FREE TEXT: The Open Source Reading Room / Stephanie Syjuco

Commissioned by ZERO1 and presented with the support of the James Irvine Foundation

FREE TEXT: The Open Source Reading Room (2012) is an installation that functions as a physical archive, public reading room and actual production site for collected texts dealing with the thorny issues of digital copyright, open source culture, and the state of the intellectual commons in the 21st Century. Using only articles and texts found online, an on-site project librarian will download, print, and bind these works for public reading access, creating "re-printed" works from digital files. The texts are curated around the history of the open source movement, creative commons, remix culture, and challenges to copyright in the digital era, engaging the public in a lively dialogue of ownership and public access. File sharing and copyright infringement—of media, entertainment, creative works, and intellectual property—are hot political and cultural topics in a world increasingly seeking to commodify the production and dissemination of ideas and information. The internet has created a seemingly endless amount of ways in which information can be spread, much to the consternation of copyright holders. Surprisingly, not only music and media are illicitly shared online, but also texts, which are sometimes scanned directly out of books and traded within the academic community. A quick internet search can uncover an amazing amount of them, many ironically being themselves about open source culture and copyright. In a much larger context, the fight for access to cultural resources can also be linked to the fight for physical resources, such as in the field of agriculture and bioengineering, where corporations are claiming patents on genes of plants and animals. FREE TEXT: The Open Source Reading Room is a space devoted to an urgent and pressing topic that will shape how the future accesses and produces culture.

Stephanie Syjuco currently has an open exhibition at the Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco

This project is presented as part of the exhibition 
Seeking Silicon Valley at the ZERO1 Garage 
September 12-December 8, 2012
Admission is free

Stephanie Syjuco

lives and works in San Francisco, CA

Artist website


Stephanie Syjuco's recent work uses the tactics of bootlegging, reappropriation, and fictional fabrications to address issues of cultural biography, labor, and economic globalization. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, creating frictions between high ideals and everyday materials. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, "COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone" for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at SFMOMA exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010).