Conceived while in residency at the library of the Goethe-Institut New York, this issue of Bulletins of The Serving Library used the context of the hosting institution as a thematic starting point. Germany, and often the author's specific relationship to the German language, is the unifying thread that unites these diverse pieces.
Contemplating this theme as both foreigners and German citizens, many of the contributors present theses that reach deep into the realm of the personal. Jan Verwoert, for example, discusses the communication within his family as a lexicon “somewhere between speech and speechlessness”; while Leila Peacock, as a native English speaker learning German, explores the liminal space between language and translation. Diedrich Diederichsen, together with a list of editors and translators, co-translates his essay “Hören, Wiederhören, Zitieren,” published in the 1997 January issue of Spex. Diederichsen's discussion of the pop quotation in music highlights the genre's proximity to language, as the pop quotation “refers to what is absent in the present, and therefore points towards the semiotic nature of any music.”
Bulletins of The Serving Library is a composite printed / electronic publication from the duo Stuart Bailey and David Reinfurt,
that follows a direct line from Dot Dot Dot, the semi-annual journal founded in 2000 and published by Dexter Sinister. Across the arts and into philosophy, the “bulletins” that make up each issue are first published online as PDFs at www.servinglibrary.org over a six-month period, then assembled, printed and distributed separately in Europe (by Sternberg Press) and in the U.S.A. (by Dexter Sinister). Each collection makes up a semester's worth of loosely-themed material, with its constituent PDFs grouped together on the website.