Clearinghouse Publishers is a project I carried out in the second half of 2010 wherein 20 people were involuntarily subscribed to a monthly magazine. Each month’s issue was different and, in some cases, individual issues are unique. Each issue came with a letter from the editor. The stated mission of the subscription was “the family of Clearinghouse magazines is proud to be both America’s finest dispersal device for stacks and boxes of papers taking up space on the shelves and in the closets of our contributors, as well as an indispensable guide to the culture of our age.”
The more enduring purpose was to engage people in Portland, where my wife and I had recently moved, and in the Bay Area in conversation, and to act as a forum for trying out different modes of communication, many of which riff on (and off) the tone and language of advertising, editorials, and art writing. In the case of Portlanders especially, I made every effort to use materials and ideas as a starting point and a mere means for connection and collaboration.
In short, Clearinghouse Publishers was my rude/crude attempt to move beyond objects, beyond commerce (at least temporarily) by not only giving away the issues, but doing so at an appreciable expense, and to reach out beyond the coffin fog of the internet and make something flesh-and-blood happen. I thought “Let’s just break the rules and throw a bunch of shit at the wall and see what sticks. Why not? It’s just art.”