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.
Email: janekarnowski [at] gmail [dot] com
Email: amita [dot] kirpalani [at] gmail [dot] com
Email: jfnichols88 [at] gmail [dot] com