Urgency Reader is a quick assembling of texts, risograph printed in Pawtucket, RI, and bound as a book at the last minute to launch at the Odds and Ends Art Book Fair at Yale University Art Gallery on December 6, 2019. Suggested topics from the open call included ⊹urgency, ⊹craft ⊹queerness ⊹gender ⊹transformation ⊹kinship ⊹race ⊹survival ⊹post-apocalyptic practice ⊹futurity ⊹pedagogy ⊹surveillance capitalism ⊹death of capital ⊹radical publishing ⊹decolonization ⊹augmentation ⊹resistance ⊹sci-fi ⊹collective care ⊹joy
Inspired by Omnibus News #1 (1969), Assembling (1970–87), and other assembling publications, Urgency Reader is an experiment in publishing as a gesture of call and response: the quick circulation of a charged collection of texts—in some cases raw, in-progress, or sketchy—to a small but deeply engaged audience. As the poet Karl Young wrote in his forward to Assembling #12, such publications “can be read as chance-generated collages, and as spontaneous pieces of printed performance art.” A total of eighty contributors far and wide sent 467 pages of work in just under two weeks, signaling a need to publish urgently, but less preciously, on non-corporate platforms. I used my stapler’s maximum capacity to determine the page count (126 sheets + cover bound with 5/8 inch staples). The goal of the edit was to be as inclusive as possible, at times asking contributors to compact their submissions in order to free up space for others. The order of the texts as they appear in the book was determined by chance by assigning a series of random integers from random.org to the alphabetical list of contributors.