An Important Message from the OS

January 2022

We’re facing one of the most profound times in recent human history, simultaneously full of possibility and bringing up our deepest, most challenging fears. Right now, I’m asking myself how to prioritize care for self, kin, and community while also honoring my commitment to this organization, and the incredible network of humans it supports and represents. We’ve continued to make some critical decisions between 2020 and today about how we would address the complexities presented by not only the global pandemic, but everything it draws into sharp focus about the failures of capitalism and its attendant forms and institutions. Our major points of focus at the current are outlined below. 

What it boils down to, though, is this: there is the what of an organization like this one, and then there is the why. And the why of the OS has always been to create and model alternative systems for long term mutual aid, sustainability, and deeply lasting change beyond the confines of capitalism. We know that many people ID us as a “press,” because it’s the thing in the current system we appear most like, though the language around this experiment has always been that publishing / documentation is a mode in which we ask our questions, is a form of guiding theory into practice, rather than the goal or even central focus of what we do.

The last few years have been crucial ones as it has become clear that this public, perceptual slippage was perhaps a dangerous one, undermining the true motivating factors of this project. I’ve worked, with the help of OS community collaborators, to re-center the building and sharing of the system-transformational tools and infrastructures that have always been the heart of this project. Direct action is needed, direct service, moreso than the longer term processes and experiments that rely on a supply chain, and labor, that can no longer be understood in the same way. Protecting and providing for the humans at every point in that supply chain is far, far more important that the physical outcomes of projects we might have originally envisioned.

But it’s a pivot, a transformation, not a closure. A radical statement of possibility and power. A commitment to direct support and to creating and offering evergreen tools, strategies and infrastructures that can scale and be used by individuals and organizations near and far, now and into the future. 

1)  We’ve continued to update our  Open Resource Hub with a wide variety of tools for organizing, for tech, for artists — for all our people, and others, to use. In particular, we’ve been developing the OS Autonomous Design Resource / Open Project Tools set, where you can learn to create and assist others in the creation of documentation and other media using the OS model.  Follow us on IG at @the_operating_system for daily updates, resource shares, and more offerings.

2) We’ve directed our attention to the foundation and activation of Liminal Lab, an agile, all-access, experimental platform for anti-hierarchical, decolonial, peer to peer learning across disciplines, as well as a hub for resource sharing, performance, and collaboration. Since June of 2020 there have been 30+ original workshops and other programs, from 40+ diverse facilitators, serving 226 workshop participants, and hundreds of additional audience members. Over 50% of our workshop participants chose the low or no cost registration fee options on our no-questions-asked sliding scale.

3) While we no longer have a live webstore shipping our 150 titles by hand, we continue to offer direct preorder of upcoming titles, and recommend placing all orders of our in-print titles through our Bookshop storefront. Any out of print titles are being rolled over to either in-print status or have been added to our Open Access Library.

4) Since our inception, the OS has published all of our projects on a Creative Commons license, rare for print books, with an intention to open these up to networked access and distribution for those who could not afford to purchase and otherwise could not access copies of our works. We’d long planned to offer these on a fully Open Access database on our site, and finally in 2020 we also unveiled the OS Open Access Library where visitors can find and download all of our publication projects in digital form.

5) We continued to publish and nurture hybrid projects across media in particular, and released 16 incredible projects in 2020 and 2021. We’ve announced the release of six more projects, with more to come from our soon to be released inaugural Autonomous Mechanics Field Practice cohort, and in collaboration with other community members and organizations. You can continue to find information about these here, and preorder some of these projects today! Release events and other public programs can be found here, we hope you’ll join us.

Our goal, right now, is to care for our extended community, humans in an uncertain future, the planet and ourselves not only right now but for the long haul, anticipating the major changes ahead, sharing tools and strategies and resources and kindness, and allowing for ease in our own days as our exhausted, stressed bodies require. We hope for that for you, too.

In solidarity and possibility, always.

Elæ Moss, Founder and Creative Director


“In a world of disrupt and competition and polar dichotomies,
The Operating System crucially widens space for what is possible.”


 “A revelation…what publishing should be but rarely is”


“Here is an organization that accepts no boundaries between forms, and views literature as inseparable from the rest of the arts,… a rarity, a potent force in lineage with the great art-book publishers of the past.”


 “Working with The OS is like coming home.”

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