World Food Books is a book shop in Melbourne, Australia.
Founded in 2010, World Food Books is a book service dedicated to the presentation of a rotating, hand-selection of quality international art and design journals, artists’ monographs, exhibition catalogues, artists’ editions, collected writings and printed ephemera.
Presenting new titles alongside rare and out-of-print publications spanning the fields of contemporary art, modern art, cultural theory, photography, film, poetry, fiction, fashion, architecture, interior design, typography, illustration, politics and much between, World Food Books wishes to encourage active and thoughtful reading, looking, writing, publishing, and exchanging of art and design press, both contemporary and historical.
As well as our book shop, located in Melbourne's historical Nicholas Building, all of our inventory is available internationally via our online mail-order service. We also have outposts at MUMA (Monash University Museum of Art) and Westspace, both also in Melbourne.
World Food Books semi-regularly co-ordinates "Occasions", a program of exhibits and events at the bookshop and in partnership with other hosts (such as museums and art galleries) that develop out of the activities, relationships and content of the bookshop itself.
World Food Books
The Nicholas Building
Studio 19, Level 3
37 Swanston Street
FRI 12-7 PM
SAT 12-4 PM
& OPEN BY APPOINTMENT
MAIL ORDER RUNS EVERY DAY
World Food Books
PO Box 435
Theory / Essay
Architecture / Interior
Graphic Design / Typography
Fiction / Poetry
Film / Video
Sculpture / Installation
Performance / Dance / Theater
Sound / Music
Group Shows / Collections
Illustration / Graphic Art
Ceramics / Glass
Italian Radical Design / Postmodernism
"Various Works 1986 - 1999"
02 February 16 - September 10, 2016
Various works 1986 - 1999, from two houses, from the collections of John Nixon, Sue Cramer, Kerrie Poliness, Peter Haffenden and Phoebe Haffenden.
Including: Geometry of Cakes (various shelves), 1993; Poor People’s Law (black and white plate), 1993; White Absence (glasses, ruler, set square, silver spoon, silver ladel with skin photograph and wooden cubes), 1990-1996; Exploitation of the Dead (grey and red star painting, wooden painting, black spoon with red table, red plate), 1984-1990; Money and Zeros (zero tie, paintings made for friends in Australia (Sue, John, Kerrie), numbers painting), 1991-1992; Words - Slogans (various t-shirts) - “they talk about the death of art...help! someone is trying to kill me”, “my sweet little lamb”, “work is a disease - Karl Marx”; Various artist books, catalogues, monographs, videos; Poster from exhibition Insulting Anarchy; "Circular" Croatian - Australian edition; Artist book by Vlado Martek (Dostoyevsky); more.
Thanks to Mladen Stilinović and Branka Stipančić.
Curated by Nic Tammens
March 26 - April 4, 2015
B.Wurtz works from a basement studio in his home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
This local fact is attested to by the plastic shopping bags and newsprint circulars that appear in his work. As formal objects, they don’t make loud claims about their origins but nonetheless transmit street addresses and places of business from the bottom of this long thin island. Like plenty of artists, Wurtz is affected by what is local and what is consumed. His work is underpinned by this ethic. It often speaks from a neighborhood or reads like the contents of a hamper:
“BLACK PLUMS $1.29 lb.”
“USDA Whole Pork Shoulder Picnic 99c lb.”
“RITE AID Pharmacy, with us it’s personal.”
“H. Brickman & Sons.”
“Sweet Yams 59c lb."
Most of the work in this exhibition was made while the artist was in residence at Dieu Donne, a workshop dedicated to paper craft in Midtown. Here Wurtz fabricated assemblages with paper and objects that are relatively lightweight, with the intention that they would be easily transportable to Australia. This consideration isn’t absolute in Wurtz’s work, but was prescriptive for making the current exhibition light and cheap. Packed in two boxes, these works were sent from a USPS post office on the Lower East Side and delivered to North Melbourne by Australia Post.
Wurtz appears courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York.
Thanks to Rob Halverson, Joshua Petherick, Sari de Mallory, Matt Hinkley, Helen Johnson, Fayen d'Evie, Ask Kilmartin, Lisa Radon, Ellena Savage, Yale Union, and "Elizabeth".
