Ulises Friends School
Ulises Friends School by Ulises
In simplest terms, Ulises is a bookshop and project space dedicated to artists’ books and independent art publications. In truest terms, Ulises is a collection of musings, longings, and assorted activities brought together by a group of friends. This is to say that friendship is the medium, ethos, and structure of Ulises. Since opening in Philadelphia in 2016, Ulises has offered a diverse inventory of independent publications available for sale, however, the spirit of this work has always been relational as opposed to transactional. Friendship, as a practice of mutual trust, hospitality, intimacy, generosity, and care, has been central to our work internally as a group and externally in our collaborations with artists, supporters, and audiences. Moreover, these tenets of mutual cooperation lie at the core of what sustains communities of independent art publishing: circulating ideas, caring for collections, and making space.
Modeled on the alternative variation of a “Friends School”—a quintessentially Philadelphian mode of education based on the tenets of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)—these three workshops invite participants to map their own friendships; listen in on lectures; write letters; interrogate complex friendships; reflect in Quaker-style meetings; learn about and create Mail Art (an early precursor to today’s world of interconnectedness); and most importantly, make friends. Ongoing activities, with supplies provided, include making friendship bracelets, watching classic films on friendship, and connecting with a new pen pal. All participants will have the opportunity to be included in a cumulative publication, a “Yearbook[let]” made over the three workshop periods.
Day 1: “With Friends Like These…”
Participants reflect on the idea of networks—from the structures of the art world to one’s own friendships—and one’s place in them. The workshop begins with a lecture on Lucy Lippard’s “Six Years” and centers on a participatory drawing workshop of mapping networks, both personal and beyond.
Day 2: “Truth be Told / You Didn’t Hear it From Me…”
Inspired by Ulises Carrión’s Gossip Scandal and Good Manners (1981), in which Carrión transformed the social practice of gossip, rumor, and scandal into a public project. Participants will engage in a series of activities exploring gossip as a form of communication, collective creation, and public resource.
Day 3: “Let’s Stay in Touch”
The third and final workshop centers on the idea of Mail Art. The workshop includes a lecture on Mail Art (from Ray Johnons’s Correspondence School to early BBS messaging) and an activity in which participants will create their own mail art and write a letter to a friend. Supplies and postage will be provided.
19–21 April 2023
Collective vegan lunch from 12:00–13:00 hrs. Meal included in the enrollment fee. The abundance and variety of the menu depends on the luck of the b.ASIC a.CTIVIST k.ITCHEN’s dumpster dive.
Registration on individual days is welcome.
Capacity: 20 participants
Participants are encouraged to BYOB (bring your own book) on the first day.