It'll be April Fools' Day the next time that tenants are expected to pay their rents in North America. An economic ritual apparently too big to fail. Offered here: a shortlist that remembers things otherwise, with a range of rare, ephemeral, and archival materials from radical architects and squatters from the last century. NB: During the COVID-19 crisis, we're committed to working with clients and colleagues to navigate logistical challenges, in regards to customized shipping arrangements, payment accommodations, etc. In general, we subscribe to practices of open-communication and resource-sharing, as we contribute to figuring this out together. Prices are listed in USD. Items are guaranteed to be described and delivered to the collector's satisfaction; returns are acceptable within 10 days of receipt. Reciprocal terms are extended to the trade; institutional policies are accommodated. For purchase inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (+1) 416-729-7043 (or click buttons below). To receive advance copies of future lists, just subscribe to our mailing list. Specific wants are always welcome, from both new and established collectors.
Anglian Diggers Anglian Diggers manifesto / Mount Pleasant... Everywhere.
Cambridge (England): Printed by Galactic Intervention Designs, 1969 and 1973. 750 USD A group of two items, being: (1) a side-stapled pamphlet, composed of three folded sheets (blue, white yellow), with wrappers fully-illustrated in neo-Art Nouveau style. Also illustrated by similarly-styled centrefold to yellow sheet (signed NP). Contents: 8 pp. of mimeographed text. Accompanied by: (2) a broadsheet leaflet, printed on bright pink sheet (25 x 20 cm.). Recto illustrated in collage style, with full page of mimeographed text to verso: entitled Mount Pleasant or Pound Hill? An Anglian Diggers' evaluation.
In 1969, the Anglian Diggers attempted to resurrect the seventeenth century Diggery movement in Southern England: Tear up the concrete, till the soil, occupy abandoned buildings; no rent, no money, no politics, no work. Dig it all up. Here: a scarce copy of their founding manifesto, providing a critique of 20th century society along with a theory of neo-Diggery and a snapshot of their abolitionist programme. With the versos of the illustrated wrappers ornamented with quotes from historical Diggers such as William Balwyn, Gerard Winstanley, William Lyon, and Nigel Pennick. Only a single copy discovered in OCLC and Library Hub holdings (Julio Santo Domingo Collection, Harvard); the British Library preserves a later pamphlet (1974) that elaborates a more developed programme (albeit with less aesthetic flair): favouring the automation of work, the development of environmental consciousness, and the transformation towards free transportation and a cashless society.
The 1969 manifesto concludes with the statement: "Until we have a premises, however, the plan of operating a digger industry will have to remain a plan, as income in either goods or helpers is small." Thus setting the context for the 1973 leaflet that's also present here: where these Diggers take inspiration from the London squatting scene, and call for the occupation of Mount Pleasant. "In the once-fair city of Cambridge is an area which is benefiting no-one. Sound buildings lie empty and abandoned, weeds creep the once-cultivated gardens, trees loom, rubbish rots. Derries are bricked-up to prevent the homeless from using them. Who owns this area? Does anyone? If there is an 'owner,' he does not deserve the title. He is sitting upon a useful area of land of about fifteen acres, waiting for the profits which will come upon redevelopment." The call-to-occupy the abandoned buildings of Mount Pleasant is supplemented with an historical anecdote from 1549: in which Jake of the Style and his Diggers tore down the fences that had been gerrymandered around Cambridge's common land.
[Promotional campaign for inaugural Summer Session of the International Institute of Design]. London: International Institute of Design, 1970. 950 USD Complete set of two perforated sheets (25.5 x 20 cm.), organized into 3 x 5 grid of large stamps (one portrait, the other landscape). Both sheets illustrated after photographs with bold text, printed in monochrome (green and blue). These being fragile survivals, preserved in remarkable condition; the green sheet affected by very light crease and minor stress to one perforation; blue sheet being Fine. With "Sampson Fether" logo printed to bottom of each sheet. Accompanied by the April 1970 issue of Architectural design magazine, with cover art by Richard Yeend (lampooning the Summer Session personalities, seated out-of-doors); pp. 219-238 are dedicated to output from the first Summer Session, with contributors including Reyner Banham, Cedric Price, Peter Cook, and Warren Chalk, along with an advertisement for the 1971 Session, also designed by Sampson Fether.