December 15 - January 20, 2014
The presentation of John Nixon's archive offered a rare showcase of this extensive collection of the artist's own publications, catalogues, posters, ephemera, editions and more, from the mid 1980s onwards, alongside a selection of his artworks.
Organized by John Nixon, Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley.
at Minerva, Sydney (curated by Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley)
November 15 - December 20, 2014
Lupo Borgonovo, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley,
Lewis Fidock, HR Giger, Piero Gilardi, Veit Laurent Kurz,
Cinzia Ruggeri, Michael E. Smith, Lucie Stahl, Daniel Weil, Wols
“...It contained seven objects. The slender fluted bone, surely formed for flight, surely from the wing of some large bird. Three archaic circuitboards, faced with mazes of gold. A smooth white sphere of baked clay. An age-blackened fragment of lace. A fingerlength segment of what she assumed was bone from a human wrist, grayish white, inset smoothly with the silicon shaft of a small instrument that must once have ridden flush with the surface of the skin - but the thing’s face was seared and blackened.”
William Gibson, “Count Zero”, 1986
"Autumn Projects Archive"
Curated by Liza Vasiliou
March 6 - March 15, 2014
World Food Books, in conjunction with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 2014, presented the Autumn Projects archive, consisting of a selection of early examples in Australian fashion with a particular interest in collecting designers and labels from the period beginning in the 1980’s, who significantly influenced the discourse of Australian Fashion.
Curated by Liza Vasiliou, the exhibition provided a unique opportunity to view pieces by designers Anthea Crawford, Barbara Vandenberg, Geoff Liddell and labels CR Australia, Covers, Jag along with early experimental collage pieces by Prue Acton and Sally Browne’s ‘Fragments’ collection, suspended throughout the functioning World Food Books shop in Melbourne.
presented by CENTRE FOR STYLE
November 14, 2013
"Hey Blinky, you say chic, I say same"
H.B. Peace is a clothing collaboration between great friends Blake Barns and Hugh Egan Westland. Their pieces explore the divergences between 'character’ and ‘personality’ in garments....etc
Special Thanks to Joshua Petherick and Matt Hinkley of WFB and Gillian Mears
and a Very Special Thank you to Audrey Thomas Hayes for her shoe collaboration.
Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley
May 10 - June 8, 2013
The first of our occasional exhibitions in the World Food Books office/shop space in Melbourne, "Aesthetic Suicide" presented a body of new and older works together by artists Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, including videos, prints, a wall work, and publications.
During shop open hours videos played every hour, on the hour.
Softcover, 132 pages, 14 x 20 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$33.00 - In stock -
Addressing the current upswing of attention in the sciences, arts, and humanities to the new proposal that we are in a human-driven epoch called the Anthropocene, this book critically surveys that thesis and points to its limitations. It analyzes contemporary visual culture—popular science websites, remote sensing and SatNav imagery, eco-activist mobilizations, and experimental artistic projects—to consider how the term proposes more than merely a description of objective geological periodization. This book argues that the Anthropocene terminology works ideologically in support of a neoliberal financialization of nature, anthropocentric political economy, and endorsement of geoengineering as the preferred—but likely disastrous—method of approaching climate change. To democratize decisions about the world’s near future, we urgently need to subject the Anthropocene thesis to critical scrutiny and develop creative alternatives in the present.
“The idea of the Anthropocene needs to be eviscerated, and there is no one better suited to do it than T. J. Demos. In this sharp book Demos demonstrates that the Anthropocene thesis obscures a host of gross inequalities and the powerful interests behind them. Exploring examples (such as Google Earth) that support Anthropocene iconography, as well as a plethora of critical alternatives that decolonize and indigenize the Anthropocene, Demos offers a strong indictment of the violence of contemporary fossil capitalism. This manifesto should be on the bookshelves and in the back pockets of all climate justice activists.”
—Ashley Dawson, Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center and College of Staten Island
“Against the Anthropocene is much more than simply ‘against.’ In this short, accessible, and fiercely written book, T. J. Demos shows how visual culture is implicated in the Anthropocene’s occlusions as well as a resource for conceptualizing—and mobilizing for—emancipatory alternatives. Deftly weaving together environmental accounts, scholarly arguments, and activist mobilizations, Demos makes an impassioned argument for new modes of thinking and representing the global environmental crisis that refuse the old fictions of the ‘social’ and the ‘natural.’ It is a book that shows how visual culture matters in our struggle for a just and livable future.”
