Katie Baldwin will comparatively discuss two of her collaborative artist books: ‘REF’ (completed in 2019) and ‘Multiple Discovery’ (to be completed in 2022).
‘REF’ is an artist book investigating the erosion of the physical reference area of the library, and the fundamental shift taking place in the way we ask and answer questions.
Shift-lab members worked together to produce a complete reference section. 15 components, each inspired by a traditional reference type, are housed together in a custom flip top document box. As an organising principle for the project, artists selected a set of dates related to the shift away from the use of physical reference texts toward our reliance on algorithmic relevance. References to these dates and events can be found in each component, alongside other themes related to mapping, information, and documentation.
‘Multiple Discovery’ is the phenomenon that discoveries are made independently and simultaneously by different innovators. In the case of this collaborative project, Shift-lab uses the concept of ‘Multiple Discovery’ as a metaphor for remote collaborative artistic practice. Working with a common horizon line and colour palette, we work alone in our separate studios to develop the imagery for this artist book. Then the folios of text and image for the edition are exchanged, collated and bound by each artist, resulting in five variations within the limited edition. Through this collation and binding process, we explore ‘Complex Systems’, where individual decisions regarding sequence are unpredictable to the group, yet the end result consists of variations within a highly organised edition.
‘Shift-lab’ is a collective of five artists who expand their studio practices to collaborate on artist books and multiples. ‘Shift-lab’ consists of Katie Baldwin (Huntsville, AL); Denise Bookwalter (Tallahassee, FL); Sarah Bryant (Tuscaloosa, AL); Macy Chadwick (Petaluma, CA); and Tricia Treacy (Boone, NC).