A scarce survival from the first (of three) “Summer Sessions” at the nomadic International Institute of Design; a pedagogical experiment spearheaded by Alvin Boyarsky—before his long run as Chairman of London's Architectural Association—in an attempt to move the discipline of architecture beyond the conservative/static curricula of its schools. “Senior architectural students, recent graduates, and environmentalists” were invited to apply to the six-week London-based Seminar with their own projects, which would then be developed with the help of an esteemed international Faculty, which included Peter Cook and Warren Chalk of Archigram, Hans Hollein, Cedric Price, and Reyner Banham. (With participants also providing feedback on said Faculty’s own projects).
In addition to allowing him to inflect architectural thought / practice with the more radical potentialities of “design,” the IID also provided Boyarsky with the platform to develop a truly inter-national modernism. In this context, the design firm of Sampson Fether developed an inaugural promotional campaign that assumed philatelic form. Not only did these stamp sheets (when maintained whole) provide integral overviews of the Institute's mission and Faculty—with the Faculty documented in baseball-card style as "Architects of the World"—but they also functioned (in fractal fashion) as branding material, when individual stamps were separated, licked, and embedded into everyday communications. As illustrated in the recent AA monograph on the Institute (In progress, 2016), many of these stamps were affixed to envelopes ferrying acceptance offers, scholarships, and general IID correspondence across the globe. Peter Sampson would eventually become Chairman of the branding consultancy firm Corporate Edge.With no OCLC of Library Hub records discovered for this set. Columbia (Avery) preserves an element from the subsequent 1971 campaign by Sampson Fether, which repurposed historical postcards from Boyarsky's collection.
黒川紀章の作品. [Kisho Kurokawa: his oeuvre]. Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppansha, 1970. 2000 USD Multi-media artist book, housed within original illustrated cardboard slipcase; minor soiling and fading to panels, with joints professionally-restored. Comprising: (1) monograph with gilt-ornamented boards (37 cm)., preserved in original transparent jacket. Contents: 151,  pages, fully-illustrated after black-and-white photography and reproductions of architectural drawings and plans. A handful of pages printed on colour sheets, with bright-pink endpapers. Text in Japanese. Accompanied by: (2) large poster (102 x 72 cm., folded as quarto), with recto printed in vibrant red, orange, and black, featuring a dense collage of photographs, drawings, plans, and text (in both Japanese and English), including the three "Laws of the future" for capsule architecture. Verso features full-sheet collage printed white-and-bright-pink. Accompanied by: (3) composition entitled Music for living space on 7" vinyl record, with illustrated labels to both sides of record; preserved within original illustrated sleeve, printed red-on-white (Near Fine). Record has been digitally-archived to .wav file; included in this group on USB key.
The making of a "starchitect." With this ambitious multi-media publication—featuring a monograph-length portfolio of his architectural works, an experimental vinyl record, and an immense poster that foregrounds a photo of his levitating body—Kisho Kurokawa attempted to cement his reputation as one of the leaders of the Metabolist movement. Produced to coincide with Expo 70 in Osaka, where Metabolism had been given free architectural rein, with Kurosawa alone being commissioned to direct three major building projects.
Both the poster and record operate as manifestos in the context of Kurokawa’s vision of "capsule architecture," as the architecture best-suited to the emerging forms of cyborg and mobile Life. On the record, composed by Yoko Ono's former husband Toshi Ichiyanagi, the six articles of Kurokawa's Capsule creed are intoned by computer-generated voice, as accompanied by the sounds of Gregorian chants and heart-beat.
Collage: an architectural methdology. [B. Arch thesis]. New York: The Cooper Union. School of Architecture, 1970. 2750 USD Side-stapled thesis, composed of 35 letter-sized sheets; some foxing to front and rear covers. Xerographic copy of original typescript, almost certainly first generation; reproducing a handful of manuscript corrections to the original. Contents: title page, followed by epigraph, followed by 32 pages of numbered text, concluding with one-paged appendix.