—Jason W. Moore, Associate Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University
“T. J. Demos is one of the most important critics of visual culture and its politics today. In this must-read book he makes a compelling argument not only against the discourse of the Anthropocene but also for an activist, critical, and intersectional culture of climate justice.”
—Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies and of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
“In Against the Anthropocene, T. J. Demos adds to the growing chorus of voices critical of a term that, while intending to sound an alarm about climate change, in fact obscures responsibility for our eco-disaster. Through his unique assessment of the role of the image in the Anthropocene, Demos highlights the work of contemporary artistic-activist projects that contest imagery designed to shape our response to environmental crisis. For those who think that we can’t envision our crisis or do anything about it, this wonderful book shows us all the ways in which visuality is being reinvented in support of a new, vibrant politics of collectivity.”
—Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and Professor of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
“In this indispensable survey of visual culture’s intersection with the ongoing catastrophe of climate change, T. J. Demos makes its political stakes visible in new and exciting ways.”
—Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
Design by Miriam Rech, Berlin
Softcover, 320 pages, 136 x 203 mm
Published by The MIT Press / Massachusetts
$35.00 - In stock -
Marcel Duchamp was a famous expatriate, a wanderer, living and working in Paris, New York, and Buenos Aires and escaping from each in turn. But exile, argues T. J. Demos in this innovative reading, is more than a fact in Duchamp's biography. Exile--in the artist's own words, a "spirit of expatriation"--infuses Duchamp's entire artistic practice. Duchamp's readymade constructions, his installations for surrealist exhibitions in Paris and New York, and his "portable museum" (the suggestively named La boite-en-valise), Demos writes, all manifest, define, and exploit the terms of exile in multiple ways. Created while the artist was living variously in New York, Buenos Aires, and occupied France during the global catastrophes of war and fascism, these works express the anguish of displacement and celebrate the freedom of geopolitical homelessness. The "portable museum," a suitcase containing miniature reproductions of Duchamp's works, for example, represented a complex meditation--both critical and joyful--on modern art's tendency toward itinerancy, whereas Duchamp's 1942 installation design entangling a New York gallery in a mile of string announced the dislocated status that many exiled surrealists wished to forget. Duchamp's exile, writes Demos, defines a new ethics of independent life in the modern age of nationalism and advanced capitalism, offering a precursor to our own globalized world of nomadic subjects and dispersed experience.
T. J. Demos is a Lecturer in the Department of History of Art, University College London and the author of The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp (MIT Press, 2007). His essays have appeared in such journals as Artforum, Grey Room, October, and Texte zur Kunst.
Softcover, 248 pages, 15 x 22 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$36.00 - In stock -
Edited by Natasha Ginwala
The Contour Biennale 8, “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium,” curated by Natasha Ginwala, brings together twenty-five international and local artists and art collectives working in lens-based media, sound, performance, drawing, and installation, to address questions related to the nation-state system and the realm of justice today. Taking place in Mechelen, Belgium, “Polyphonic Worlds” embraces the communal spirit of the biennale by including the many-sided voices that assemble in collective formations as well as discrete, individual creative positions.
This reader proposes a series of beginnings—it is a polyphonic approach that borrows from juridical and musical spheres. Launched as the online journal of the biennial, Hearings pairs texts or image-based contributions, allowing for a sense of tension and affinity to develop in the feedback loop of the two voices. Relationships around the artwork as site of evidence and testimony are thus reoriented. The multidimensional readings are not restricted to the active apparatus of law and discipline, but instead seek to unravel the synchronies of our times—the mesh of injustice in our midst.
Featuring texts and illustrated contributions by Agency, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Eric Baudelaire, Rossella Biscotti, Hunter Braithwaite and Trevor Paglen, Filipa César, Cooking Sections, Council, T. J. Demos, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Rana Hamadeh, Louis Henderson, Adelita Husni-Bey, Ho Tzu Nyen, inhabitants, Arvo Leo, Sven Lütticken, Basir Mahmood, Samuel Mareel, Dirk de Meyer, Otobong Nkanga, Pallavi Paul and Anish Ahluwalia, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Judy Radul, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, Madonna Staunton, Ana Torfs, Trinh Thi Nguyen, Susanne M. Winterling and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Ghassan Zaqtan.
