|ANTINOMIAN PRESS A PUBLISHING PROJECT BY BEN KINMONT|
In 1990 I began to conduct projects out on the street. The first was "I am for you" and it involved the distribution of four different flyers, or "catalytic texts" as I called them, to 11,750 people. For the following several years I wrote, printed, and distributed "catalytic texts" as a means to initiate my projects. Then, in 1995, I thought of expanding the activity to include the projects of others with a focus on ephemera and archival material.
In 1995, in an effort to understand and clarify what I was doing, I decided to leave my galleries. At first, I wrote project descriptions, listed the contents of the archives, and then mailed the publication to friends and a few others that I thought were interested in similar issues. But then, after speaking with a friend, I realized that I could also make publications about others, including those in the past whose works might have been forgotten and were only reachable through their notebooks and archives. It was then that the Antinomian Press began.
The Antinomians were radical Protestants who were well known for their attack on ecclesiastical government and for advocating religious freedom. Among the Antinomian groups were writers who argued for the common ownership of property and against the privatization of public space; for all members of society to have a say in government; and for the freedom of speech and open assembly. However, as much as these radicals were precursors to Enlightenment thought, they were also considered by many to be heretics and advocates of anarchy.
The Antinomians also occupy an important place in mid-17th century English printing history. Due to the English Civil War, there was a sudden collapse of censorship and a subsequent exponential increase in the printing of broadsides and tracts. Much of this street literature was devoted to radical religious and political debate and this idea of those on the margins utilizing print to get their ideas out to others, seemed a worthwhile reference point for a publishing venture about project art and its precedents. It was also a way for me to consider project art within a context larger than that of the contemporary art scene.
A practical note about distribution: whenever possible, the publications are given away for free. If you wish to print, distribute, or exhibit any of them, it is not necessary to inform me. I just ask that you continue the distribution in the spirit for which it was intended and remember to change the colophon page to reflect the place of publication, the date, and number of copies printed.
A final note about our printer's mark: the figure used on our colophon page is a detail from a copper engraving in Benjamin Spencer's Chrysomeson; a golden meane or a middle way for Christians to walk by, London, 1659. The frontispiece is remarkable for its depiction of numerous different radical groups from the Interregnum period including the Adamites, Brownists, Familists, Levellers, Quakers, and Seekers as well as the Antinomians.