This is the archive for Stamm, an online publishing project initiated by artist Jonathan Nichols in 2012. The periodical was designed to foster fast, reactive and timely art criticism at a time when art criticism in Melbourne was limited to a few printed publications with long lead-times. ‘Stamm’ is short for ‘Stammtisch’, the German word for ‘regulars’ table’, an unstructured regular get-together between people with common interests, and also the table around which these convivial gatherings take place. The project reflects this etymology in the writers’ voluntary participation, their engagement with a peer-to-peer editing process, and various other structural interventions devised by Nichols.
Stamm’s more-or-less monthly publishing cycle mirrored the schedule of exhibitions in commercial and artist-run spaces. The brief was to reciprocate the material practice of artists. Through conversations around editing, the writing collective tested the possibility of intimate reflection. Stamm, which circulated to a readership of more than 5,000, produced 163 individual essays on contemporary art authored by 18 writers, a cohort that expanded internationally over the course of four years. From the more academic to the poetic, humorous and digressive, individual styles coalesced to embody a spirit of independence, camaraderie and criticality. In a sense Stamm sought to forge a ‘reverse public’ where the writers themselves were the foremost readership and the subscribers were a secondary audience.
Stamm was edited by Jonathan Nichols in 2012 and 2013, and by Amita Kirpalani in 2015. It was produced by Jane Karnowski, and designed by Adrian Karnowski.
Jane Karnowski (Melbourne)
Email: janekarnowski [at] gmail [dot] com
Amita Kirpalani (Melbourne)
Email: amita [dot] kirpalani [at] gmail [dot] com
Jonathan Nichols (Singapore)
Email: nichols8 [at] tpg [dot] com [dot] au