Copublished with Contour Biennale on the occasion of Contour Biennale 8: “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium” (March 11–May 21, 2017).
Design by Studio Remco van Bladel
Softcover, 296 pages, 14.8 x 21 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$38.00 - In stock -
While ecology has received little systematic attention within art history, its visibility and significance has grown in relation to the threats of climate change and environmental destruction. By engaging artists’ widespread aesthetic and political engagement with environmental conditions and processes around the globe—and looking at cutting-edge theoretical, political, and cultural developments in the Global South and North—Decolonizing Nature offers a significant, original contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, ecology, visual culture, geography, and environmental politics. Art historian T. J. Demos, author of Return to the Postcolony: Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art(2013), considers the creative proposals of artists and activists for ways of life that bring together ecological sustainability, climate justice, and radical democracy, at a time when such creative proposals are urgently needed.
“Decolonizing Nature presents a timely critical analysis of the parameters and limitations of philosophical, artistic, and curatorial models responding to anthropogenic climate change. Rich and informative, the book makes an impassioned argument for a post-anthropocentric political ecology, in which the aesthetic realm enjoins with Indigenous philosophies and environmental activism to challenge the neoliberal corporate-state complex. It invites us to confront tough questions on how we might collectively reimagine and realize environmental justice for humans and nonhumans alike.”
—Jean Fisher, Emeritus Professor in Fine Art and Transcultural Studies, Middlesex University
“Astute and ambitious. Essential reading for anyone interested in the arts, activism, and environmental change. Demos moves with impressive ease across national boundaries, cultural forms, social movements, and ecological theories.”
—Rob Nixon, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professor in Humanities and the Environment, Princeton University
“Demos breaks new ground in art criticism. In an expansive analysis of polyvocal artist-activist practices in the Global South and the North, Demos eschews environmental catastrophism, scientific determinism, and techno-fixes to highlight collaborative resistance to neocolonial violence and neoliberal collusion-to-plunder. He is also searching for what the path forward might be. Rigorous, accessible, and rebellious, Decolonizing Nature is an inspiring and indispensible contemporary art manifesto.”
—Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair of Land Arts of the American West and Professor of Art and Ecology, University of New Mexico
“With Decolonizing Nature, Demos extends his formidable intellectual project to a realm that has until recently often been characterized by varying degrees of naïveté, obscurantism, and indeed green-washing: the relationship between art and ecology. The first systematic study of its kind, Decolonizing Nature is an exemplary combination of militant research and contemporary art history that will resonate with activists on the front lines as much as those working in the art field, reframing the latter as a site of struggle in its own right as we come to terms with the so-called Anthropocene.”
—Yates McKee, author of Strike Art: Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition
“Demos’s ability to distill and interrelate heterogeneous discourses, practices, and eco-political contexts, without flattening them in the process, is a breathtaking feat and, moreover, one that rises to the demands of his complex and urgent subject. As clear in its argumentation as it is dense with information, the meat of this book lies in its detailed discussion of specific artworks and the environmental struggles from which they emerge and to which they ambitiously, and often brilliantly, respond. Decolonizing Nature makes a forceful case for why and how art matters, now more than ever.”
—Emily Eliza Scott, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich, and coeditor of Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics
Design by Miriam Rech, Berlin
$29.00 - In stock -
Texts by Petra Bauer and Annette Krauss, Franco Bifo Berardi, Galit Eilat, Ronald Jones, Maria Karlsson and Måns Wrange, Nina Möntmann, Peter Osborne, Marcus Steinweg, Nato Thompson; conversations between Simon Critchley and Miguel Á. Hernández-Navarro, Renzo Martens and T. J. Demos
Recent encounters between art and real life, the ubiquity of images of violence and humiliation in visual culture and the media, and the persistence of controversial debates on public and participatory art projects are raising fundamental questions about the importance of ethical decisions in art and curating. How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Does “good censorship” exist? Are ethical decisions seen as more urgent in participatory art?
