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Werkplaats Typografie’s exhibitor project “Nonoki” at Los Angeles Art Book Fair (LAABF) 2019 (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair is back in Los Angeles, bringing a dizzying number of programs and vendors to the Geffen Contemporary. For attendees looking for a diversion, five special exhibitor projects carve out unique spaces for play and commerce.

At Gagosian, a desktop record lathe is set up to produce limited run vinyl records for sale. Throughout the weekend, the space will press the latest record from artist Spencer Sweeney’s band I.U.D. in real time.

For fans of tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, Werkplaats Typografie offers Nonoki, a “Live Experience Role Play” (LERP) game whose mechanics seem as inscrutable as the fictional company that produces it. Whether it’s actually fun to play is hard to say, but the full board game set and individual game pieces are on sale for the adventurous.

Corita Art Center at LAABF 2019

Nearby, the Corita Art Center has mounted a small exhibition of the late artist and activist Corita Kent’s silkscreen prints and photographs, a nice segue into the adjacent Friendly Fire section of the fair that features small press editions focused on political and cultural activism. There, Paper Cuts, a collaboration between artists Sara Greenberger Rafferty and David Kennedy Cutler, has built a free-standing structure that doubles as exhibition space and vendor booth.

An excerpt from a new essay by artist Hito Steyerl, who has written in defense of the “poor” image, heralds the age of “first AIs, of poor, partially-developed artificial intelligences,” at the project space hosted by Anteism Books and Google’s Artists+Machine Intelligence (A+MI) program. “Poor” AIs are the creators of artworks in the project’s exhibition: paintings, photographs, and poetry made by increasingly sophisticated algorithms and machines. At a fair that still values the primacy of the handmade, it’s an interesting look at the ways in which authorship and creativity are being complicated in the face of technological advancements.

Gagosian’s exhibitor project at LAABF 2019

Installation view of Paper Cuts’ exhibitor project “Duplex”

Close-up view of “Duplex”

Installation view of New Technologies, New Visions, a project by Anteism Books and Google

Anna Ridler, “Untitled (Tulips)” (2018) featured in New Technologies, New Visions

Mike Tyka, “Portraits of Imaginary People” (2017), chromogenic color-prints featured in New Technologies, New Visions

Tom White, “Perception Engines” (2018), two-color risograph prints featured in New Technologies, New Visions

Printed Matter’s Los Angeles Art Book Fair 2019 continues at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles) through April 14.

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Abe Ahn

Abe is a writer based in Los Angeles.