“I did the whole presentation brief on empty notation paper. I don’t know why, but I like notation paper. It has a yellow tone, it has the lines inscribed on it. Some of you who are musicians might even have a favorite company that produces it. So, one of the first things I did when I entered the [Jewish Museum] competition was to buy this paper. I had somehow to deal with this paper and with the structure of the horizontal lines, which of course I could not compose, but only write my text into and in between. The line on the paper, the color of the paper, and inscribing the paper with words between the lines actually shaded my project at one critical point from being completely deformed. I’ll tell you the story.. I was presenting the project in 1989 to very important administrators for the City Planning Commission of Berlin, to the Senate, and to representatives of the different political parties. Before this meeting, I was told by my friends and colleagues in Berlin that there was one thing in the building that would never be allowed, which was a transgression of the building line on the street, which had been very deliberate on my part. Please, understand that the buildings of Berlin are usually aligned on the street line, and are part of the zoning of a street. I thought that it was very important that the tip of the building, which houses one of the main staircases, violate this line, because it’s only when the line of the street is violated that one can see the collision of... the young modernist and the postmodernist. It is at this point that contemporary building comes together in a geometric and notional point of the plan. Anyway, I was told that this would never be allowed, because there was no procedure in this borough to allow buildings to break the street line. So I went to the meeting, and I had the brief in front of me written on the yellow musical notation paper. There were about thirty administrators and politicians sitting around the table. Before the meeting started, Mr. Dube, was was then in charge of the city planning administration, said ‘Mr. Libeskind, before we begin the discussion, I’d like to ask you a question. Could you explain to us why a reasonable person like yourself would write on music paper?’ Well, this was really a very interesting question, and I started to explain why I bought this music paper and why I thought it was good to write on, but not to compose music. For example, why music paper, when you unfold it, could reveal things that you never see on a plain piece of paper or on an architectural plan. We sat and chatted and then the conversation moved on to Beethoven and Wagner. It was really interesting. After about forty minutes of discussion, the bell rang. The Senate has three bells, and the meeting was over. Everybody left, and I didn't actually understand what had happened, because we hadn’t discussed the issue. We had not discussed the line of the street—could it be possible? We had only discussed the music notation paper. Anyways, it was incredible because some time later I received from the Planning Administration of the Senate of Berlin an approval for breaking the street line. I have always believed that these events were truly not arbitrary; they were not disconnected. The musical line penetrates even the most prosaic meetings of the Berlin Senate and there it explodes and reformulates itself and becomes a kind of a network or a web that cannot even be conceived of in any simple story-line" (D. Libeskind: the space of encounter, 2000).
Dating from the end of Daniel Libeskind's Bachelor of Architecture studies at Cooper Union (1965-1970), this largely unknown thesis corresponds to his contribution to the legendary MoMA exhibition (and Cooper Union publication), Education of an Architect (in the Independent Theses section), in which 11 of Libeskind's collage works were accompanied by a rather obtuse half-page of theoretical text. Delving deeper into the metaphysics of architecture, the present work fleshes-out the post-modern position that motivated those early collage works of Libeskind's, advocating the strategic adoption of collage methods, in order to disrupt the unconscious bias of classical architectural notation. Although Libeskind frames his text with Mayakovsky (epigraph) and El Lissitzky and Schwitters (concluding appendix), there are sophisticated echoes of both Adorno and Derrida throughout. With copies (bound and loose) recorded within the Libeskind Papers at the Getty; otherwise unrecorded by OCLC and not preserved at the Cooper Union student archive.
Synthesis 45. [Prospectus]. Milano: Olivetti. Direzione Relazioni Culturali Disegno Industriale Pubblicità, circa 1970. 950 USD Cardboard portfolio (21 x 30 x 1 cm.), with string-bound closure and titles printed to upper flap; preserved in Near Fine condition, with minor scuffing to rear panel and minor crease to front panel. Complete set of contents preserved loose within portfolio: (1) a summary prospectus of the office furniture system (A4 broadsheets, in double-columns), present here in four translations (English, Italian, German, and French); (2) a leporello (15 x 135 cm.) composed into 9 inter-active panels, printed recto/verso in colour. Titles printed to first panel with remainder of panels featuring illustrations of the modular furniture system (excerpts included in collage below); (3) eleven numbered specification sheets for various modules of the system (numbered 1-1 to 11-1); bifolia, with rectos illustrated after photographs of the system in variable configurations and the versos displaying measured schematics; and (4) two large posters providing overviews of the system, with glossy sheets (41 x 58.5 cm.) illustrated after drawings and colour photographs to both recto/verso. Accompanied by contemporary business card of Rotterdam interior design firm (presumably original owner of this kit).