This reader introduces current notions of ethics in several contexts related to the cultural field. Responding to the instrumentalization of ethics as a privileged tool of neoliberalism, the reader claims the need for an ethics that critically reflects the mechanisms of contemporary global power structures. The contributions discuss models of subjective and situational ethics and pit them against a canon of unquestioned principles and upturned notions of ethics and human rights.
Copublished with the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
Design by Torsten Jahnke and Jens Reitemeyer, Hotmelt My Heart
Softcover, 176 pages (53 color ill.),14 x 21 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$33.00 - In stock -
In the wake of failed states, growing economic and political inequality, and the ongoing US- and NATO-led wars for resources, security, and economic dominance worldwide, contemporary artists are revisiting former European colonies, considering past injustices as they haunt the living yet remain repressed in European consciousness. With great timeliness, projects by Sven Augustijnen, Vincent Meessen, Zarina Bhimji, Renzo Martens, and Pieter Hugo have emerged during the fiftieth anniversary of independence for many African countries, inspiring a kind of “reverse migration”—a return to the postcolony, which drives an ethico-political as well as aesthetic set of imperatives: to learn to live with ghosts, and to do so more justly.
T. J. Demos places contemporary art within the context of neoliberal globalization and what scholars have referred to as the “colonial present.” The analysis is complex and provocative, both for an understanding of the historical material as well as for the contemporary theoretical discourse. Return to the Postcolony is one of the most ambitious, intelligent, and readable texts on contemporary art related to the African context that I have read.
—Alexander Alberro, author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity
The specters of colonialism continue to haunt the current global order. Far removed from universalist and ultimately empty demands for a “global art history,” T. J. Demos uses particular cases to explore the false universality of “globalization” as we know it. This is art writing at its best: determinate and determined.
—Sven Lütticken, author of Idols of the Market: Modern Iconoclasm and the Fundamentalist Spectacle
Design by Kummer & Herrman
2010, German / English
Softcover, 196 pages, 23 x 16 cm
Published by Walther König / Köln
$29.00 - Out of stock
With a preface by Marius Babias and texts by T. J. Demos and Bert Rebhandl
In recent years, the artist Hito Steyerl has gained great international recognition for her work at the intersection between film and fine art. Her films combine elements of experimental film, auteur cinema, documentary film, and video art. This is the first monograph to examine Steyerl’s oeuvre in several facets, with contributions from film, art, and cultural historians. Numerous illustrations show the stylistically honed visual language in Steyerl’s work, which is schooled in discourse analysis. Through montage, she uses elements from popular culture and politics, Hollywood and independent cinema, interviews and off-commentary to assemble provocative film analyses of the present.
Softcover, 128 pages (27 color ills.), 13 x 20 cm
Published by Sternberg Press / Berlin
$24.00 - In stock -
Edited by Milena Hoegsberg, Melanie O’Brian
Essays by T. J. Demos, Liz Kotz, David Rohde; further contributions by Jennifer Allen, Christoph Cox, Céline Condorelli, Simon Critchley, Am Johal, Tom McCarthy, Marit Paasche, Ed Steck, Karen Brown.
This publication focuses on a single work of art: 5,000 Feet is the Best (2011) by artist Omer Fast. With this cinematic video work, Fast has entered into a discussion about one of the most pressing issues today, namely drone surveillance and warfare—that is, the use of unmanned planes operated by “pilots” on the ground.
Produced to accompany exhibitions of Fast’s work at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK) in Oslo (February 9–May 6, 2012) and at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto (September 15–November 25, 2012), this publication aims to bridge the gap between a critical reader and an artist book. Although the respective exhibitions include additional works by Fast, the examination of this single work allows not only for a consideration of his broader practice, but also an extensive examination of the subject of the work.
Informed by Fast’s layering of narrative and documentary material, this book compiles critical analyses of his film by art historians Liz Kotz and T. J. Demos, an article on drones reprinted from the journal Foreign Policy, as well as the artist’s research and script materials set alongside film stills. Additionally, an e-mail thread of responses from practitioners active in different fields engages a range of issues pertaining to drone warfare, opening the conversation into a forum on politics, ethics, aesthetics, and human experience.
Design by NODE Berlin Oslo