Scarlet Else

Linder, 2020, lithographic print, 24.3 x 35.3 cm

The property shared by most objects in this collection is that they have appeared in the pages of the journal family Dot Dot Dot, Bulletins of The Serving Library, and The Serving Library Annual. But beyond that, the very absence of recognizable visual ties between the objects forces a curious onlooker to make a “close reading,” towards their own personal disambiguation. This generative gesture embodies the collection’s fundamental reminder: meaning proliferates within and around any singular object if interrogated with enough attention. No surprise, then, that the collection has been consistently used as a kind of 3-d PowerPoint presentation during workshops and seminars — as a toolbox for teaching. 

However, in any given collection of objects one can also identify shared properties that happen to be trivial. For instance, all the objects in this book have at some point existed in a storage space in Liverpool; they are all physical objects; they are all worth less than a yacht. Early exhibitions of the collection were a means of upending the usual hierarchy between text and image in the journals — the former being preponderant and elaborately typeset while the latter, partially because of practical constraints, were rarer and often of poor quality. In our model, this is a property that can be derived a priori from the initial criterion for inclusion (having appeared in the journals).

– “Caveat,” Vincenzo Latronico, The Serving Library Annual 2020/21