Intangible Publications was founded in 1996 as a nonprofit Web publisher devoted to the arts and humanities, featuring writing, art and photography from around the world, with a vision of taking independent publishing to a new level.
The Internet was just catching on, and many people didn't know what a website was. Amazon was trying to get people to buy books through them instead of going to stores. Some people in San Francisco had built a kind of online garage sale they called eBay. Google and Facebook didn't exist. Netscape was the only real browser, and Yahoo was a common email address. It was an exciting time.
The name "Intangible" originated from a quote by the Roman poet Lucretius, in his work The Way of Things, written in the first century, BCE. Describing the natural world as he understood it, he wrote, "There is a vacuity in things. By vacuity I mean intangible and empty space. Without it, things could not move at all."
Our intention was to provide that "intangible and empty space" where art and words and ideas had room to move.
We were based on the west coast of the United States, but we especially wanted to transcend national borders. And it seemed that just by being open to that, it happened.
We heard from Duncan McLean, having no idea that he and James Kelman and Irvine Welsh were on the verge of blowing open Scottish writing. We published Leila Aboulela before she had published any books, much less won the inaugural Caine Prize for African writing. We received a series of emails written in Chinese from a photographer in Guangzhou. Luckily, one of our board members lived in a university town and was able to find someone to translate. We published reports about archeology in Micronesia, indigenous music in the Philippines, and an exhibit of documentary photographs done with a hand-made camera. And our flagship essay by E. R. Beardsley, "Digital Gutenberg," erased all borders of space and time.
Every day was a new possibility; we had no idea who we might hear from next.
The site ceased its publishing in 2002, but the original vision never died. Work that is worth reading and seeing is always worth reading and seeing. And in that spirit, we have maintained the site in its original form. We invite you to look around, return to it as the spirit moves you, and to pass on the word as you see fit. All works published by Intangible are copyrighted by their respective writers and artists.
If you have any questions about Intangible or work on the site, you can write to the postal address below or send a message to steve (at) hereontheedge (dot) com.
Thank you for your interest, and remember to give room for things to move.
Intangible Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 51014
Eugene, OR 97405