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Shift-lab

Web Link: www.shift-lab.org

Individual websites: www.bigjumppress.com
www.katieameliabaldwin.com
www.denisebookwalter.com
www.triciatreacy.com
www.macychadwick.com

BIOGRAPHY

Shift-lab is a collective of five artists who work together to expand perspectives on the artist book: Katie Baldwin (Huntsville, AL); Denise Bookwalter (Tallahassee, FL); Sarah Bryant (Tuscaloosa, AL); Macy Chadwick (Petaluma, CA); and Tricia Treacy (Boone, NC). Since its founding in 2013, this collective has produced three major book projects as well as a number of smaller projects and printing events. The development of these projects takes place online, through contemporary technology such as Skype and Google docs, as well as in person in several locations across the United States. Books produced by Shift-lab investigate narrative, digital & analogue experiences, and the evolution of the book.

Shift-lab has exhibited their work at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum (Two Rivers, WI), Seager Gray Gallery (Mill Valley, CA) and San Francisco Center for the Book (San Francisco, CA). They have presented their creative research at the Philadelphia Art Book Fair and have participated in the Codex Book Fair since 2015. Their work is included in numerous collections including: Dartmouth College Special Collections, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas J. Watson Library, Rhode Island School of Design Special Collections, and Yale University Art of the Book Collection.

STATEMENTS for three book projects

SHIFT (2014) This set of five books is Shift-lab’s inaugural project as a collaborative group. Each artist created a book of identical dimensions with the theme of shift, a word that plays a fundamental part of our practice as artists and printmakers. Content ranges from an investigation of 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 physical shift in a page. The set of five books are housed in an enclosure and hand printed and bound in an edition of 20.

TRACE (2016) This Shift-lab Collaboration explores the technology and aesthetics of mapping while responding to the traces of human activity left on the landscape. Individually, we investigated: an arsenal, a quarry, a marina, a walking path, and a ski resort. Our sensory experiences navigating a landscape in real time are reinterpreted through symbols, sequences, and sounds.

Trace is a set of maps: a large collaborative map and five smaller maps by each individual artist that fold into single sheet books. A series of framed prints, printed ephemera, a digitally printed newspaper, an audio file, and a set of one of a kind artist books all make up an expansive project about the distance between us, our individual environments, and our interest in the evolving book. Trace utilizes a range of media including embroidery, letterpress, risograph, processing software, screenprint, and video/audio capture. The set of maps is housed in a paper enclosure and was produced in an edition of 30.

REF (2019) is an investigation into the erosion of the physical reference area of the library, and the fundamental shift taking place in the way we ask and answer questions. Reference sources evolved over hundreds of years to answer specific types of questions that have emerged over time as we have sought to engage with information. Atlases, chronologies, encyclopedias, directories, and other, related reference types each satisfied a particular method of seeking information. Where? When? Who was responsible? What else was happening during this time? How was this accomplished? We have moved away from the use of these resources toward the use of keyword searches. As a result, we are able to access information with great speed, but are losing the aspect of translation that enabled us to seek nuanced answers to carefully posed questions.

For this artist book, 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 organizing 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.

ARTIST'S WQRK

Project Descriptions

REF
(2019) 15 components housed in a custom document box, dimensions variable


TRACE
(2016) 6 folded maps enclosed in a paper envelope. Printed using multiple processes including Letterpress, screen, and Risograph on Mulberry paper in an edition of 30. All maps fold to 6 x 8”


Shift
(2014) five books housed in a custom slip case. 4.75 x 6.75 x 3”


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