A workshop by Ladies of the Press* at Five Years

The Trojan Horse of marketing is coming for you. It’s small, local and dangerous. It uses hipster typography and claims to be ‘just like you’. It mimics your personality, commodifies it, and sells it back to you.

It is flooded with ‘sponsored content’. It talks to you: ‘Hello and welcome’, it says. Welcome to your community. It is utilising deceptive marketing in your area. It says, don’t forget, we’re in this together. Targeted advertisements. ‘Recommended for you’, it says. It celebrates you and your choices. It’s telling you sign up to a dating site. It will try to pull at your heartstrings and eat your wallet.

The pamphlet. It first appeared in the16th century, the pamphlet has been one of the most popular and populist printed formats for spreading propaganda. Low cost and grassroots appeal. It challenged dominant discourse for centuries.
Today, the pamphlet has largely lost its revolutionary credentials. But it still works. A powerful medium for the proliferation of ideas and a tool for critiquing culture and society. But we want to talk through this with you. Like social media without the curse of the Zuckerberg Claw. We will look at typography. Language. Let’s talk about the political pamphlets of the 1580s that fuelled the Reformation all the way through what we might see as the community based, the hyper local, the special interest, the hipster, the arty, the religious. And so on. But wait, who paid for that pamphlet?

The Ladies of the Press* are Ana Čavić and Renée O’Drobinak: a performative press duo that re-imagines the role of the publisher and the publicist into a theatrical persona. Their decidedly multifarious practice involves mincing together print and performance in impromptu settings, often with unexpected results—in print, but not necessarily printed. Their work, on or off the page, enacts a ‘press’ through a multitude of guises, reinterpreting the act of “pressing” in an ongoing series of performances that play on the rules and roles of publishing, engage with a readymade idea of press and locate it firmly in contemporary art practice.
Ana and Renée are known to appear (and disappear) in matching costumes at private views and arts events in a myriad of personas, including: press desk personalities; publicists reporting from under the table; on-the-go publishers inviting spectators to join their signature LIVE PRESS! performances of impromptu on site, against-the-clock zine-making. It’s a theatre of the bizarre celebrating all things print—press and publishing through role-playing and performativity, involving chance elements and audience participation.

Saturday 12 May 2018
Ladies of the Press*