Unbidden Tongues publishes previously produced yet relatively uncirculated work by cultural practitioners busy with questions surrounding civility and civic life—particularly in relation to language and its administration. Editorially speaking, it additionally operates as a bibliographic output for an artistic practice based in writing.
Each title is staple bound, printed in black-and-white and made with the intention to keep production efforts low, easily reproducible and financially sustainable, so as to contribute as effectively as possible to a wider circulation of the work.
Unbidden Tongues titles are also available at:
After 8 Books, Paris
Fenrick Books, New York
Good Press, Glasgow
Hopscotch Reading Room, Berlin
Kunstverein München, Munich
Pro qm, Berlin
San Serriffe, Amsterdam
Unbidden Tongues #1: Introverse Arrangements is centred on
the work of German artist Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt who, despite only recently garnering attention for her work, is most known for a period of geometric and poetic typewriter drawings produced between the 1970s and 1990 while employed as an administrator for the German Democratic Republic.
Published: January 2020
Dimensions: 18.5 x 11 x 0.5cm
Unbidden Tongues #2: Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking and Censorship is a two-part collection of poems by typesetter, activist and poet Karen Brodine. First published posthumously in 1990 as a reflection on her life as a typesetter, union organiser and lesbian, this series of ‘work poems’ chronicles labour struggles, both personal and collective, and draws on her experience growing up surrounded by socialist feminists immediately following the wrath of McCarthyism.
Published: July 2020
Dimensions: 22.5 x 14 x 0.6cm
Unbidden Tongues #3: Necessary Questions consists of an internal report written by conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper in 1998 that takes Wellesley College, Massachusetts—where she was then on staff—as a case study in institutional racism and neglect. As such, the report could be read simply as an administrative document, though one drenched in meticulously clear advice that could still be, despite being written twenty-three years ago, taken up on a glaringly universal level. Yet the role the report went on to play in Piper’s life proves it’s not just a context-specific document, but an all-too-real example of exactly what it stood against: the ways in which the langue of protocol and the false façade of civility are utilised as tactics to ensure that one stays in their place.
Published: January 2021
Dimensions: 23.5 x 20 x 0.8cm
Unbidden Tongues #4:
Oral Informants draws on the work of Australian social historian Janet McCalman who, in 1998, published a comprehensive history of the Melbourne Women’s Hospital. Written through the medical records of the women who were at one time or another the hospital’s temporary residents, McCalman’s account draws on a vast archive of 14,000 gynaecology records and over 70,000 midwifery records to build the hospital’s history through the administrative documents that litter its archive. Composed of an article written by McCalman in 1999 as well as a case file of original nursing notes, Oral Informants presents the ethics and process of penning a (medical) history lesson uniquely based in the oral testimony of women.
Published: July 2021
Dimensions: 22.5 x 14 x 0.6cm