Aaaaarg - Aaaaarg

AAAAARG even AAAARGH (initially: Aaarg , an acronym for Artists , Architects and Activists Reading Group [1] , German: artists, architects and activists reading circle ) is an online platform for a critical discourse on theoretical texts outside of an institutional framework enable. [2] It was founded in 2005 by Sean Dockray [3] and is intended to support (as a digital platform) self-taught activities. [4]


The Public School project was initiated in Los Angeles in 2008 : a school that aims to support self-taught impulses without a (predetermined) curriculum. In the context of this project, AAARG served as their library. Dockray initially described the project as follows:

„AAAARG is a conversation platform – at different times it performs as a school, or a reading group, or a journal. AAAARG was created with the intention of developing critical discourse outside of an institutional framework.“

“AAAARG is a discussion platform - at different times it appears as a school, reading group or magazine. AAAARG was founded with the intention of developing a critical discourse outside the institutional framework. "

Sean Dockray[5]

AAAARG is an open platform for artists and scientists and aims to help collect, disseminate and discuss a constantly growing catalog of critical, theoretical and philosophical texts. The project's website provides access to books and essays - on critical theory , art , architecture and film - that are linked by various keywords, bibliographic lists ("issues") and an active commentary system.

According to founder Sean Dockray, it was not designed to challenge intellectual property rights , but to renegotiate access issues. Calls for cease and desist from publishers (including Verso Books ) were handled accordingly and the affected works were removed. [3] In 2010 the Macmillan publishing house threatened the project with a lawsuit - including scans of the book “Beyond Capital” - which is why the site was temporarily taken offline. [6]About the platform, scans of books and articles circulate outside their usual channels, as the founder Dockray says in an interview. Pathways often determined by their geographic distribution, price, contracts with publishers, etc., so the platform gives people access to texts they did not have before. [5]

In 2014 AAAAARG was included in the catalog of the Memory of the world.

In the course of an exhibition in 2019 in the House of World Cultures , the project was thematized alongside Monoskop , UbuWeb and as a “ Commons practice ” of web archives . [7]


The website address had to be changed frequently as a result of legal actions. The name as an acronym with an A for Artist, Architects and Activists is no longer up-to-date and has been expanded to include further A's accordingly. [5] [1] Dockray says:

„When people say or write the name they have done it in all kinds of different ways, adding (or subtracting) As, Rs, Gs, and sometimes Hs. It’s had different names over time, usually adding on As as the site has had to keep moving. Since this perpetual change seems to be part of the nature of the project, my convention has been to be deliberately inconsistent with the name.“

“When people say or write the name, they have done it in a number of ways, adding (or subtracting) A's, R's, G's, and sometimes H's. It had different names over time that were usually added on As as the website needed to keep moving. Since this eternal change seems to be part of the nature of the project, my approach was to be consciously inconsistent with the name. "

Sean Dockray[5]

Further web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Jonathan Basile: Who's Afraid of AAARG? In: Guernica. August 25, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2019 (American English).
  2. Aaaaarg - monoscope. Retrieved June 17, 2019 .
  3. a b Jeff Khonsary: Browsing the aaaarg Library. Retrieved June 17, 2019 .
  4. Repertorium: Memory of the World, 28. Oktober 2014, abgerufen am 17. Juni 2019 (amerikanisches Englisch): „ is an online repository with over 50,000 books and texts. It was created by the artist Sean Dockray and serves as a library for the Public School – an online platform that supports offline autodidactic activities. has grown into a community of researchers and enthusiasts from contemporary art, critical theory, philosophy, and related fields who maintain, catalog, annotate and run discussions relevant to their research itnerests.“
  5. a b c d Materialities of Independent Publishing: A Conversation with Aaaaarg, Chto Delat ?, I Cite, Mute, and Neural. October 1, 2011, Retrieved June 17, 2019 (American English).
  6. The Discussion of the Macmillan Threat. April 25, 2010, archived from the original on June 17, 2019 ; accessed on June 17, 2019 (English).
  7. Video installations. House of World Cultures, March 20, 2019, accessed June 17, 2019 .