Breaking Protocol

Event Info

In a series of private unstructured conversations held over Zoom in 2021, transdisciplinary Anishinaabek artist Maria Hupfield invited international Indigenous performance artists to visit together in community. Ranging from makers to stand-up comedians, these artists in turn invited other performers to join these conversations staged as a series of informal coffee breaks, creating an intimate virtual community built around a collaborative network grounded in trust. These conversations were convened in the context of Hupfield’s 2020–2022 Borderlands Fellowship project, a joint initiative of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics (VLC) at the New School and the Center for the Imagination in the Borderlands (CIB) at Arizona State University. At a time when performance and collective gathering is limited, artist books provide a space to present performance art as a means of carrying oral tradition, activating Indigenous knowledge, embodying liberation, and thinking through critical accountability with Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples across borders and land.

Building on these exchanges, Hupfield’s forthcoming artist book, Breaking Protocol (Vera List Center and Inventory Press, 2023) poses the questions:

  • How do we translate performance as a living art form connected to specific bodies, peoples, and land, to book form while avoiding the pitfalls of the archive as a static object?
  • What stories become political agents in the liberation of the archive from its colonial underpinnings and structure?
  • What can we learn from Indigenous artistic modes of making and practice that art based in notions of place to open spaces for reciprocity and multiplicity?

For the Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference, Hupfield and VLC Assistant Director of Editorial Initiatives Re’al Christian will discuss the development of Breaking Protocol, which features contributions by each of the participants and the ways in which the project brings visibility to the performative, or the performative, through an anticolonial, Native lens.


About CABC

Initiated in 2008 by a group of independent volunteers, the Contemporary Artists’ Book Conference presents in depth talks, panels, and conversations to further the critical dialog surrounding artists’ books. CABC Now administered by Center for Book Arts, the CABC committee is made up of a group of independent historians, art librarians, artists, and professionals in the field, sessions cover a range of lively topics from artists, scholars, and other leading figures.

The Contemporary Artists’ Book Conference is a long time programing partner of Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs. The 2022 conference is scheduled to take place virtually in October 14 & 15, 2022 in conjunction with Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair.

See the full conference schedule and visit the archive here.

About Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs

Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs are among the leading international gatherings for the distribution of artists’ books, celebrating the full breadth of the art publishing community.

Printed Matter presents the 2022 NY Art Book Fair taking place October 13–16, 2022 at 548 W. 22nd Street. NYABF returns to the historic location of Printed Matter’s first Art Book Fair, right around the corner from our Chelsea bookstore! After three years apart, we are grateful to have this opportunity to reunite in person and celebrate the history and future of artists’ book publishing together.

Learn more about NYABF at

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