We propose to exhibit a series of artist book projects created by the collective Shift-lab from 2013 to 2019. Since its formation, the five members of the Shift-lab have produced artist books made up of multiple components which explore themes related to change.
‘Shift’ (2013) is a set of five books of identical dimensions, each investigating the word shift as a fundamental part of our practise as artists and printmakers. Individual artists focused on the diggings of the Erie Canal, images of a shifting body during sleep, the translation of glyphs and grid systems, two perspectives in a conversation, and the shift from two to three dimensions.
‘Trace’ (2016) explores the technology and aesthetics of mapping a changing landscape. A series of folded prints investigate manipulated sites near our homes; a marina, a clay mine, an arsenal, a ski resort, and a trail. These responses are accompanied by a map generated by sound files recorded at each location.
‘REF’ (2019) is an investigation into the fundamental change taking place in the way we ask and answer questions as the physical reference area of the library is replaced by keyword searches and algorithmic relevance. Shift-lab members worked together to produce a complete reference section comprised of 15 components, each inspired by a traditional reference type.
The work of Shift-lab seeks to expand our perspectives on the artist book. When exhibited together, these projects create an environment which ignites a conversation about collaboration, contemporary art making, and the evolution of the book.