Presenting .expub

The Insitute of Network Culture is proud to announce .expub, a Creative Europe reseaarch project about expanded publishing.


Exploring expanded publishing

The project will engage artistic and independent publishers to participate in experimenting with new (combinations of) publishing formats. Together with Akioma, Echo Chamber, and Nero Editions over the next two years we will sum up these experiments with the proposition of an operating model for Expanded Publishing.

What is Expanded Publishing?

Expanded Publishing (EP) relates to practices that go beyond typical publishing in terms of format and technology. In some contexts these practices have different names, from ‘multi-media’ to self-reflective, extended, alternative, hybrid and urgent publishing. However, they all relate to the same: publishing practices that are more inclusive than traditional approaches.  Expanded publishing enables broader means of expression, including more features and inter-format connections, involving readership or peers, using open-source software or licenses and underlying technologies that facilitate better access, integrating metadata of a publication and experimenting with non-publishable art or formats (e.g. an exhibition, a conference).

There is a tendency in recent media theory to qualify or suspend the language of rupture or discontinuity in discussing the relations between “old” media and “new” digital technologies. Instead, older models and arrangements are understood to persist in various forms of hybridity, convergence, remediation or recuperation. At the same time, the old has to compete with the new to remain attractive. For this reason, (paper) print is becoming hypermediated, as it incorporates verbal genres and gestures in a self-conscious imitation of and rivalry with electronic media.

Expanded publishing is a literal expansion of three pre-existing types of publishing: multimedia, hybrid and urgent publishing.

  • Multimedia has its roots in the 1990s and the early internet culture. It is commonly defined as “communication that uses a combination of different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single interactive presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed material or audio recordings, which features little to no interaction between users.” (Wikipedia) Multimedia is a synthesis of different types of media formats brought together in a single presentation or on a single page.
  • Hybrid publishing emerged after the rise of smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets, where the content is published in different medium-specific formats that highlight the distinction between physical and virtual content. Examples are physical books, PDFs, ePUBs, digital long-form essays and websites.
  • In urgent publishing, which emerged over the past years, the notion of time was added to the previous two types of publishing mentioned above. In times of crises and information overload, the ability to make knowledge public at a specific (often urgent) moment in time becomes pressing – aside from formats and quality of the content, the time component of actual publishing becomes hugely important. New strategies such as riso printing and xerox copy machines are growing in importance. Decentralized approaches are an essential aspect of urgent publishing, especially in political use cases.

These practices are rooted in a mix of independent media practices, visual arts, publishing of theory and criticism, artistic research, Do-It-Yourself and experimental practices, perpetrated by underground and technology activists and various small publishers who need to experiment and innovate in order to remain at the forefront and avoid being overshadowed.


This project has been funded with the support of the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.