This is a highly condensed and interpreted history of Brev Spread thus far.
Brev Spread began in August 2002, as the first and second ‘statements’ will attest to, but Brev did not become Brev until it came to a discussion of its name, or more specifically when the final decision on its name fell affirmatively on the polyvalence of the terms ‘brev’ and ‘spread’: Out of strictures from consideration of available resources we alluded to brevity, but out of a historical serious mindedness we alluded to bravery. This inaugural phase of Brev Spread is not so titled ‘Practice’ because we began our adventure with the mindset of advancing in the first few rounds as mere practice. No, never that—this would have been to proceed from the point of view of a fantasmatic absolute knowing, as if we had already quartered entirely the diachronic field of our time and would only initiate ‘actual’ issuing once we passed the threshold of a certain immaturity. Rather, the attribution ‘practice’ is given here retrospectively, since what Brev became to become was something inconceivable from the coordinates of the original outset. Practice here, to look forward to the present, is not praxis, and it is the dynamic of reflexivity that has given rise to the possibility of a true practice for the test of what was to come, and is now here. In our beginnings, yes, we were testing out the waters, situating ourselves conscientiously and with all perceived due casting and respect of our neighbors, but all this transpired in a very committed way. We hired, we attempted advertising and finding patrons, distributed our home-printed issues, we spoke and shared and invested in time and faculties. What defined this phase was that therein was installed a seed that we did not know would mutate into what will return in the third and current phase: guerrilla warfare.
Yet, our operations were ineffective by any standard. We readjusted to our limitations by springing out from notions of community towards our hopes of actually bringing onboard our contributors. This phase I term ‘axis’ as an adoption of how the lateral dimension became central, that we were not thinking merely on our feet and out of a pure will. We were adulterating our waters with the brilliances of our partners as a way of siphoning gold from the open forum we were molding Brev into. At the time we were realizing what reach we had as our monthly submissions increased, and to make the most of our exposure and to narrow down our selections we resorted to thematizing our issues by writing traditional calls for papers (CFPs) and posting them around towns. This was effective in building suspense and gathering names such that this phase of our history is defined by such thematically organized issues, and culminating in our project to line up various artists to ‘curate’ our issues. This last stretch is most evident in our fifteenth issue on ambivalence, and the axis of thematizing by curation behind that issue was supposed to continue indefinitely. In fact, we wanted this mode of publishing to be our contribution to the art world; we wanted to show that everybody can be given a voice and creative controls in massive media, as behind the designated lead in curation would be our support in the form of editing and formatting. After the ambivalence issue (number fifteen) we had already planned to put together an issue curated by a New York City art collective, and I had hopes to follow that issue up with one curated by a former contributor who is now teaching at an experimental school. There term ‘axis’ in all of this was lateral and wide in that it took the founding concept of community to the next exponent by redoubling upon itself at the point of social conjugation, formalized in the question, How can we speak the transitive ‘to be’ in the first person plural? The axis at hand was thus the dimension of plurality broken into through the reflexive bursting of our own issues. Naturally, our fifteenth issue became too much for us to satisfactorily release publicly. That issue is still being produced as of the writing of this short history.
The question before was divisive: How can the individual press upon the world the changes he sought were urgently needed? The question now is decisive: How can the world emerge in the first place? Always we have been working between the notions of the subject and the world, and now we have turned in on ourselves, in which we are taking the world with us insofar as experience insists that we are, in fact, part of that very world. As our May 2015 statement implies, in moving dialectically we also move accordingly in praxis, understood in the classical sense of the synthesis of theory and practice. Our praxis will visibly assert itself in the content and increased selectivity of the works we publish. There simply will be a more numerically and qualitatively concentrated will at hand on our part as we further locate and build upon the already immense talents that we are graced with, all while ourselves creating the types of art that we would like to see more often in our inboxes. Hoping to create a short circuit by cutting out any ‘middlepersons’ we each can only not exempt ourselves from the high standards we uphold to the rest of the world in our respective crafts, so that the mirror that we might represent would only be the mirage of those who might want to see a magazine that sees itself over the heads of its veritable peers. Against fantasy and easy inroads upon achievement, we use our own heads as gavels whose judgments can only resound in the works that the world might foster in the twisted returns that any self-consciousness would find to produce.