Louise O’Hare

Published On


Page Range

pp. 33-64

Print Length

31 pages

2. London-Havana Diary: Art Publishing, Sustainability, Free Speech and Free Papers

  • Louise O’Hare (author)
This chapter talks about the role of the ‘art publisher’ as an organisation or individual who attempts to set up spaces for discussion, and about democracy (with a small d) and art publishing – attempting to make sense of the way artists books and publishing circulate, beyond art editions for sale. Sonrisa is a bilingual magazine that aims to set up a dialogue between artists and readerships in Havana and London. The magazine was instigated by the author and a group of curators and artists early last year. Sonrisa – Smile in Spanish – always started as a somewhat absurd proposition – to attempt to set up an art magazine in a context where there is no free press. It might seem curious in a place with constrained web access, but sharing files digitally has become a key way for many Cubans to distribute information among themselves – there was a loosening of restrictions on the sale of computers in 2008, and since then e-books and writing often travel person to person via manual USB stick transfer. The different textures of publication ­– the various forms that Sonrisa magazine will manifest itself – seem also representative, in some ways, of the expanded manner in which we can think about, attempt to define perhaps, publishing, in particular art publishing now. Varied approaches are sometimes used for tactical or strategic reasons – inflected by expediency, but more often focused on what forms of publishing can mean in terms of readership – whether the making of publics benefits by being configured as a shared, communal experience (online or in a physical space), or through an intimate moment alone with paper and print. The intentions of artist Sean Dockray in programming the online library,, are as relevant to these questions of texture, and what constitutes publishing (or perhaps re-publishing) at present.


Louise O’Hare