“As the firm’s production turned increasingly to microcomputers, accounting systems, and telecommunication, it became evident that each piece of equipment would tend to link with others not only functionally but spatially, and that the various units together would make of the whole work environment—the office—a single complex machine. Olivetti concluded that design could not take one or more series of single products as its dimension but must consider connections and relationships between units, inter-unit space as continuity and interval, function and sequence” (from summary sheet included in this kit).
Partially in response to the Herman Miller “action office” (1964), Roberto Olivetti tasked Ettore Sottsass to develop an environmental vision of office furniture and workflows. After two years of research (e.g. into ergonomics, materials, colour theory), the Synthesis 45 system was proposed; with all of the system’s units—desks, filing cabinets, umbrella stands, ashtrays—based upon a grid with a 45 cm. base unit (& hence the name). As prospectus / proof-of-concept, the present portfolio (circa 1970) showcased the proposed system, which went into production in 1972.
The individual spec sheets represent the system in its modular units (through both b&w photographs and diagrams): tables, filing cabinets, desks, bookshelves, panels, storage units, chairs, and accessories—including an ashtray that could be fixed to one of the legs of your chair. But also well-represented: the rigorous approach to colour theory by Sottsass’ design team; much-influenced by the British-born designer Jane Young (later Dillon). Famously associated with the near-impossible-to-find two volume publication L’arte di colorare l’ufficio (1970), Young began working with Sottsass in 1969. The textual summary to this prospectus dedicates an entire full-page column to “the psychological significance of colour in single objects and in the environment as a whole,” with the leporello reproducing the elemental illustrations from L’arte di colorare. This prospectus scarce; with no records discovered via either OCLC or SBN. The copy that’s used to illustrate the recent monograph on Synthesis 45 (published by Olivetti’s Edizioni di comunità in 2016) is identified as sourced from a private collection in Milan.
[A group of archival materials relating to the excavation of ONECITY]. [New York and Zürich], circa 1970-1984. 1200 USD This small archive comprises: (1) a group of five silver gelatin prints (25 x 20 cm., or the reverse), reproducing five of Insley's "/building/" works for ONECITY; being three photo-montages and two drawings, with versos captioned in pencil, providing titles, dimensions, and dates (1968–1970). Accompanied by: (2) two xerographed typescripts; the first being 4 pp. artist statement (The opaque civilization) for his 1984 solo exhibition at New York's Guggenheim, the other being a treatise entitled ONECITY (1980), with minimalist title page followed by 18 pp. of xerographed typescripts. Supplemented by: (3-4) two artist invitations to early Insley exhibitions at the Fischbach Gallery (New York, 1973; 41 cm. square, printed white-on-black semi-glossy sheet) and Annemarie Verna (Zürich, 1976; boldly-printed to A4 sheet); with the latter featuring poetic reflection on Insley's aesthetic unit of the fragment.
"As the Egyptian Labyrinth could not be conceived outside the context of Egyptian history, so ONECITY is inconceivable outside the greater context of its particular time, be that time real or unreal, future or mythological... At some time previous to the existence of ONECITY, cities as we now know them in the United States are in some way destroyed. There is cryptic reference to past great cities weakened by constant excavation, an increase of waste and filth, a sinking into subway sewers and ultimately a crumbling within poisonous black clouds. The cause of this situation is not given. Later marbles are somewhat more specific and describe a sophisticated nomad population shuttling between industrial complexes (presumably spared the poison cloud business) on some extensive circulation system. It is suggested that the ultimate result of this is somewhat chaotic and unfocused. The dream of a city as the hisotried symbol of civilization resurfaces. The desire for a singleness of focus results in the concept of a one-city for the nation's entire population of some 400 million souls" (excerpt from scarce treatise: ONECITY, 1980).
Having studied architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (1955), the New Yorker Will Insley dedicated the next five decades of his life to "excavating" the future civilization of ONECITY—a single squared-spiral of 675 miles across both lengths, located between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. An American City which came to him in visions, and which he sought to reconstruct through fragmentary paintings, drawings, models, and photo-montage studies. Through both visual and textual materials, the present archive documents a crucial phase in this oeuvre, revealing the incredible ambition of Insley's practice: synthesizing conceptual art, radical architecture, and an active strain of religious studies.
