STUFF: Paul Chan and Badlands Unlimited

by Badlands Unlimited on March 18, 2013 · 5 comments STUFF

[Editor’s note: Are you having trouble understanding artists through their art? Understand them through their STUFF instead. Art history never elucidates the importance of the artist’s dual role as creator and person who owns STUFF, even though STUFF is important: it’s what accumulates when you make decisions. Owning someone’s STUFF helps you channel their spirit and personal brand.

This is our tribute to STUFF. From books, to art works, to phony iPads, these lists will contain both the common and the strange.  We kick our new weekly series off with Paul Chan and Badlands Unlimited.]

Founded in 2010 by Paul Chan, and consisting of artists Ian Cheng, Micaela Durand, and Matthew So,  Badlands Unlimited publishes e-books, limited edition paper books, and artist works in digital and print forms. This year Badlands has published AD BOOK by BFFA3AE, an ebook for the Apple iPhone/iPad, and Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews by Calvin Tomkins, in softcover and ebook for Apple iPhone/iPad and Amazon Kindle.


Wooden iPad

When our other iPads are out of power we use this one. It’s the one device that always works.


Gold Star Member Costco card

Many ingredients go into making the right kind of book: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, salmon, roasted turkey slices, mixed nuts, and so on.


Surviving Death by Mark Johnston (Princeton, 393 pp, 2010)

Surviving Death is a rigorous philosophical account of how to survive death without supernatural explanations or God(s) of any kind? The only books really worth publishing are those that exude an air of impossibility.


Untitled drawing by John Allan Thorton Michael Joseph Jackson (pencil on paper, 12” X 18”, date unknown)

A street artist from Chicago made this beautiful drawing, which we have adopted as Badland’s business model.


The view outside

Somewhere out there, work is getting done. Somebody’s something’s got to go somewhere, some when,  not too distant in the future.


Spotify #atthestudio playlist

Gets us through Mondays and Tuesdays.


Continuous Partial Awareness by Cory Arcangel (pdf, 2008-2009)

Whenever we don’t know what to publish, we dip into Cory’s classic pdf, and think about doing something with 3D teapots.


Vase by Travess Smalley (plaster and paint on plastic, 16 ½” X 12” X 15”, 2012)

Artist Travess Smalley, who contributed to Badlands’ ebook  How To Download A Boyfriend, showed this work at the Badlands table 2012 New York Art Book Fair. Enchanting, isn’t it?


The Signal and the Noise: Why Many Predictions Fail but Some Don’t by Nate Silver (Penguin, 544pp, 2012)

Badlands predicts with 100% certainty that nature doesn’t care about ebooks, contemporary art, the publishing industry, Nate Silver, or Badlands. The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver


Algeria by Kathy Acker (Aloes Books, 30pp, first edition, 1984)

The first sentence is, “I am fucking you and you are coming you have a hard time coming you breathe hard you have periods when you strain to come then your cock withers you strain to come again.” Algeria by Kathy Acker


GiovanniGF March 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I thought the point was understanding the art, not the artist?

Paddy Johnson March 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Yes, but the two are connected no?

GiovanniGF March 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm

It’s a huge debate, worthy of its own post. I’m too lazy to write it myself, but I’ll certainly tweet about it!

GlenNBlackkman March 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I don’t even work at Badlands but this makes me feel good about my life!

b^dlnds March 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm


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