17 Dexter Sinister: From the Toolbox of a Serving Library

with Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt

Program dates: July 4, 2011 - August 12, 2011

Application deadline: April 1, 2011

Program Information

In 2006 Dexter Sinister (David Reinfurt & Stuart Bailey) established a workshop and bookstore of the same name in New York, and have since explored aspects of contemporary publishing in diverse contexts. As well as designing, editing, producing, and distributing both printed and digital media, they have also worked with ambiguous roles and formats, usually in the live contexts of galleries and museums. These projects generally play to some form of site-specificity, where a publication or series of events are worked out in public over a set period of time.

Dexter Sinister intend to slowly dissolve all such activities into one single institution, The Serving Library. This overarching project is founded on a consideration of how the role of the library has changed over time -- from fixed archive, through circulating collection, to point of distribution. As much about The Library as social furniture as it is a specific model, the project ultimately returns to its point of departure: as a place for learning. Over the past couple of years, Dexter Sinister have set up a number of temporary, model versions of The Serving Library in different places, in order to work out its eventual form. Students or other interested communities are often invited to contribute to this discussion.

The residency at The Banff Centre will be the most fully-realized version of this to date. At this point, the travelling Library comprises a specific set of books -- the shared references of the contributors to Dot Dot Dot (a bi-annual journal published by DS) over the last ten years -- and a collection of corollary artifacts (cultural residue including record covers, lithographs, photographs, and a ouija board). Both will be installed in The Banff Centre's Walter Phillips Gallery during the residency, and this environment will then serve as the focal point for the rest of the program. The books and artifacts will be put to use, specifically towards a reconsideration of the Bauhaus foundation course. Given that this original foundation was established in direct response to the social and industrial conditions of the time, why is it still so ubiquitous -- largely unaltered -- today, a century later? Starting from scratch, what might a reasonable contemporary version look like? In collaboration with Dexter Sinister, participants will take the icon of the Photoshop toolbox (shorthand for any contemporary arts software) as a starting point, and workshops will consist both of addressing this question and attempting to put any answers to practical use.

Please note: this residency will be based on the model of the Group Seminar, and all applicants should be prepared to participate in daily discussions and intermittent workshops. Each member of the program’s temporary faculty will direct a course based on a specific component of our nominal toolbox (e.g. Pointer, Magic Wand, Type, Eraser ...). Through various presentations, films, music, readings, and so on, they will consider that specific tool's past (analogue) and present (digital) as a frame through which to speculate on its future (?). The result will doubtless be as hysterical as it is serious. At this point the intention is to spend half of each working day together in our makeshift library, making use of our nascent collections of books, artifacts and furniture. The other half is allotted to individual studio time, though this rhythm will doubtless be broken by other events -- visitors, hikes, printing, drinking -- as we go along.

The first week of the residency will be devoted to our considering and arranging (as a group) the material that constitutes the library at this stage in its development. This will be an opportunity to both introduce the collections, the broader idea, and ourselves, in advance of getting down to business. At the end of this first week our library space will open and thereafter double as an 'exhibition' of what we're (all) up to for the duration.


Above photo: Dexter Sinister, New York, 2008

All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of The Banff Centre.