The texts included in this archival grouping are of particular interest, especially the lengthy ONECITY treatise (1980), which hasn't been otherwise sourced: with sections detailing Insley's methodology, as well as the history, religion, and architecture of ONECITY, with special attention paid to the Opaque Library and the Theaters of Death. The two exhibition invitations are also noteworthy, carrying-over Insley's "opaque" aesthetic.
As ocupaçoões. [Itália 71. Hoje ocupamos as casas amanhã será a cidade]. [Portugal], circa 1971. 350 USD Handbook, with boldly-illustrated wrappers (20 cm.). This copy with some creasing to wrappers and spine, but otherwise well-preserved. Contents: 60 pages of xerographed typescripts.
An example of the European sphere of influence for the post-Marxist Operaismo movement; an unrecorded Portuguese translation of a tactical treatise originally published by the radical Italian organization Lotta Continua, addressing the means of occupying houses in the Alessandrino neighbourhood of Rome in 1971. The un-named translator introduces the treatise with a 7 pp. argument for why Portuguese workers should begin to mobilize for the occupation of their cities.
Ways of squatting. [Houses: occupation—liberation? An account of the Amsterdam squatters]. [London], 1977. 250 USD Corner-stapled A4 sheets. Contents: 9,  pages of text, with illustrated wrappers; the verso of rear wrapper providing facsimile of a hand-drawn map of Amsterdam (scale 1:100,000 metres), depicting historical waves of urban development. Some creasing to front wrapper, but otherwise well-preserved.
Prepared for a London squatters' conference in 1977. "We are very disappointed about [Union] proposals and ideas within the London squatters movement. Making a bureaucratic political organization for squatters will not stimulate the squatting and other forms of human resistance against bad housing, it will break them down, it will become a 'harmless' political party or union, very easy to control by the authorities. By giving the description of squatting in Amsterdam, we try to show other possibilities of squatting-organisation than the ridiculous union proposals." Includes survey of various squatting strategies and personalities in the Amsterdam scene, with recommended readings, contacts, and a short glossary of Dutch squatting terminology. E.g. "woning-zoekende = a typical Dutch word with no English equivalent, meaning something like 'someone, on search for a home.'" Concludes with a map of Amsterdam's heterogeneous housing stock. With only 2 OCLC records discovered (both in Amsterdam).
Edwards, Mark Christiana: a publication about Europe's free town.
London: The Photographers Gallery, 1979. 350 USD Tabloid format (42 x 29 cm.), with hard horizontal fold. Contents:  pages, illustrated throughout after black-and-white photographs, many full-page.
An excellent specimen of Leftist reportage by Mark Edwards, documenting the everyday life and imaginative infrastructure of the Danish Freetown of Christiana, at the close of its first decade. With a number of long interviews and in-depth analyses (e.g. on the local baker and blacksmith, health services, the theater, the hash market). With single OCLC record discovered (V&A); this version of the images and text was produced to accompany an exhibition at The Photographers Gallery in London; being an abridged version of Edwards' publication with Information Forlag in Denmark (of which there are only 2 OCLC records discovered).
Rajneeshpuram: a blueprint for man's future. Antelope, Oregon: Rajneesh Neo-Sannyas International Commune, 1982. 250 USD Oblong blue wrappers (14 x 20 cm.), titled in white, with peaceful gulls. Some creasing. Contents: 30,  pages. Illustrated throughout after b&w photographs, mostly full-paged, including two portraits of The Bhagwan. Concluding with  pp. of newspaper clippings praising the Rajneeshpuram project.
If you've already watched the documentary Wild wild country, you probably don't need a pitch here. In this document, presumably printed for the benefit of American investors and news media, Ma Anand Sheela—who was later accused of a number of crimes, including the systematic poisoning of the voters of Antelope, Oregon in order to influence the local election results—here documents the utopian vision of Rajneeshpuram, which sought to transform Central Oregon's desolate "Old Muddy Ranch" into a vibrant city for the neo-Sannyan followers of the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later Osho). Offering a twin vision of ecological balance and technological sophistication; commitments to both community and pleasure. The propaganda takes special emphasis to stress the American-ness of the enterprise; with Bhagwan quoted repeatedly as both critic of Communism and lover of the spirit of capitalism. With only 4 OCLC records discovered for this blueprint; two in Oregon.