This is the thirty-first in Entropy’s small press interview series, where we ask editors about their origins, their mission, and what it’s like to run a press. Find the other interviews from this series in our Small Press Database here and under the Resources tab at the top of the page.
Submission Guidelines: Open/rolling, with two parameters: The work is ‘complete’ (i.e. not a fragment of a larger work), and does not appear elsewhere. Exceptions apply, pending correspondence.
Interview with J. Gordon Faylor, Editor
How did Gauss PDF start?
Gauss PDF was first envisioned as an archive for recordings by various writers and artists who were not represented elsewhere. When it launched in 2010, however, that specificity gave way to a platform/label that would enable general filetype publication (e.g. zip files, jpgs, mp3s, pdfs, etc.).
Tell us a bit about Gauss PDF. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Disjunction and difference are embraced; the ‘probability distribution’ pun of the publication’s title may be interpreted as articulating a kind of range of aesthetic or compositional values, and thus a body of works that can be cleanly and hermeneutically dispensed (or dispensed with). However, because these values are contingent on an ever-extending amalgam of entries, they are given to an indeterminacy and fluctuation that destabilizes such a consideration. To put it another way, GPDF is not a PDF publisher, nor exclusively a publisher of poetry/writing, for that matter.
Quasi-curated and open archives were among initial inspirations for the site, as were numerous small record labels and presses (some of which are listed in the response to Question 4). And friends, naturally. While I’ve been told that some people claim to recognize a ‘Gauss PDF’ aesthetic, an internal (and constant) struggle against my own taste and curatorial sensibility leaves me uncertain.
The platform itself is quite thin and/or minimal; efforts tend toward fostering interdisciplinarity and formal experimentation, so as to provoke a possible reimagining or reconfiguring of the medium or media underpinning a particular work, and with which that work is eventually executed.
Promotion of published work is consigned to Twitter, and thus reliant to some extent on social networks and external critical apparati. No blurbs, either. And no mission. One is invited to haphazardly investigate and/or enjoy fluidity between genres via a subjectively sequenced catalog of wide-ranging material and structural practices.
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
Up to a dozen releases are scheduled before May. Files, folders, genres, and combinations thereof are always welcome.
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
Multifarious content and distribution thereof by entities including ORWORSE, Basic Editions, TROLL THREAD, Lateral Addition, Leaving Records, Make Now Press, Hysterically Real, Veneer Magazine, futow, Krupskaya, SUS, psalmus diuersae, Area Sneaks, Insert Blanc Press, Convolution Journal, Eclipse, Bon Aire Projects, Cleveland Tapes, eohippus labs, Mondo Bummer, Wonder Books, Semiotext(e), Urbanomic/Sequence, Armed Cell, Primary Information, ubuweb, Glass Press, Fit Form Function, Counterpath Press, Internet Archive, OSR Tapes, and XVNMY, among others.
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Gauss PDF?
Hosting and domain services amount to about $200 on an annual basis; POD services remain free via Lulu. All publications are free for download or sold at-cost. As such, financial considerations are not as pressing for GPDF as they are for traditional and/or print-oriented operations.