exhibition documents how struggles over access to knowledge, in the context of global economic inequalities and inequalities in the „knowledge society”, materialise in the form of print, photocopy and printout. The digital networks have expanded the volume of available text exponentially since to the days of print. So much so that if we were to print out a catalogue of books that we can store a personal computer hard-drive, the catalogue would require a couple of large volumes of fine print. Yet, in many situations and many societies, reading from paper still remains the preferred way of accessing knowledge.

At the same time, pirate copying and distribution we tend to perceive as a phenomenon of digital culture. However, the dissemination of knowledge before the digital depended crucially on photocopying and pirate re-prints. Photocopied books and articles passed down from generation to generation and from scientist to scientist have enabled many to finish their studies, to become scientists and to teach younger generations. The „knowledge society” three decades ago would not have been conceivable without the illegal sharing of knowledge, just as the „knowledge society” today isn’t conceivable without the illegal sharing of knowledge.

Therefore, the past and the future of struggles over access to knowledge can be gleaned from paper struggles.
Conception and guidance through the exhibition: Marcell Mars i Tomislav Medak



* presentation and screening program are part of WHW’s Caring for one another, radical politics of caring comprising of film, video and discursive programs focusing on achieving emancipatory and decolonising prospects through intimate and political aspects of care and caring in the context of social of social change and solidarity.


Produced by: Multimedia Institute, Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures and WHW, What, how and for whom
We wish to thank: Dušan Barok, Kenneth Goldsmith, Lawrence Liang, Kaja Marczewska, Rabinda Patra, Shubigi Rao, Alex Sainsbury and Mohammad Salemy.